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Fireworks show goes on

Burbank puts on its annual display at Starlight Bowl despite concerns about the budget.

July 06, 2009|By Zain Shauk

BURBANK — Thousands crammed into the Starlight Bowl for a set of Fourth of July performances and a fireworks spectacular Saturday funded by the city, even as it has struggled to cut costs during the recession.

Children danced between picnic baskets and lawn chairs in the hill above the sold out venue, while grown-ups sipped wine and took in the sounds of the Burbank Philharmonic.

As the three-hour event came to a close, the bowl’s lights were shut off and the crowd of more than 4,000 turned their gazes — and cameras — skyward for a $25,000 pyrotechnics show.

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Residents acknowledged the cost of the event, for which Burbank officials cough up more than the $75,000 they rake in through ticket sales, parking revenue and sponsorships to help cover marketing, fireworks and police, fire and other emergency response staffing. But the show was an important community event that was a priority for residents, they said.

The recession added to the need for a communal Fourth of July celebration, said Burbank resident Janice Krattiger.

“I know it costs, especially in this economy, but I like that they kept it going to keep our spirits up,” Krattiger said.

The positive effects of similar holiday events was clear for residents at PATH Achieve Glendale, where Krattiger is a mental health case manager and noticed that many of her homeless patients were encouraged by the opportunity to participate in a collective celebration, she said.

“We need this in this time more than we maybe needed it in another time — to pull people together,” she said.

The value of the Burbank fireworks display was clear to attendees at the Starlight Bowl, who sang, danced and picnicked as the Burbank Philharmonic provided entertainment.

“This is great to get the community together,” said 22-year Burbank resident Sam Orender, who was sitting amid a crowd on the lawn above the stadium seating at the outdoor theater. “That’s what I like about Burbank. It’s a very small-town feel.”

Other cities have cut back on their shows, including Lake Elsinore, which traditionally holds a show above its lake that has been a regular draw for residents throughout the state, said Mark Dennis, spokesman for Lake Elsinore.

The city has had to furlough employees twice a month and is fearing further cuts as state lawmakers continue to negotiate a solution for a growing $26-billion deficit, Dennis said.

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