McNary band fireworks stand gets new River Road home

The McNary High School band will be holding their annual firework tent at V2 Dentistry (Submitted).

Despite dealing with a multitude of barriers, the McNary High band program will still be running their annual fireworks booth.

The booth, which makes up one-third of the McNary band program’s annual budget, will be located in the grassy area by of V2 Dentistry (4575 River Rd. N) and be opened from Friday, June 26 to Saturday, July 4 — hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.

All proceeds will go to funding the McNary band.

“With the chaos of COVID-19, we weren’t sure we’d even be able to be open this year,” said Heather Matthews, the secretary for the McNary band booster club. “The McNary band cannot believe how fortunate we are. We cannot wait to serve the community that supports our program so wholeheartedly.”

The spread of COVID-19 wasn’t the only chaos that the McNary band faced in attempting to facilitate their fundraiser.

After being in a two-month waiting period, the band’s booster club decided to move forward with the fireworks booth. But a month before the stand was set to open, Countryside Christian Church, who has hosted the McNary band’s fireworks booth for several years, informed the booster club that they would not be able to host the stand this year — the church began doing drive-in church services on Sunday, June 21.

Town & Country Lanes then offered to be the replacement host for the stand, but the spacing between the tent, the inventory truck, and the Town & Country building did not meet fire code inspection, so the McNary boosters were forced to start back at square one.

“We had a lot of curveballs thrown at us,” said Kerri Holiman, the booster club president for McNary band. “We normally have everything locked down by early-April.

But with the odds stacked against them, the McNary band received much-needed assistance from Keizer Chamber of Commerce President Danielle Bethell and Keizer Fire Marshal Ann-Marie Storms.

Bethell made a Facebook Live video to plea with Keizer business owners to let the McNary band use their space. Then, both Bethell and Storms went around town and checked on what location could be a possibility for the McNary band, and were able to locate a spot at V2 Dentistry.

“The community effort to help us find a new location was amazing,” Holiman said.

Holiman also commented on how the fireworks fundraiser helps make the McNary band more accessible to more students. She also encourages Keizer residents to come out to the stand and support the band program.

“The money is being used for such a good cause. Having kids engaged in our music programs helps keep them in school and gives them a better track to graduation. Holiman said.

The band will also be accepting donations of bottles and cans at the tent.