Longtime volunteer the spark behind Carmel’s annual fireworks display

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This will be volunteer Jack Badger’s final year heading up sales of the Spark Buttons that benefit CarmelFest. (Staff photo by Gary Boskovich)

This will be volunteer Jack Badger’s final year heading up sales of the Spark Buttons that benefit CarmelFest. (Staff photo by Gary Boskovich)

By Gary Boskovich

When you talk to Jack Badger, it’s absolutely clear that he loves Carmel. He’s lived here for 46 years and has become a valued member of the community.

And he said his annual involvement with CarmelFest and selling Spark Buttons to help offset the cost of Carmel’s Fourth of July fireworks display is one of his favorite volunteer activities.

But this will be the final year for Badger’s participation in that program. He will be turning 80 soon and he said feels it’s time to turn the reigns over to someone else.

Whoever that is will be hard pressed to match Jack’s energy and passion for selling those Spark Buttons. His goal is to match last year’s sellout.

“Last year we sold all 3,000 of them; the last one wasn’t sold until July 3rd,” Badger said.

He was pleased that all the buttons were sold but disappointed it took until July 3 for him to do so.

“With over 80,000 people in Carmel, why can’t we sell these in about 3 weeks so I don’t have to do this on July 3 and (July) 4? I had to work 10 to 15 hours each day to (get the buttons sold),” he said.

Prospective supporters can find Badger hawking his wares every Saturday at the Farmers Market and on Wednesdays at the gazebo events near City Hall. If that’s not enough, Jack will use his Saturday nights to push his Spark Buttons during the Gallery Walk event in Carmel’s Arts & Design district.

Button sales are important to the success of CarmelFest. It helps defray about one-third of the overall cost of the fireworks display, which has become one of the most impressive in central Indiana.

“If you’re wearing one of these when the fireworks go off on July 4, you yell to everybody around you, ‘I paid for that one.’”

Purchasing a Spark Button provides mutual benefit for seller and buyer. It comes with coupons donated by several Carmel merchants. Buying a lighted button provides coupons valued at more than $140. An unlighted version offers about $60 dollars in coupon savings.

“I started working on this in November and met with 35 businesses. I’ve probably put in over 400 hours in this year. I always say when you buy (a button) you get all your money back big time,” Badger said.

So lend a hand to Badger’s farewell Spark Button tour. Buy a button from him and feel proud that you helped contribute to the success of Carmel’s Fourth of July fireworks show and help send him out on a high note.

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