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Those federal budget cuts are becoming a real kill joy. In addition to furloughs and shortened hours at major tourist attractions, like Pearl Harbor, the budget cuts also cut out Kaneohe’s annual BayFest.
The Fourth of July event at the Marine Corps Base has been happening for more than 20 years. And every year, it attracted 25,000 people for carnival rides, fireworks and music concerts. Growing up, I remember watching Train and Fergie from Black Eyed Peas perform at BayFest. My family and I would always watch the fireworks show from the nearby vista overlooking Kaneohe Bay.
This definitely comes as sad news for the community. We grew up going to BayFest; it became the summer norm for local and visiting families as well. But I understand the need to scale back on events such as this, especially in these tough economic times.
Perhaps this would be the time for corporate sponsors to step in. We could sure use their help (and funding) to keep the festival alive. Even if it was just a music concert or just a fireworks show, that’d be fine. But of course, all of that costs money; monies that we don’t have. Just down the road in Kailua, an organization is also struggling to keep a fizzled-out Fourth of July tradition going. They need to raise at least $70,000 to have the famous fireworks show.