President and owner, Kevin Shew, spoke with the Cincinnati Enquirer regarding a local event that is scheduled to be cancelled for the 2011 July 4th holiday. Kevin and his crew hope to keep the event alive as well as fun filled.

Sponsor a shell, save Mason's fireworks

(Article courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer) MASON - There might yet be fireworks to celebrate Independence Day in Mason this summer, even though the city canceled its annual show.

City Council in December cut funding for the "Red, Rhythm & Boom" event to save money. The celebration attracted well-known musical acts, including Huey Lewis And The News in 2009.

Mason resident Kevin Shew, president and owner of Prestige Fireworks, said there are local organizations he'd like to partner with "to keep at least the fireworks and some sort of a picnic or family gathering." He said it would get away "from the large corporate, commercial type events... and some of the things that they've done in the past."

The city conducted the festival for several years. The festival's net expenses were $152,000 last year.

The location of this year's event could again be Corwin Nixon Park, where the city's show was staged. Shew has set a tentative date of July 3.

City Manager Eric Hansen said Shew's effort "reflects well on the community, how much they appreciate that event and are willing to look to preserve a patriotic celebration ... by doing some fundraising on their own."

Hansen said there's nothing in the budget to commit to the event but said the city would want to assist any community-based effort that would be held in a city park. He said it is premature to speculate whether the city would provide police protection and parks staff during the event until the city knows what the event is.

Shew said Prestige wouldn't do the event for free but it would be at a discounted price. He said the event wouldn't have the national headliner acts. The Mason Community Band has offered to donate their time and would perform during the day.

"Basically anybody within the community that's got a skill set that would like to be involved, we would like to do that," he said.

A website has been created, SaveMasonFireworks.org, where residents can donate money and get additional information. Contributions can also be made to the Save Mason Fireworks Fund at any Fifth Third bank. Residents will be able to participate in an adopt-a-shell program where they can donate money to a specific fireworks display.

"Basically, the more funds that we get the bigger the show's going to be," Shew said. "If we end up with very little funds, then I might be able to kick in a little more. ... We want to make it a pretty fantastic display."