A.L. raises enough for fireworks

Published 7:12 am Sunday, June 3, 2012

Renee Sather of KATE Radio stands on the corner of Main Street and Broadway Avenue Friday in a chicken costume collecting donations for the Fourth of July fireworks. -- Sarah Stultz/Albert Lea Tribune

Freeborn County residents and visitors to the area will again be able to enjoy fireworks on the Fourth of July thanks to donations from area residents Friday.

Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce operations manager Tami Jensen said residents and organizations donated $16,331 during the annual fireworks fundraiser by the chamber and KATE/KCPI Radio at the intersection of Broadway Avenue and Main Street. The goal was $16,000. Volunteers were posted at 6 a.m. and continued into the afternoon.

“Big thanks to volunteers, KATE staff, chamber staff and of course those who donated,” Jensen said.

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She said the day progressed well, with several larger donations given in the early hours. The rest of the donations came from area residents who dropped off money to one of several volunteers. Many of the volunteers wore costumes, including a big yellow chicken and Grover.

Albert Lea’s fireworks display — fired from City Beach — is done without any city funds. People gather around the shore of Fountain Lake and even in boats on the water to watch the fireworks.

At a time when a lot of cities are having to cut this type of event because they can’t pay for it, Jensen said she’s relieved Albert Lea’s fireworks display is made possible solely through community donations.

The fireworks fundraiser has been a part of Albert Lea history for at least 30 years. At one point it was conducted over a span of a few days instead of just a couple hours.