SAN JOSE -- With an eye toward rekindling a popular South Bay celebration and snuffing some illegal displays of high-flying fire, county supervisors on Tuesday agreed to front $50,000 to help bring back the downtown San Jose Fourth of July fireworks show.

Santa Clara County will also take an additional $20,000 out of reserves for an outreach campaign to combat the increasing number of dangerous and illegal amateur displays that have sprung up throughout the county since San Jose's large pyrotechnics display was nixed in 2009 due to budget constraints and a lack of sponsors.

The $50,000 was given to the Rotary Club of San Jose, which is leading the effort to bring back the event. The City of San Jose is also expected to match the contribution and the Rotary will raise the remainder of funds needed for the show. It will cost about $200,000 and has drawn 100,000 people to downtown in the past.

"It's a sorely missed civic event," said Carl Salas, president of the local Rotary chapter. "But there's a bigger reason -- illegal fireworks have proliferated to almost epidemic proportions since then."

Salas said it will "attract and redirect" people away from illegal displays -- particularly crucial in a drought year -- and added that the net savings from fewer fire incidents to respond to would essentially mean the event pays for itself.


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Salas began inquiring with local officials about the possibility of getting the show back on track about a year and a half ago, and this year's event will coincide with the Rotary chapter's 100th anniversary.

Supervisor Dave Cortese began a drive to secure county funding last month and the idea won unanimous approval from his board colleagues on Tuesday.

Supervisor Joe Simitian asked that language be added to explicitly state that the money is a one-time gift and not an ongoing obligation. He also added a clause that calls for an examination of the show's impact on illegal firework use this year.

Contact Eric Kurhi at 408-920-5852. Follow him at Twitter.com/erickurhi.