Many of us grew up with the Monte Fireworks. It was a fun end of summer event to look forward to. Especially since Santa Cruz stopped putting on a 4th of July firework display. How many of us know how the tradition started? And what’s behind this pyrotechnic display? Marc Monte gives us some background and insight into this community favorite.
“The Monte Foundation was started out of what I believed a need in our community to help schools and youth activities in our community. We were receiving countless requests from schools and youth activity leagues at our business Deluxe Foods of Aptos, and I thought a Foundation directed towards answering the need was a good idea. Unbelievable that was 22 years ago. It has come full circle now not doing the big event down on the beach. It is back to all three of the organizations I am in charge of trying to help our community, Deluxe Foods of Aptos, Monte Trust, and the Monte Foundation.”
“The amount given every year from those three entities is usually between 200k to 250k depending on request and projects we are involved in. Who do we help? I feel like we help everyone. Our donations to Aptos and Soquel High snack shacks every year help those two high schools run their athletic programs, our assistance to La Selva Beach Library helps keep those doors open and the kids programs going. SPCA is also on the receiving end. Hospice, just finished building a skateboard park in Capitola. Helping Dominican Hospital with their latest wellness project. Countless tuition assistance to many young people in our community, St Francis high and Salesian Sisters are dear to my heart and receive continued support. We support many golf tournaments that in turn support many causes. Second Harvest Food Bank gets checks annually. And who can count how many team uniforms we buy every year. I’m sure I’m missing many more but I think you get the idea.”
“Our annual show continues to amaze me, the Family that does the shows, Zambelli, continue their support by donating shells to our show every year. Last year, was by far the largest show Santa Cruz County has ever seen! I was disappointed by the fog this year, but that is something I can’t control. The Lord has been kind to us though, in 29 shows 2 have had fog. My favorite shells are the tear drop shells, reminds me of a waterfall in the sky. My appreciation goes out to all my sponsors, the Zambelli Family, and the City of Capitola, for allowing my Family to give Santa Cruz County a show every year that the kids do not forget, even after they become adults.”
“Why do I help the Community?” This question always makes me smile. My easy answer is how could I not help the community that has been so good to our family business over the last 35 years? I was raised in Catholic schools pretty much my whole life, I was taught to help people, love thy neighbor, and so on. Sounds corny I know buy the nuns and priests in my life were such amazing people, they formed the person that went back and helps his community. It really is that simple. I would feel guilty not helping people.”
And now we all have a better understanding of the long term impact of this once a year, bright, dazzling spectacle. The benefits last all year long. Glad we have people like Marc in our community.
Here are some photos from local photographers Matt Doll‘s drone and Neil Simmons under the wharf!
Matt Doll- Worldwave Imagery