July Fourth fireworks sparkle less under recession

UNDATED (AP) - It will be a less festive Fourth of July this year for many cash-starved communities.

Small and midsize cities are either scaling back or altogether canceling fireworks shows because of budget crunches. Corporate dollars for the events are also drying up because of the lackluster economy.

In San Jose, Calif., a half-million-dollar display and festival were nixed. Hialeah, Fla., near Miami, had to cancel its display because sponsorship money fell tens of thousands of dollars short.

Other cities canceling shows include Mesa, Ariz.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Niceville, Fla.; and Garland, Texas.

While some citizens are resigned to the budget constraints, others like Dave Richmond of Ohio are disenchanted. He's attended Parma, Ohio's fireworks show since 1972 but there won't be one this year. Richmond says he's disappointed that, as he puts it, "a celebration of what our Founding Fathers worked so hard to give us is squandered by those who collect and spend our tax dollars."

But even amid the gloomy economy, there will be an estimated 14,000 fireworks displays this year.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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