Citing budget constraints and ongoing construction projects, the City of Turlock and Stanislaus State announced Wednesday that the annual firework show celebrating the Fourth of July is canceled for this year.
“Regrettably, due to current and upcoming construction projects on the Stanislaus State campus, the location for hosting the fireworks safely will no longer be available,” said Stanislaus State President Ellen Junn. “In addition, the costs associated with hosting and purchasing the fireworks is not sustainable for the University.”
The former University Student Union Building is currently being renovated and expanded to evolve into a new Student Center. The facility will be a 152,432 square foot, two-story building in the heart of campus, providing a place for students to collaborate. In addition to the Student Center, the University will be initiating the library renovation project this summer.
The construction impacts are compounded by the lack of financial resources to host the event. Costs associated with the display exceed $90,000 after insurance and public safety expenses.
The City of Turlock and Stanislaus State have funded the event through Transient Occupancy Tax funds and sponsorships for the last several years, but this year are unable to do so because of a budget shortfall.
“As the City navigates an anticipated $3.1 million structural deficit, it is necessary to prioritize our expenditures with a focus on core services to the community,” said Turlock City Manager Bob Lawton.
The firework show was already on shaky ground before the city’s budget concerns arose. In previous years, the university had been able to raise around $55,000 each year through donations, sponsorships and contributions to host the celebration. Last year, the university was struggling to fund the bulk of the expenses for the annual festivity because of statewide budget cuts, so the City of Turlock agreed to commit $22,500 of City funds to pay for the fireworks and the show went on as planned.
The fireworks show has been cancelled in the past due to economic hardship. After running the celebration for 24 years, the university announced in 2009 that it would no longer be able to host the annual fireworks show due to lack of funding and sponsors.
The Turlock Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds for a couple of years to see the fireworks show continue, following the university’s decision to bow out.
Former Stanislaus State President Joseph Sheley reinstituted the longstanding fireworks show at the campus in 2015 after a five-year hiatus.
The annual firework show typically drew in a crowd of about 15,000 people.
The Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association will continue to host the downtown Turlock 4th of July Parade and Car Show beginning at 10 a.m. July 4 on Main Street.