Operation Desert Salute, a homecoming celebration for gulf war troops, is only a little more than two weeks away and organizers are $18,000 short of their original goal.

But event organizer Wynn Covieo isn't worried."I still feel very confident that things are going to come off like they are supposed to," he said. "Based on what's happened in the last couple of days, we will have the resources to do it right."

Organizers have reduced their fund-raising goal from $20,000 to $8,000 because businesses have offered to pick up many of the costs, Covieo said.

"If the promises come through, we will need about $8,000 to do everything first class. This is the total amount of money we will need to cover all of our costs, and we feel confident we can raise that," he said.

In April, Covieo said the parade committee needed to raise at least $20,000 to turn the May 27 celebration into a success. It's billed as the state homecoming celebration for the war veterans.

An account to collect the donations was set up at First Security Bank locations throughout Utah, and as of Wednesday afternoon it contained $1,120.

"We might have to eliminate some of the things that make it nice. If we don't have one balloon, if we don't have one bow on a tree or any red, white or blue downtown along the route, it's still going to be a fantastic event," he said.

Covieo said the three major uncovered costs are printing more than 50,000 programs to distribute to spectators, funding for a fireworks show and other expenses associated with a patriotic program at the Dee Events Center at Weber State University.

"This is a major production, not just your local LDS stake road show. We're going to put on a first-class event," he said.

He said he suspected fund-raising efforts have suffered because of numerous hometown celebrations.

"I think it's great that they are doing that, and we could have done the same thing in the Pioneer Days parade, but we felt they deserved a parade by themselves," he said.

"I'll tell you now there's nothing Salt Lake City can do that can even compare with what we are having in Ogden because they are going to have the troops stuck somewhere between a handcart and a horse in the Days of '47. And I think there's some military people who aren't happy with that."