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North Reading Wants Fourth of July Back

Do you miss fun and fireworks on the Fourth of July?

North Reading once had a reputation for its Independence Day celebration. For several years now, the Fourth of July festivities have been a distant memory.

Owner of Pearce Construction Warren Pearce was once the head of the Fourth of July Committee, when both the funds and volunteers were available. The holiday was celebrated at Ipswich River Park with fireworks, a bonfire, and rides for children. The fireworks alone can cost up to $10,000, but a show that large is not necessary. 

“I severely miss the Fourth of July festivities,” said Rachelle Darcy, employee at Pearce Construction. “I grew up in North Reading, and it’s what we look forward to in the summer. Everyone I talk to misses it.”

Unfortunately, without the manpower and funds, the Fourth of July will be silent again this year in North Reading. But it is possible to make this year the last. In previous years, private donors funded the events. Some were interested this year, but the volunteers were lacking, said Darcy. 

If you miss the fireworks and fun on the Fourth of July in town, tell us in the comment section below. Would you volunteer your time to help out and pull off a great Independence Day celebration? 

Monica Gregoire June 27, 2011 at 04:33 PM
I would love to be part of this. I agree, a one day event is a great idea.
Fred Chalmers June 27, 2011 at 05:40 PM
I miss the days when the events were held at the Batch playground, with lots of local fund-raising booths and a few kiddie rides. I *really* miss the fireworks at IRP, but have no use whatsoever for the carnival rides and rip-off midway (although I'm sure the youths of the town love 'em.) If you need another person for a new committee, sign me up. Bring back the hockey boosters' fried dough :^)
Joe Veno June 27, 2011 at 08:31 PM
It might be wise to start again wth a one day event. I do not think we could get the carnival for a one day event. Now before you go bashing the carnival, It made money for us to pay the bills. Would the local vendors come in for one day? I do not know this would all have to be researched. Scot I am not worried about not enough people to attend. If we have something people will attend. The place used to be packed when we had it for three Days. If they know we are having something I think they will stay home to attend it.
Joe Veno June 27, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Hi Sue, We would not have to start in August if we were going to have a one or two day event. December would be fine. Wilmington's celebration lasts for a week that is why they start so early.
Nancy Wolfe June 27, 2011 at 08:47 PM
Why not look to the Moose or the Masons for volunteers? Our charter are to serve our local community.
Joe Veno June 27, 2011 at 08:55 PM
Fred, The carnival did not pay all the bills. It was a money maker for the Fourth of July Committee but the bills were much more than we made on the carnival. sorry if I made it sound like the carnival paid the whole thing.
Fred Chalmers June 27, 2011 at 08:57 PM
Joe, I would have to see the numbers before I could agree or disagree with your statement about the carnival making money to pay the bills, but I'm puzzled: if this were true, then why were the festivities cancelled last year or this for lack of funds? How much of the total costs are paid for by carnival revenues? How much of a shortfall would fundraising have to come up with? I would think that some of the bigger companies in town (WalMart, Teredyne, S&S, etc...) could be convinced to sign up for a grand or more each to be "platinum sponsors" or some such thing. Would Pat Lee want to set up a booth to sell BBQ? Great American Tavern flipping burgers? Little League peddling slush? Hockey boosters with their famous fried dough? Have enough smaller vendors pay a small fee, and sponsor a few Middle School dances and the funding gap can be shrunk considerably.
Fred Chalmers June 27, 2011 at 09:02 PM
Joe, that why I hesitated in my initial reply, and removed it for revision. As I said, I'd have to see the numbers before going out on a limb much further. I do know this; there are a lot of people in town who really miss the fireworks and were, like myself, sad to find out about their cancellation at such a late date. I'm sure many of them, like myself, would be willing to donate money to fund them again.
Joe Veno June 27, 2011 at 09:11 PM
Fred those are all some great ideas but I do recall a few years ago when the economy was not as bad as it is today these large companies just do not give what people think they will. This would be a major job of the committee to fund raise. I do not know the figures of the last year we ran it. I think the event would cost a lot more than people think. I am not saying lets not try it but I think everyone will be suprised when they see what it cost to put this on. We must remember because of Warren Pearce's generosity we did not have to pay for a lot of services. But we can not expect Warren to donaste as he did in the past he is feeling the pinch just like everyone else.
Lindsay Felix June 28, 2011 at 01:40 AM
Our family as well would love to be a part of this! And agree about a one day event without the rides! Growing up here, we used to love the huge Bon fire and Batch set up and would love for our kids to have the same similar July 4 th memories. Please do contact me for volunteering with the committee!
Ruth Kennedy June 28, 2011 at 01:52 AM
Having grown up in Wilmington, I know the annual "Fun on the 4th" event was a continuation of the town's 200th anniversary way back in the 1980's. or was it the 1970's? Anyway, my point is that their event has been organized and in existence for many years at this point, with events that are already "in the bag" so to speak. And they still meet year-round, with their own building (note the "4th of July" building on Wilmington Common"). I would think that the recreation of any North Reading 4th celebration would require brainstorming, research, and early planning starting as early as possible. And perhaps looking to other communities to see what works for them and how NR might be able to use those ideas, may save some time. Why reinvent the wheel?
Susan Magner June 28, 2011 at 01:45 PM
