One Reel reaches $500K 4th of July fireworks goal

After almost a year of uncertainty, followed by fundraising for the July 4th fireworks at Gas Works Park, event organizer One Reel today announced the $500,000 goal has been reached and Family 4th fireworks show and celebration will go on.

Interesting note: It wasn’t a Northwest company or person who got One Reel to the goal; instead support bubbled up from Coca-Cola Refreshments – Northwest Region, based in Bellevue. Other supporters include Microsoft, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Talking Rain, BECU, Charlie’s Produce, Merrill Gardens, Taco Time and Smith Brothers Farms.

From the press release:

“Fundraising for the 2011 event began in July of last year, and contributions have come from supporters throughout our region, all with inspiring stories and memories of this Northwest family tradition,” says One Reel Executive Director, Jon Stone. “With true appreciation for the partnership and dedication of the Greater Seattle Chamber, we are glad to put this year’s budget to bed, and look forward to putting on one heck of an Independence Day party for Seattle.”

Family 4th at Lake Union starts at noon at Gas Works Park (2101 N. Northlake Way) on Monday, July 4. The fireworks show begins at 10 p.m. See all our 2010 fireworks coverage here.

Family 4th at Lake Union needs your help

Last year the Family 4th at Lake Union was saved thanks to donations from Seattlites and local companies from the area. Over $500,000 was raised and the fireworks show that followed was considered one of the best ever by many.

The success of last year’s fund-raising doesn’t mean this year’s celebration is all set, however. Although 68 percent of the event budget has been secured, another $162,000 needs to be raised by March 1 in order for the 2011 show to go on.

If you’re interested in helping, there’s a couple ways to do it.

You can make a donation directly to Family 4th at by March 1st (site may load slow due to increased traffic).

You can also show your support and encourage others to join the campaign by downloading one of the Family 4th widgets to your website or blog.

4th of July Fireworks show at Gas Works will go on

Have a favorite spot picked out on the east side of the hill to watch the 4th of July fireworks over Lake Union? Good news: You can go ahead and make your plans for Independence Day—One Reel announced today that its annual July 4th Fireworks show at Gas Works Park will go on.

One Reel, which organizes the Family 4th at Lake Union, announced Thursday that several key sponsors from last year, including Starbucks, Microsoft, Nordstrom, Charlie’s Produce, and Tom Douglas Restaurants, have committed to sponsoring this year’s fireworks show, KING 5 reported this morning. You can read the whole story here. Check out the full list of supporters here.

Last year, you’ll recall, One Reel initially canceled the fireworks show. But unable to picture a 4th of July in the city without fireworks, local businesses and fireworks lovers banded together to donate the $500,000 necessary to light up the sky (including large pledges from Microsoft and Starbucks). Read more about last year’s show here and here.

Because of the immense support the community has thrown behind the fireworks show, One Reel has given the Family 4th the slogan “by the people, for the people.” Over the next six weeks the group will be soliciting donations from the community to raise the additional $200,000 needed to fund the show. Those interested can make a donation here to help the Family at the 4th reach its funding goal by March 1.

FarmBoat farmers market floats into Lake Union

While the Queen Anne Farmers Market is closed for the season, that doesn’t mean Queen Anne-ers will have to go back to buying their produce at other neighborhood markets, or (gasp) the grocery store. Enter the FarmBoat, the newest addition to Seattle’s farmers market scene.

With the goal of re-kindling Puget Sound’s historic maritime delivery routes, the FarmBoat folks set off to build a year-round “transient floating farmers market fleet that visits public docks in many Puget Sound waterfront communities selling fresh produce and other local products right off the boat just as it was a century ago.” From the FarmBoat website:

This is how farm goods were sold in port communities a century ago. It was more than just sustainable. People flourished here and the Northwest became what it is today. FarmBoat is about turning the clocks back and sharing a traditional and colorful maritime heritage. Back to a time when fruits and vegetables where picked at the peak of perfection and transported over the cool waters of Puget Sound to the cupboards of northwest families.

Small family farms still exist among the islands and near port towns all throughout the Puget Sound region. We connect growers and producers with consumers in a venue that is enjoyable, educational, conducive and commensurate with the superior quality of their products.

FarmBoat’s winter floating market is kicking off this Thursday, November 11, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. aboard Seattle’s historic steamship “Virginia V” docked at Lake Union Park, 860 Terry Ave N. (moored at the park’s Historic Boat Wharf), and will continue every Thursday through December 23, (except for Thanksgiving).

Check out the FarmBoat’s list of vendors here. Interested in signing up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) produce delivery? The FarmBoat has one of those too—check out the CSA program here.

While FarmBoat is just getting its start, it has some pretty ambitious plans. Take a look at the market’s proposed delivery routes, which it plans to use to facilitate trade across the Puget Sound region, from Bellingham, to the San Juan Islands, and all the way down to Olympia. Happy farmers marketing!

Fire aboard 150-foot trawler on Lake Union

A large dispatch of firefighters descended on Northlake Way along Lake Union in Wallingford this evening for a fire aboard a 150-foot trawler.

Firefighters were able to get the upper hand quickly after arriving. My Wallingford has the photos and video from the scene.

The best Lake Union fireworks show ever?

Wow, what a show! First, the rain soaked thousands of people to the bone at Gas Works Park in Wallingford. Then just before 10 p.m., the rain stopped, the skies cleared, and the fireworks lit up the night.

Photo from Joey Anchondo, Seattle Times. See more photos here.

“That was the best ever!” said KING 5 anchor Dennis Bounds, who has presided over many fireworks shows at Lake Union. Our sister blog in Wallingford has all the coverage, from the spectacular show to the scene in Wallingford.

