Gallatin Cancels Fireworks After Vendor Fails To Show - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Gallatin Cancels Fireworks After Vendor Fails To Show

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by Brent Frazier

GALLATIN, Tenn. – Fireworks were missing from Gallatin's Fourth of July celebration after the vendor contracted for the show failed to turn up.

It was an obvious disappointment for the thousands who turned out to watch the show, but the problem is more than just a fizzled fireworks show – it's now about thousands of dollars in lost money.

The only glow in the nighttime sky at the Gallatin Civic Center Monday was a portable roadside sign that read, "Fireworks Canceled."

"Man, this is a big disappointment," said William Kowalsky, who brought his wife, Stephanie, all the way from the southern part of Maury County.

No one is more disappointed than the staffers at Gallatin's Faces of Hope, a family centered therapy site for children and families with autism and other special needs.

The non-profit group stepped up to pay for the show last year after city leaders decided fireworks wouldn't fit into the budget in such a sour economy. The group pitched in again for 2011.

Founder Leslie Face-Lee said the festivities provide the community with a sense of patriotism and also acts as a fundraiser for her group. Vendors contributed $100 each to Faces of Hope to work the festival. Local businesses and individuals made donations for the fireworks. Guests were also encouraged to make donations at the event.

"It's just a good place for people to come and have fun and be proud that they live in this country and in this city in particular," said Face-Lee.

The organization hoped to raise $6,000 this year. They raised about half that last year.

Lee showed NewsChannel 5 a work permit and signed contract with Jeffrey Ott from Southeastern PyroTechnics, a company based out of South Carolina.

Faces of Hope handed Ott an initial $2,000 check. They have placed a "stop payment" on a second payment for $2,500 Ott already had in his hands. The would-be fireworks display would have ultimately cost $9,000.

"It is a theft, but he didn't just steal from us, he stole from everything our organization is trying to do," said Face-Lee. "The only reason we came out here tonight is to raise awareness about autism and to raise some funds to help take care of these children and their families."

Face-Lee admitted she was angry by Ott's apparent, 11th-hour blow-off of the holiday extravaganza. She said she spoke with Ott's wife via telephone on Sunday, and that Mrs. Ott confirmed the show was still on for Monday night, and to look for the Otts to arrive in Gallatin, fireworks in town, around 3:00 p.m. Monday.

Face-Lee said she started getting worried when Ott stopped answering his phone, and never returned messages. She finally officially called the show around 7:00 p.m. in order to give would-be watchers of the fireworks ample time to enjoy 4th of July displays elsewhere.

Email: bfrazier@newschannel5.com

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