Sparks in the Park will happen this year after all, thanks in part to a donation from Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. announced Tuesday.
Organizer Townsquare Media Texarkana announced last week that the event, Texarkana's traditional Independence Day celebration, was canceled because the company had run out of time to find ways to pay for it. Sparks in the Park's centerpiece fireworks show carries a price of at least $15,000, no sponsor had been found, and Townsquare itself would not pay for the show because of liability concerns.
But a pair of contributions have rescued the event while keeping admission free.
On Monday, the Texarkana, Ark., Advertising and Promotion Commission allocated $7,500 to the city Parks Department to spend on the fireworks.
Cooper Tire will contribute $7,500 to pay for the other half, according to Townsquare Media Senior Account Executive Andi Darby and an A&P Commission news release.
"This is certainly an event we look forward to sharing with thousands of individuals and families every year, so we are very appreciative of both of these organizations for their support.
"The timing is great because it brings everyone together for a patriotic celebration the weekend prior to the July 4th holiday, giving people the option to observe Independence Day however they choose," Darby said.
"This is a great opportunity for our city to showcase some of what makes Texarkana a great place to visit any time of the year, and we are very grateful to Cooper Tire and Rubber Company for partnering with us so that we may continue this Texarkana tradition.
"Guests who join us for this celebration have the potential to return to enjoy our restaurants, hotels and other attractions," A&P Commissioner Brandon Cogburn said.
"This is a great opportunity for an American company to sponsor a wonderful celebration of America," said Curtis Schneekloth, technical services manager for Cooper Tire.
The event, which includes family-friendly activities and contests, is scheduled for 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. June 29 at the Four States Fairgrounds.
Planning is still underway, but organizers are working to provide a rock-climbing wall, bounce houses, a children's train, a giant sandbox with toys, and a variety of other attractions. Historically, Red River Army Depot has provided military trucks and tanks for children to climb in.
A variety of competitive games include two hours of sack races, three-legged races, spoon/egg races, hula hooping, bubble gum blowing and more.
Patriotic-themed activities include "Strollers and Rollers," an invitation for guests to decorate their bicycles, tricycles and wheelchairs in patriotic decorations. A "Patriotic Dress" contest will recognize and award the guest who dons the most patriotic attire, and a patriotic selfie station will let guests share festive selfies or group photos on social media.
Musical entertainment will be provided by local band Heather Linn and the Deacons, and a variety of food vendors and food trucks will be on site during the entire event.