Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac kick off fundraising efforts for fireworks show

DOWAGIAC — With the help of community donors, one local organization will once again light up the sky this Fourth of July season.

Monday, Honor Credit Union donated $500 to the Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac, kicking off the group’s fundraising efforts for its annual fireworks display. The fireworks will take place at dusk July 3. This year, the fireworks have been designed to fire higher in the air so they can be viewed from many locations throughout town and allow for proper social distancing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The July 3 event will mark the sixth year the young professionals have hosted Dowagiac’s fireworks.

“The Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac is so excited that the show will go on,” said Becky Grabemeyer, chair of the young professionals.

Typically, the young professionals begin fundraising much sooner in the year, but due to uncertainty surrounding whether or not the group would be able to host the event and other challenges related to COVID-19, members got a late start. Despite this, the group was more than 60-percent of the way to its $7,000 goal as of Wednesday.

“We got off to a slower start while navigating the pandemic,” Grabemeyer said.

The team at Honor Credit Union said they were excited to help kick off the fundraising campaign, as team members believe the fireworks display is more important to the community now than ever before.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring the community together, especially during COVID-19 and all the other happenings we have going on,” said Janie Reifenberg, of Honor Credit Union. “We are thankful that [the young professionals] are still doing it and providing it at no cost.”

For the fireworks show, the young professionals ask that all spectators wear masks if able and maintain social distancing while parking and to remain home if sick or exhibiting symptoms.

Also, in the interest of both visitor and volunteer safety in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the young professionals will not be selling glow sticks during the fireworks. As glow stick sales typically raise 25 percent of fireworks show costs, volunteers stationed around parking areas will accept donations.

To donate to the event beforehand, mail contributions to the Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac, PO Box 586, Dowagiac, drop off a check at Bakeman’s Barbers, donate through PayPal at paypal.me/ypgd or visit the group’s Facebook page.

“All and all, our group is so enthusiastic about hosting an event that celebrates our freedoms while providing some normalcy that we haven’t been able to experience for a number of months,” Grabemeyer said. “We think this celebration might serve people some good.”

For updates regarding the Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac’s fireworks display and a map listing the best places to view the fireworks, visit YP Dowagiac on Facebook.