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    Rick Bender and his wife, Carri, have enjoyed the Fourth of July fireworks show off the coast of Torrance Beach since moving to the Palos Verdes Peninsula in 2003.

    The private display off a barge nestled in the southernmost part of Santa Monica Bay has gained a degree of nostalgia over the years in part because it was funded by a wealthy benefactor who largely preferred to remain unacknowledged.Happy 4th of july 2017 images quotes

    Now, with the death of the woman whose husband started the tradition 16 years ago, the pyrotechnics display was not planned for 2017. But Bender and a group of residents have answered the call to raise $65,000 to revive the show this year.

    South Redondo Beach resident Maury Gentile said the fireworks show is special because it feels like a private amphitheater in a beautiful setting against the hills.

    “There are so many ways to view the fireworks,” Gentile said. “It’s become such a tradition.”

    But with just over $15,000 collected from local businesses so far, Bender is turning to the greater community to help make the fireworks show a reality.

    Because the fireworks are launched from a barge 1,000 feet offshore, the city of Palos Verdes Estates does not have to be involved, nor does it want to, according to Bender, who spoke with city officials about the logistics.

    So it would be up to organizers to raise the money. At first they had about 12 business owners who discussed funding the fireworks, but none came through.

    “We’ve been at it for about three months targeting these major donors,” Bender said. “Then we realized if they aren’t going to step it up, we need to ramp this up very rapidly.”


    The private display had been paid for and organized by Paul Briles since 2001. After Paul died a few years back, his widow, Jackie, continued the tradition until her death last year. That’s when her children made it known 2016 would be the last fireworks show.

    “We had always heard rumors that it may not last forever, and this most recent year we heard pretty definitively that it would be the last year,” Bender said.

    The show went out with a larger-than-normal display last year as its grand finale of all grand finales. But something just didn’t seem right knowing it would be the last show, Bender said.

    “We were all sad about it going away and someone said somebody ought to do something about it,” he said. “I had agreed and then I stopped and thought it ought to be me.”

    If the campaign does not reach its goal, Bender said money will either be returned or applied toward the goal for next year’s fireworks, depending on what the donor wishes.

    To donate to the fireworks show, visit PalosVerdesFireworks.com/
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