But be warned, the 54-year-old family-friendly event may not even generate a whimper in future unless the community gets behind it.
That’s because the cost of staging the spectacular is £25,000 and rising partly due to all the necessary health and safety precautions although Chester Race Company generously allows its facility to be used free of charge.
There’s no need to panic just yet as everything is in place for this year’s fireworks which could be attended by an amazing 10,000 people if the weather remains kind. Aside from the impressive display, there will be live music, a fun fair and family entertainment. And there’s a toddlers display at 6.45pm before the main display at 7.30pm.
Organisers have tried to keep admission reasonable at £6 for adults with free entry for children aged four and under. And any proceeds left over go to good causes such as the Hospice of the Good Shepherd, the Countess of Chester Hospital’s Babygrow Appeal to create a new neonatal unit, Riding for the Disabled, Save the Family and Miles of Smiles.
The fireworks have a history going back to 1963 not long after Chester Lions was formed in 1960. At that time the event was hosted at Chester Zoo.
The original concept was a public service for the community but as numbers grew it evolved into an annual fund-raising initiative as well. Cheshire Police and fire services gave financial backing together with the council as it was recognised the organised display was far safer than people letting fireworks off in their back garden. Later came sponsorship deals with companies like MBNA.
But austerity means times are tough so that the only external funding this year is a £250 donation from the members’ budget of Cheshire West and Chester Council leader Samantha Dixon who is having to save tens of millions of pounds at the cash-strapped authority.
Peter Upton, a past president of Chester Lions, explained: “I think the story here is for the city of Chester and that we all need to work together and try and develop something. This could be the last one guys, if you don’t support it, it could be the last one.”
So the message is for people to get behind the community event – including those who watch from the walls who are asked for donations – and for companies to consider hiring a box on the night or even sponsoring the fireworks which always generates masses of publicity.
What makes organisers more nervous than anything is the rain because if people stay away they can be left with a huge bill. Sponsorship would ease their jitters.
Cllr Richard Beacham, who represents Newton ward, has submitted an application for a considerable sum to the council’s community safety partnership fund and is hopeful some cash will be forthcoming. He urges local companies to join others in getting behind the fireworks given its prominence in the Chester social calendar.
“That’s what it’s got to be for me. It’s the community coming together to fund it,” he added.
To contact Chester Lions phone 0845 833 2808 or 01244 300759 and speak to Lion John, or visit website www.chesterlions.co.uk. Alternatively, email: email@example.com