The Pendleton Fourth of July fireworks show hasn’t had a consistent sponsor since the local chapter of the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce folded, but now a former Jaycee is leading the charge to revive the Independence Day display.
Although the Fraternal Order of Eagles have organized the show for the past three years, a lack of fundraising killed the show this year
Jerry Imsland, a former member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and current real estate broker and Port of Umatilla commissioner, is proposing that the Pendleton Rotary Club become the new sponsors for the firework show.
Imsland remembers launching fireworks from the Round-Up Grounds as a member of the Jaycees in the 1970s and 80s and was disappointed when the tradition was discontinued this year.
Imsland is the early stages of studying how to coordinate a modern-day fireworks show — he plans to meet with Becky Marks, the Eagles member who helped helm the fundraising effort during their tenure, and the Wildhorse Resort & Casino, which does a fireworks show every year during the casino’s anniversary in March.
Like his predecessors, Imsland wants to raise $10,000 for a show that would be staged near the Wal-Mart.
When he spoke about restarting the fireworks show at a recent Rotary Club meeting, he ginned up enough enthusiasm to raise $500 in promised donations.
Imsland’s next major donation could come from a Sunridge Middle School eighth grader.
When news broke that the Pendleton wouldn’t get a fireworks show this year, Max Driskell and his 13-year-old son, Devan, started talking about potential solutions.
“Instead of whining, let’s do something about it,” Max said.
After Max “put a bug in his ear,” Devan started running with the idea of leading the coordination efforts for the Fourth of July show.
Devan said he has $1,000 saved in his bank account from his job delivering newspapers for the East Oregonian. Their plan was to challenge businesses to match his $1,000 donation until they were able to raise at least $5,000.
Now that Imsland has gone public with his plans, Max said he and Devan would be happy to join their effort.
Devan can still donate the money and play an active role in fundraising, Max said.
Even if the Rotary Club passes on sponsoring the fireworks show, Imsland plans to press on with the effort. People interested in donating to the fireworks show can contact Imsland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Antonio Sierra at email@example.com or 541-966-0836.