Editor’s note: This day has been coming for a while now, but it makes the reality no less sad.
The ax has finally fallen on the Pottstown Fourth of July celebration.
The committee that plans the annual event announced last week that the fireworks have been canceled for this year. The parade will go on, but most events in Memorial Park including the popular evening fireworks display will not be held. The decision was made in December because a $30,000 three-year contract with the fireworks company requires early notification and a sizeable deposit of $23,000.
Marcia Levengood and Chip Smale, co-chairs of the planning committee, said the group is hoping to raise $20,000 to stage the parade. If they can get more, an expanded celebration will be resurrected in 2014.
The news comes after several years of struggle to raise the $60,000 needed for a two-day celebration including a parade and fireworks that has become a tradition in Pottstown since it started 34 years ago. The celebration has always been funded entirely through community donations, with no tax dollars allocated for the event. In recent years, donations have been hard to come by and slow to come in, creating a last-minute plea each year to keep the celebration afloat.
I just read the yearly depressing article about our Fourth of July celebration’s funding shortfall in the local print media. Then I read the comments. I was not sure whether to laugh or cry.
Every year we learn that the committee is seriously short of money and that this could be the last year etc… This year they are so far in the hole who knows.
So I have to wonder…since we have the same problem every stinkin’ year, should we consider doing something different? Either take a year off and let people “miss it” or figure out better ways to do fundraising.
If everybody would just “give a dollar”…unfortunately, that never happens. The only way to make sure there is adequate funding is to request money from corporate sponsors earlier and charge a small fee to get into the park. People collecting money at the parade should be more official looking so there is no doubt where the money is going.
Maybe Mr. Hylton would dust of some of his moldy advertorial money and make a nice donation to help the citizens of Pottstown? Oh wait…my bad. Mr. Hylton is saving his pennies for another glossy postcard blitz for the November elections.