Thousands have blast on Front St.
The Maui News
By BRIAN PERRY - City Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
LAHAINA - While the numbers were not in as of Tuesday afternoon, the fireworks show that entertained thousands of spectators off Front Street on the Fourth of July appeared to be as big a bang as the rockets that burst into the sky that night.
"It was just a phenomenal evening," said Pamela Tumpap, president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce, which organized fundraising to pay for the show by Hawaii Explosives & Pyrotechnics.
The chamber's sponsorship of the event is in its third year. Tumpap said the first year drew 12,000 spectators and last year 15,000. As of Tuesday, she said, she had not been able to get an official crowd estimate from the Maui Police Department, but she said she thought the crowd was "considerably bigger than last year."
"Up and down Front Street it was packed," she said. "It was a great celebration. . . . There were long lines of people getting into all the major restaurants, and a lot of shopping going on."
Some motorists reported being backed up in traffic for 90 minutes.
Tumpap said she had not heard an assessment from merchants on the impact of the fireworks display on their businesses.
Music was provided by radio station Q103, which did a countdown outside the Hard Rock Cafe leading up to the launch of the fireworks, she said.
"Everyone was thrilled, from children to adults," she said.
Off-duty police provided security during the event, and Maui police reported no major problems.
Hawaii Explosives gave the event a $10,000 discount on the pyrotechnics display, leaving the event a $30,000 bill for the fireworks show, Tumpap said. Bills for other expenses, including security, portable toilets and signs, were continuing to come in Tuesday.
Tumpap said that event organizers set a goal to raise $50,000 for the event. Maui County provided a $15,000 grant and private businesses and individuals donated $27,000 as of late last week, she said. The North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund pledged to provide matching donations of up to $10,000 for any amount in excess of $30,000.
With the fund's expected donation of $10,000, that would push the event's fundraising to more than $50,000 for the first time, more than covering costs, Tumpap said.
"We'll have a little bit of a nest egg for next year's event," she said.
The event also had a boost Tuesday from the website Yahoo Travel. It ranked the Lahaina Fourth of July celebration as the third-best Independence Day visitor destination. It said: "The huge fireworks display can be viewed from anywhere along the Lahaina waterfront, making it a truly unique and tropical Fourth."
New York City and Boston had the first and second best Fourth of July celebrations, respectively, according to the website.
* Brian Perry can be reached at email@example.com.
© Copyright 2011 The Maui News.
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