BY: RACHEL SMITH
Tradition. Celebration. Patriotism and community pride.
These words come to mind when I think of the 4th of July in Clear Lake.
And let’s not forget: Fireworks. Carnival rides. Massive Parade and cheese balls for days!
I’m not sure there’s a celebration around that can even hold a candle to our Independence Day extravaganza at the Lake. It’s the highlight of summer for our quaint tourist town, and the culmination of tireless hours of preparation and planning from the Chamber and the City.
The first time Clear Lake got a taste of ‘fireworks’ was with the shot of a cannon in 1851.
Since then, the fireworks have evolved and morphed into the beautiful presentation we see today. And let’s be honest… seeing those bursts of color over the Lake are the icing on the cake. This year, with the holiday falling on a Thursday, they’ll kick off an extended weekend of fun times at the Lake.
But they sure aren’t cheap!
While some locals might be annoyed with the extra people and traffic congestion around town, the events and activities buzzing on Main Street and in City Park provide our local economy a boost in the millions. In fact, the impact of this celebration is the lifeblood of small businesses. Molly Lamoreux at Cabin Coffee summed it up perfectly when she said, “The 4th of July is the biggest day of the year for Cabin Coffee and a lot of other businesses in Clear Lake. By hosting these festivities, we can celebrate the things that make America great, while showing hospitality to our neighbors and guests. This is the time of year that Clear Lake can really shine.”
And what a time of the year it is. I had the chance to chat with Jacki Kelley, who owns Ge-Jo’s by the Lake with her husband. “It’s the biggest single week of the year. No other week even comes close!” she said. In fact, when they place their order for ingredients and supplies for that week, they have to order EIGHT times as much as normal.
That’s a lot of mozzarella!
While it’s overwhelming at times, Jacki attributes the restaurant upholding their superb customer service throughout the week to their amazing employees and staff. “It’s all hands on deck,” she said. “Thankfully our veteran crew is ready, and we just tell the new employees to hang on!”
Our previous CEO, Tim Coffey, created the Ignite! Campaign 5 years ago for the sole purpose of continuing the tradition of our exceptional fireworks display. And while it does provide us with a growing portion of the fireworks cost, it is not yet self-sufficient to fund the entire amount.
If you’d like to donate to the fireworks fund this year, please stop down to the Chamber to give your donation. Or mail it to: Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, 205 Main Street, Clear Lake IA 50428.
Or you can donate online by clicking HERE.
Whether you can donate $5 or $500; every little bit helps, adding up to equal amazing fireworks for Clear Lake.
Be a part of our rich history of excellence: For tradition. Celebration. Patriotism and community pride.