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Fathoms needs money — again

Fathoms o’Fun is having problems funding its fireworks display yet again.

The difference this year is Fathoms Board Chair Phil McCormick is refusing to bite his nails over the outcome.

“It looks like it’ll be fine,” McCormick said. “My goal is $20,000, but right now I’m going to settle for $13,000.”

Because the Fathoms July 4 pyrotechnics display is entirely donation-funded, inevitably every year there is a last-minute money crunch. Last year, the Fathoms board had to ask the Port Orchard City Council for several thousand in emergency money a month before the celebration because the Fathoms fundraisers didn’t quite hit their target.

This year, McCormick has opted to start asking for money early and often. He buttonholed Port Orchard Mayor Jay Weatherill, three city council members, various other community officials and possibly even Kitsap County Commissioner Jan Angel to pitch in and help raise funding. Today from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., Weatherill and the other volunteers will man tables at the Port Orchard Albertson’s on Mile Hill Drive, Scott McLendon’s Ace Hardware in South Kitsap Mall, and Rewind Music & Coffee Co on Bay Street to solicit Fathoms donations.

McCormick has also been calling every business in the area asking for corporate donations. He’s hoping Fred Meyer, which put up $3,500 last year, is equally generous this year.”

“It’s a lot of legwork,” McCormick said. “I’m working it really hard.”

McCormick said he wasn’t sure how much the board has raised so far. Rumors around the city claim the Fathoms board only has about $600 in its coffers right now, but McCormick said he knows they’ve collected more than that. Right now, he said, it’s mostly about waiting for answers to inquiries he’s sent out.

“We’re just waiting for some responses, but I think it’s going to be fine,” McCormick said.

It’s still unclear who will be taking on the lead Fathoms role next year — McCormick is moving to Pennsylvania at the end of August and said there aren’t yet any immediately obvious successors waiting in the wings. He said he took the chair job mostly as a favor to the other board members and hasn’t been grooming anyone to take over.

McCormick inherited the job from Port Orchard Realtor Dana Soyat, who said he couldn’t run Fathoms another year in a row. McCormick can sympathize.

“To be perfectly honest, I need a break,” he said.

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