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.
Many of you may have noticed the absence of the large can receptacles located around town. It’s definitely invoked the nagging question, “What do I do with my empty bottles and cans?” I used to take them to the drop-off at Fareway. For me, it wasn’t about getting five cents back, it was about the easiness of getting them OUT of my garage. It was just an added bonus that the money helped support the fireworks fund.
After countless offers and pleas for someone to continue this service for us, it just didn’t work out. Thus, the removal of the containers.
So what does this mean?
Well, it means that we no longer have that money coming in to the Chamber to help pay for the Fireworks display. The first time Clear Lake got a taste of this fun event 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 for our week-long festivities.
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. 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 meatballs!
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!” And to quench your thirst while the kids play at the carnival, Ge-Jo's can serve up a delicious Margarita... a specialty of theirs. Jacki says during that week, they will have more in Margarita sales than the whole rest of the summer.
Holy tequila, Batman!
In a nutshell, we need your help to continue our longstanding tradition of excellence. Yes, the Ignite! Campaign was developed 5 years ago for just this purpose. 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. We need YOUR assistance to supplement the remaining cost and, honestly, any donation will help. Whether you can donate $5 or $500. It all adds up equaling fireworks excellence for Clear Lake.
It signifies tradition. Celebration. Patriotism and community pride.
Donations can be dropped off at the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce
you can CLICK HERE.