Fourth of July fundraising nears finish line
The town's 44th annual free family July 4 event is set to feature a morning parade downtown and afternoon and evening of sports, concerts and fireworks at Living Memorial Park.
Brattleboro's Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, known for leading the annual march with its giant American flag, kicked off this year's fundraising efforts by contributing enough money to cover all parade costs.
In addition, four local businesses — C&S Wholesale Grocers, G.S Precision, the Holstein Association and the Richards Group — have agreed to be the celebration's main sponsors.
The all-volunteer "By the People: Brattleboro Goes Fourth" citizens committee, now collecting money for fireworks, used Friday's live WTSA-FM broadcast to announce a major donation from the Brattleboro Reformer.
"We have new local owners," newspaper advertising manager Josh Unruh said on the air, "and are looking to get more and more involved in the community."
The radiothon also brought a similar contribution from hosts at the Brattleboro Savings & Loan, which shared president Dan Yates' favorite John Adams quote about the holiday: "It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."
To help do so, seven other local institutions — the Brattleboro American Legion and Kiwanis Club, Chroma Technology Corp., Dead River Company, Marina Restaurant, Sam's Outdoor Outfitters and Vermont Country Deli — also have contributed significantly.
Thanks to dozens of other smaller community contributions, the all-volunteer July 4 effort is close to fully funding this year's celebration.
"We're very happy with our success so far," Recreation and Parks Director Carol Lolatte said Friday, "but we still need support so we can continue to make this event free of charge."
Marching units set to include the Brattleboro American Legion and Brattleboro Union High School bands, veterans and civic and youth groups will kick off July 4 at 10 a.m. with a parade along Canal and Main streets to the town Common.
After, the town Recreation & Parks Department will offer a series of public concerts, sporting events and family activities at Living Memorial Park throughout the afternoon and evening until the start of fireworks by Northstar, a Vermont-owned company, at 9:30 p.m.
All programs are free thanks to citizen, civic and corporate donations. People wanting to contribute can mail donations to "Brattleboro Goes Fourth," P.O. Box 1112, Brattleboro, VT 05302.
People seeking to march in the parade must register by June 25 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about the event is available at the Brattleboro Goes Fourth Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BrattleboroGoesFourth.
Kevin O'Connor is a Reformer contributor and volunteer for Brattleboro Goes Fourth.
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