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‘Chimes, Lights’ needs dollars, cents

If red, green and white explosions over the downtown waterfront don’t coax participants of the annual Chimes and Lights Festival back downtown after the laser show, maybe fireworks made to appear as a flocked “holiday” tree will.

Such is the hope of the Chimes and Lights Festival Committee members at their third planning meeting Wednesday night.

Though it is the middle of July, committee members spent several hours brainstorming new ways to combine the past with fresh ideas meant to improve the festival’s “flow.”

The main topic of conversation? A potential fireworks show.

Committee Chair John Clauson suggested 10 to 15 minutes of holiday fireworks as the festival’s finale, to the tune of $4,000, in addition to the laser show’s $5,000 price tag.

“It would fit really well after the laser show,” said Fred Rabinovitz, committee member and local pastor. “I think it’s a great idea.”

“We’ve always struggled with the question of how we can get the masses from here to there,” Clauson said. Clauson and other committee members were unanimous in their decision to pursue the possibility of a fireworks finale, believing the show would draw festival-goers back into downtown Port Orchard.

Committee members said they were excited by possibilities of this year’s festival and were cautiously optimistic about their fundraising capabilities.

According to Clauson, RH2 Engineering, one of the three sponsors of last year’s festival, has already agreed to sponsor again, donating $2,000.

Committee members discussed the possibility of potential local corporate sponsors, such as Wal-mart, Fred Meyer and Albertsons.

There was also discussion of asking community groups such as the Rotary.

Clauson said he has not yet had a chance to contact last year’s two other sponsors, Kitsap Bank and Bay Ford, but he said he was optimistic about their participation.

“We have an opportunity to be really successful,” Rabinovitz said, speaking of the committee’s early start in preparation.

Committee members reviewed a generic letter asking for donations they plan to send to smaller local businesses.

This year’s festival will feature familiar activities, such as the tree-lighting ceremony, haywagon rides, a chili feed and the laser show.

Committee members discussed the importance of a unique cancelation stamp to commemorate the festival, but came to a consensus the festival needs a consistent logo and theme.

“I think it’s better to have (a stamp) that’s different,” Clauson said. “It’s a collector’s item.”

Committee members will continue measures to improve the sound quality of the hired carolers and other performers, such as the Cappella choir and bell ringers.

Discussions also broke out regarding a possible move of storytime to the Port Orchard Library, possible crafts for children of all ages and unique movies that might be shown.

According to committee member Denise Thomson, getting the local military involved might be harder than anticipated.

“Our major ship should be in port,” Thomson said. “The audience is there. We just have to figure out how to capture it. The things that are popular are the car stereo wars, and that doesn’t quite work for this festival.”

The committee also discussed the idea of incorporating the Carlisle II into the festival. Initially, discussion centered on using the Carlisle for short ferry rides back and forth across the Bay, but it was later decided to utilize the ferry as a stopping place for carolers and use the facilities heating and restroom facilities.

The historic foot-ferry would be docked at the end of yachts lined up for the Sinclair Inlet Yacht Club’s annual lighting ceremony. The placement allows patrons to walk down the dock admiring the yachts along the way.

Another potential addition to this year’s festival is swing dancing, hiring a local dance instructor to lead the dancing to holiday music.

With all the brainstorming, however, Rabinovitz pointed out the need for less talk and more action.

“We need to get beyond the brainstorming,” Rabinovitz. “We’re making great strides, but I’d hate to see us bogged down later on.”

“We need to start dividing it up,” Clauson agreed.

Clauson also pointed out that future sponsorship of the festival might be through the Chamber of Commerce, not the cIty.

“We have to have an organization to sponsor this committee,” Clauson said. Clauson said the decision will go to the chamber board for a vote, but in talking to individuals, he believes the chamber will be supportive.

The Chimes and Lights Committee will meet again on August 25, 6 p.m. in Council Chambers.

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