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Kathy Schmitt, who helps organize the annual Crescent Hill Old-Fashioned Fourth of July celebration, said over the phone this morning that a lack of money has created an unstable future for the event, which would be in its 27th year this July. The issue is addressed in the new "Crescent Hill Newsletter," which should hit neighborhood mailboxes early next week.

Schmitt, who serves as co-chair for the event, says the two-day festival — which features live music, arts and crafts, watermelon-eating contests, carnival games and, of course, fireworks at the Peterson-Dumesnil House (301 S. Peterson Ave.) — costs $20,000 to put on. The roughly 20-minute fireworks display alone, she says, runs $500 a minute, or more than $8 a second.

The goal is to start collecting donations. (There is even an effort to get port-a-potties sponsored.) During the April, May and June F.A.T. Friday Trolley Hops, Conez & Coneyz (2716 Frankfort Ave.) will host a fund-raiser in the courtyard out front to raise money. In April, a bluegrass band will perform.

Schmitt says the Crescent Hill Community Council is only a few thousand dollars short of covering the always-increasing costs. "This is a great neighborhood event, but it's getting harder and harder to pay for," she says. "But any donation adds up. If every business on Frankfort Avenue gave $20, wow, that would really take care of it."

There has been talk of establishing a new music and art festival in Crescent Hill that, in reality, could someday replace Old-Fashioned Fourth of July. Though Schmitt expects this year to go off as planned, she says, "I don't know," when asked if we'll get fireworks in years to come. "Going forward," she says, "there may be a festival without fireworks. It's just so expensive."

My solution: An $8 donation from just more than 1,000 people would mean each donor could "sponsor" one second of the fireworks show. 

Tax-deductible contributions to: Crescent Hill Forum, Firework Funder, 301 S. Peterson Ave., Louisville, KY 40206. 


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