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Grucci to set fuse for Island fireworks

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Shelter Island gears up for its annual fireworks show now less than a month away.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Shelter Island is gearing up for its annual fireworks show now less than a month away.

After two summers of disappointments — last year with less than perfect weather and the year before with technical problems that led to a total cancellation — the Chamber of Commerce Fireworks Show will be bigger and better than ever, according to Chamber President Art Williams.

This year’s July 12 program will be in the hands of the internationally acclaimed Fireworks by Grucci based out of Bellport, Long Island. The Grucci name has been synonymous with fireworks since the family entered the business back in 1850.

What brought Grucci into the game for Shelter Island was a new alliance with the East Hampton-based Clamshell Foundation that this year allows contributors to the event to make their donations tax deductible. That’s something the Chamber couldn’t do, Mr. Williams said. But thanks to Chamber board member Susan Cincotta, a link was established between the two organizations that made sense to both.

The foundation brought in Grucci and gets a small management fee for the event. The Island benefits from the ability to give tax breaks to supporters with net profits still reverting to the Chamber, Mr. Williams said. People probably don’t realize that an event of this magnitude costs close to $40,000 and it has been a stretch for the Chamber alone to foot the bill, he added. The barge, alone, from which the fireworks are shot, costs $10,000.

“This is getting to be a heavy lift” for the Chamber to continue to make between fund raising and event planning, Mr. Williams said. The Clamshell Foundation, which has been presenting its own annual Great Bonac Fireworks Show over Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton, saw a natural allegiance between the efforts both groups make in their respective communities, according yo foundation founder and director Rossetti Perchik.

“It just seemed like a natural fit” for the two organizations that both raise money for scholarships as well as other important needs, Mr. Perchik said. “I like what the Chamber does,” he said. “We’re doing a lot of the same things.”

What’s more, the Perlman Music Program is getting into the mix this year for those who want to make the evening truly special, both men said.

Perlman will present “Stars, Stripes & Strings” that night, beginning at 5:30 p.m. with a reception at Perlman, to be followed by a 7 p.m. concert of patriotic music, an 8 p.m. picnic dinner and then, of course, a beachfront view of the fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Tickets for the Perlman event are $250.

Those who want to make a tax deductible contribution to support the Shelter Island Fireworks program can do so at clamshellfoundation.org.