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Funding for 4th of July fireworks still tough sell for Wilmington

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wilmington's 4th of July fireworks mean big crowds and big business downtown, but the city is again struggling to find funds to cover the cost.

The show brings an estimated 40,000 people downtown each year.

The city budgets $30,000 for the firework show, but much of that cost is intended to be covered by a big name business.

Unlike last year, this year's strategy was to get local businesses involved and contribute, but downtown business owner Mark Scharaga and several others say they were not asked to chip in.

"No, we have been asked at all," Scharaga said.

But what if they had?

"If I had the advertising budget of a larger business, I think it's definitely one of those things that you should be involved in," he said.

The city plans to use the $10,000 it planned to spend this year along with $10,000 from next year's budget to make up for this year's lack of funding.

Options for next year include having a smaller fireworks show or possibly not one at all.

"I think it would be insane if they don't have it," Scharaga said. "It's a tradition to have it. I mean, they it every year since I've been here."

Aiden Kenny, who works downtown, said, "If we have a smaller show next year, we won't have as many coming back and that could really impact local businesses."

Fortunately, this year's 4th of July fireworks show is expected to be just as spectacular as ever.

City Council will finalize their fireworks funding at their meeting which starts at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

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