The East Helena Fireworks show has been a yearly spectacle ever since the VFW Post 10010 began funding the project in 1957. They provided the show for the veterans and their families for many, many years. People would travel miles and miles to see the show. Sadly, the funding put more and more stress on the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10010 and they felt they needed to spend the funding on providing vets other necessities, rightly so. They announced they would be unable to continue to provide the funding for the show.
Since that time, in 2010, Karl Meagher took on the task of raising funding from the community residents and businesses to continue on the show with his non-profit organization, Prickly Pear Fireworks. With the help of Richard MacDonald, Karl was able to continue the fireworks show every year for 7 years! They were able to raise nearly $20,000 every year to meet the rising costs of fireworks. Unfortunately, as the cost of fireworks continued to climb, the funding provided less and less of a show. Not being able to afford to close the gap in the declining amounts of funding, Karl announced that it would be unlikely he could continue on the show into 2017.
When we heard that the show was to be discontinued, we were in shock! We have watched the Prickly Pear Fireworks show for as long as any of us can remember!
So, the display needed a revival of sorts, a new spin, and much more funding.
That is where Shellie jumped up and said “I’m In!!!”
The show has been displayed since before Shellie was born! She remembers watching it since she was just a little kid, and doesn’t recall missing it EVER! She smiles when she gets to watch her grandchildren “ooh” and “ahh” at the extravaganza every year, and is delighted when they say “Oooh, that one was AWESOME!!!” or “Did you see that one, Grandma!?!?” They just love the show, and so does she. Being the type of person she is, she was not willing to give up on the Prickly Pear Fireworks show! She wants to continue this tradition for the community because she truly cares about making a difference. She cares about the veterans and feels that the show should be provided for them to show them their sacrifices are not unrecognized or disregarded. As a small business owner, Shellie hopes that she can rally all the East Helena and Helena businesses, organizations, groups, and families together to make this happen.
Shellie is putting a lot on the table to continue to provide this famed 4th of July for East Helena, Helena, and the surrounding areas. All she is asking in return is for a little bit of help to take this show up a notch. Nobody should have to travel to Butte, Missoula, or Bozeman to get to see a good fireworks show. With your help, we can make the Capital City known for having a great Independence Day show! Together, we can take this community highlight and make it even greater this year, and every year following.