The Ashland Chamber of Commerce turned to selling T-shirts in supermarkets this month to try to raise money for the city's annual Fourth of July fireworks show and parade, after corporate sponsorship dropped off because of the recession.

The Ashland Chamber of Commerce turned to selling T-shirts in supermarkets this month to try to raise money for the city's annual Fourth of July fireworks show and parade, after corporate sponsorship dropped off because of the recession.

"Although it's been challenging sponsorship-wise, we got creative this year," said Katharine Flanagan, marketing director for the chamber.

The chamber plans to put on the same parade and 20-minute fireworks show as last year, when the pyrotechnics budget was halved, she said.

Keeping the fireworks show, which can be seen from most areas of the city, was paramount because the City Council voted to ban the personal use of fireworks for the first time this year, she said.

The chamber will continue to raise money for the festivities even on the Fourth, by setting up a booth in Lithia Park where people can donate.

Last year, the Fourth budget was roughly halved, from about $30,000 to $15,000, Flanagan said. Although the chamber's goal is to raise $30,000 every year, at this point, Flanagan said, it is just trying to match last year's halved budget.

Donations from businesses are down "a few thousand dollars," she said, declining to release specific numbers. The chamber raised slightly more than $1,000 by selling T-shirts and other Fourth paraphernalia. Volunteers will continue to sell shirts from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the latter two locations.

— Ashland Daily Tidings