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SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — For the past 200 years the North Carolina Fourth of July Festival in Southport and Oak Island has a staple for the state. And now, its future is hanging in the balance.

The NC Fourth of July Festival brings in between 40,000 and 50,000 people to town each year.

But for the past three years the festival has been losing money and now organizers, like Trisha Howarth, are asking for your help to keep the states prized tradition up and running.

“It’s a very important year for us to raise additional sponsorships and funds. So that we can continue to provide all of our activities and festivities that people attend at no charge,” Howarth said.

The week long festival has already had to cut activities due to costs. Fireworks alone cost more than $22,000 taking up 26% of the budget.

Organizers say they have had to dip into backup funds to keep this years festival afloat. Now they are encouraging more people to become sponsors in hopes of keeping it around.

If things do not change this year the festival could be put to an end in the years to come. But organizers are remaining hopeful.

“So we hope that we don’t have to have any further discussions about what ifs because we’re hoping we don’t have to get there,” Howarth said.

Residents and visitors are remaining hopeful as well.

“I would hope it would continue for a long, long time,” Visitor, Mark Haley said. “Because we’ve got three little granddaughters. And you know, I’m sure it would be a highlight to them to be able to come out and enjoy it.”

It is a tradition many people do not want to end.

“Makes you proud. Makes you proud to be part of town. Makes you proud to be an American,” Resident, Mary Carneiro said.

Howarth says so far Duke Energy had doubled their sponsorship level and Bald Head Limited has tripled theirs, but they still need help.

If you would like to donate or become a sponsor, click here.

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