Update: One Reel says the attendance was much lower than anticipated, thanks to the rain. Also, cleanup crews picked up a mountain of trash after the event.

Microsoft & Starbucks pledge to kick in $125k, helping Seattle save the Lake Union fireworks

Ever since One Reel announced that it would have to cancel the Lake Union 4th of July fireworks show due to the lack of corporate sponsorship on Wednesday, the city has banded together to save the only remaining Independence Day fireworks in Seattle.

Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas announced on 97.3 KIRO FM’s Dave Ross Show yesterday that he would donate $5,000 toward the effort, kicking off a rush of pledges from businesses and individuals to raise the necessary $500,000 for the fireworks.

According to MyNorthwest reports, Starbucks and Microsoft, both homegrown right here in the Seattle Metropolitan area, announced that they would pitch $125,000 each for a total of $250,000–or half of the funds needed–if Seattle businesses and community members were able to raise the remaining $250,000. And this morning the running total of pledges reached the $500,000 mark! Congrats Seattle! The fireworks have been saved!

(Full disclosure: Next Door Media, which powers, has donated to this fund.)

Citizens pledge to save Lake Union fireworks show, hoping to raise $500,000 by Monday

As the realization started sinking in that Seattle’s only 4th of July fireworks show has been canceled, some local celebrities and businesses are donating money to save the annual tradition. On the Dave Ross show this morning, restaurateur Tom Douglas started the campaign to save the fireworks show by announcing he will donate $5,000. Dave Ross followed suit by donating some of his own money. The list of donations keeps growing, with the ultimate goal of raising $500,000 by Monday, April 5th.

To make a pledge of a minimum of $1,000, corporate or individual, go to or e-mail If the funds needed to save the 2010 fireworks show can be raised in the allotted time, then the pledges will be collected upon and sent to One Reel.

One Reel marketing and communications director Mikhael Williams talked with our sister site My Wallingford this morning about Ross’s plan. “We would be so excited and thrilled if we could pull this off this year, but has to happen very quickly,” Williams says, “From our perspective, the window was closed on a title sponsorship because of the traditional expectations and benefits that they receive. If there are people in the community who want to rally around the event, who don’t have the traditional expectations of sponsorship, we would happily put this on.”

(Full disclosure: Next Door Media, which powers has donated to this fund.)

Lake Union 4th of July fireworks canceled

When I moved back to Seattle last year after a four-year stint in L.A., I was ecstatic to be moving to Queen Anne hill–near downtown, the waterfront, and Lake Union! A month after I moved in to my apartment and before I began my work at QueenAnneView, I climbed up to Kerry Park to watch for 4th of July fireworks show over Elliott Bay. I, and evidently some 200 other people, had not received the memo that the show had been canceled.

After waiting around for 30 minutes, I decided to do a little Googling on my phone. A few minutes later we heard a loud cracking noise coming from the north east. We turned and saw the very top of the fireworks show from Lake Union just peaking over the top of Queen Anne hill.

Up until this point we’ve been lucky in Seattle–having our choice of two gorgeous fireworks shows on Independence Day. When the Elliott Bay fireworks show folded last year, Seattleites piled into Gasworks Park, a prime spot to catch the Lake Union show. However yesterday, Wednesday, March 31, One Reel, the company that produces the event, announced that there would be no Family 4th at Lake Union this year, citing the lack of a corporate sponsor to fund the non-profit for the event. Tomoko Moriguchi Matsuno, president of the One Reel Board of Directors wrote this letter on

Dear Community,

Since 1988, One Reel, the Seattle not-for-profit arts organization of which I am Board President, has been proud to produce the cherished Independence Day celebration and fireworks show, the Family 4th at Lake Union. This day of free family entertainment and a dazzling fireworks display has been, for more than two decades, an important time for us to come together as a community and celebrate this great country.

As a non-profit organization, One Reel’s core mission is to produce arts and cultural events that engage and enrich our community, but we cannot do it alone. You may not realize this free civic celebration has been an annual gift to Seattle made possible only through the generosity of a corporate sponsor who underwrites the cost of the event. One Reel wishes to extend a very special thank you to the sponsors we’ve been fortunate to work with over the years, including Fratelli’s, Cellular One, AT&T, WaMu and Chase.

For the past 15 months, One Reel has worked tirelessly to secure a title sponsor for the 2010 Family 4th at Lake Union but, regrettably, we were not able to secure one in time to proceed with this year’s event. For that reason, it is with a heavy heart we announce there will be no fireworks or festivities at Gas Works Park this year.

We understand the disappointment you must feel; we feel it too. However, I can assure you that One Reel is already hard at work searching for a new title sponsor who shares our commitment to presenting this beloved community event in Seattle next year, and long into the future. As always, One Reel remains dedicated to providing you with premier events—from the Family 4th at Lake Union, to Bumbershoot: Seattle’s Music & Arts Festival, to Teatro ZinZanni—that showcase the talent, artistic diversity and integrity of our great city.

Thank you, Seattle, for your ongoing support. We’d like to thank everyone—from our generous past title sponsors, to the City of Seattle, to event suppliers and on-site vendors, to more than 5 million patriotic revelers over the last 20 years—all of whom have made this event such an iconic holiday tradition.

We look forward to seeing you next year at Gas Works Park for the Family 4th at Lake Union.

Tomoko Moriguchi Matsuno
President and CEO Uwajimaya Inc.
President, One Reel Board of Directors

Us in Queen Anne have been able to see both firework shows from our high perch on the hill. But with the canceling of the Lake Union and Elliott Bay shows, this year will be the first time in 46 years that Seattle will not have a fireworks on the 4th. What do you think of a 4th without fireworks in Seattle? Do you think the lack of corporate shows will result in an increase in illegal fireworks?