Ruth, I must agree. and It was the 70's for Willmington 1976 to be precise. I grew up there too. Point is Wilmington didn't start out with what they have today...it took time to build up. It also took dedication and committment of the committee to seek out and find corporations to commit to the financial aspect. Just working on the 9/11 event without any rides and such .... has been in the works since Early November. So YES this kind of event does take lots of planning time...a jump start to pricing carnevals (if that is in the plan)...but these people have their dates set in advance...so being the "new kid on the block" ...we have to request early....this also includes your vendors....advertisement in early stages...getting the community mark their calendars....let's face it folks...there hasn't been fireworks for sometime...so the community has sought outside sources to fill this void...As far as the fundraising goes...the committee would need to also commit to seeking outside assistance...talk to the people and businesses they know....also fundraising throughout the year for example social events and dances, texas holdems where proceeds would be to fund the 4th of july festivities.
Heidi June 28, 2011 at 03:47 PM
I also miss this celebration and disappointed we will not have it this year. I certainly would volunteer to participate on a planning committee and could also guarantee at least a few other volunteers.
Joe Veno June 29, 2011 at 03:15 AM
It sounds like there is certainly enough interest to look into this furthur. I have sent an email to one of the former members of the Fourth of July committee asking him to contact me. I have several questions I want to ask him. I will report back here on Patch after i speak with him. I want to be perfectly clear, I DO NOT want to Chair this committee but I will give the time needed to have a celebratioon next year as long as everyone who says they will help comes through.
Maureen Stevens July 01, 2011 at 11:51 AM
Although North Reading doesn't have a fireworks display, they have the one of the best Concert series around. Who else in the immediate area has a concert, BBQ, children's entertainer, pony rides, generous business sponsors, community spirit at the best park (Ipswich River Park) every Wednesday for six weeks? Everyone who comes has an amazing time! See you next Wednesday (7/6 at 5PM). Have a GREAT weekend. North Reading Parks & Recreation
Joanna Lexth July 03, 2011 at 12:28 PM
I would like to be on a planning committee to bring the 4th back to North Reading. Maybe at the BBQ's on Wednesdays donation boxes could be set out for next year's fireworks. A few dollars at a time adds up. Joanna
Ron Quinan July 03, 2011 at 06:02 PM
I recently moved to North Reading and the previous owner of our house told us about the past Independence Day celebrations at IRP. Trying to find information about it has brought me to this blog. I too would be interested in volunteering my time to help revive an event to commemorate this day.
Linda Moriarty July 05, 2011 at 05:25 PM
I think Independence Day is a fantastic way to bring the community together. I would love to see our town have a town celebration including fireworks but they are very expensive - much much more than the 10K someone referred to. I lived in Wilmington most of my life and they do a phenomenal job fundraising for their week long 4th of July events. I'd love to be part of a 4th of July committee and perhaps we could start with a slightly less ambitious project. I attended both the Burlington and Wakefield parades and was so impressed. They are a fantastic way to bring the community together and to highlight town businesses, volunteer programs, sports and school and other activities/clubs. A parade has the potential to be a great fundraiser for the town as well...perhaps proceeds going to improving IRP. Anyone have any thoughts/interest?
Fred Chalmers July 14, 2011 at 01:42 PM
Are you one of the many North Reading residents who misses the town's 4th of July celebration? Want to help do something to bring it back for 2012? Then please plan to attend a preliminary meeting at the Library meeting room on Wednesday July 20 at 7PM to discuss what it would take to "Bring Back the 4th!" This meeting is open to all North Reading residents; all that's required are great ideas and a willingness to work hard to make this happen!
Fred Chalmers July 26, 2011 at 03:09 AM
Ten people attended the first meeting of the "Bring Back the 4th" committee , five of whom have been part of the Patch discussion above. If you are still interested in making this effort a success, please plan on attending our next meeting on Thursday, August 4 at 7PM in the Library meeting room. The more people who participate, the easier it is to spread the workload. If you have any questions or need more information, please drop me a line at fred.chalmers@comcast.net.
Fred Chalmers July 26, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Hi Linda, please feel free to come to the next meeting on Aug 4, 7PM at the library, to pitch the idea.
Fred Chalmers July 26, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Ron, it was great to see you at the 1st meeting last week. You're the kind of new blood that can help carry this forward in years to come. We need more people like you who can blend with those of us who've been around a while in order to have a good mix of ideas.
Fred Chalmers July 26, 2011 at 09:36 PM
Maureen, the committee is being born anew. Any chance of you coming to the next meeting on Aug 4, 7PM at the library? You have the kind of background and institutional knowledge that would really come in handy.
Fred Chalmers July 26, 2011 at 09:40 PM
Rich, we would love to see you at the next meeting, Aug 4, 7PM at the library. Your ideas, enthusiasm and connections are all much needed.
Fred Chalmers July 26, 2011 at 09:53 PM
Monica, we would love to see you at the next meeting on Aug 4, 7PM at the library. The more people who join up, the easier it is to spread what will likely be a heavy workload!
Maureen Vacca July 26, 2011 at 10:40 PM
Hi Fred, I put the date & time on my calendar. See you then! Maureen
Fred Chalmers September 12, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Lindsay, we would love to see you at the next meeting, Sep 13, 7PM at the Town Hall Room 10. Your ideas and enthusiasm are much needed.
Fred Chalmers February 29, 2012 at 05:34 PM
The 4th of July Committee needs your help! A core group of volunteers has been hard at work since August raising funds and planning the event but we need more help. With just 4 months to go until the 4th, we're still far short of our $30,000 fundraising goal, and need more volunteers to work on the Entertainment, Infrastructure and Vendor (i.e. local non-profits) committees. If you want to help make this event a reality, we need you to join us. Please visit our website at www.nrbringbackthe4th.org for contact information.
Jared Eldredge March 27, 2012 at 05:52 PM
My wife and I are moving to NR this April/May and are looking forward to meeting folks at this event. Just visited the www.nrbringbackthe4th.org site : we'll be sure to visit some of the fundraisers and do our bit to help fund the event! Really looking forward to it!
Camellama July 31, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Joe Veno. Next 4th of July: you and I are making fireworks in this town. We are...NR...

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