BY ETHAN FORMAN, STAFF WRITER
The Salem News
---- — When you gaze overhead tonight at Salem’s waterside fireworks spectacle, you can thank a business neighbor down the street.
Energy giant Dominion, Salem Harbor Station’s soon-to-be-former owner, is once again the lead sponsor of the city’s Independence Day celebration, contributing $10,000 to make the Fourth a night to remember.
And Dominion’s not the only business helping to make it happen.
Walmart and the Salem Five bank provide $5,000 each; Tache Real Estate provides $3,000; Tavern in the Square, KV Associates, Eastern Bank and Market Basket each provide $2,500; and a variety of smaller businesses contribute up to a $1,000 apiece.
It’s the same story in Danvers, where NorthEast Community Bank serves as the lead sponsor of Danvers Family Fesitval, donating $10,000 to support the fireworks display and a long list of other activities.
“It wouldn’t happen any other way,” said Ellen Talkowsky, who organizes the Fourth of July festivities in Salem. “It costs us $55,000 for this event. There is no way we could ever do this without private fundraising.”
In fact, Talkowsky said she is still receiving checks.
“The $100 sponsors are just as important to me,” she said. “I appreciate everyone,” particularly those, she added, who commit to funding year after year.
According to Talkowsky, “99.9 percent of our sponsors come back every single year. Kudos to them. They hear my voice once a year when I call, and they always say yes.”
In Danvers, Lois McKenzie said business sponsors are equally crucial.
“Without their support ... the event simply wouldn’t exist for the Danvers family as a whole,” she said. “Without them, we don’t have the money to purchase the fireworks and all the things we do.”
The fireworks alone cost $38,000, but the day at Plains Park costs $80,000, including fencing, portable toilets, police and fire details, an ambulance, and other expenses.
McKenzie, who co-chairs the fireworks with her husband, Bill, said many businesses give in-kind donations, such as Wayside Trailer, which supplies the stage for the fireworks, and Mark’s Disposal of Beverly, which supplies large trash bins for Plains Park the night of the fireworks, saving the festival money on disposal costs.
As in Salem, it’s not just the lead corporate sponsor, but many others who line up to contribute. They include Salem Five, NMTW Community Credit Union, Beverly Hospital, Hannah Engineering, People’s United Bank and Eastern Bank, all at the $5,000 level, and a variety of smaller — but no less crucial — donors.
What do businesses get out of it?
A boatload of good will, the satisfaction of being good neighbors and, of course, a fabulous Fourth of July.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.