North Reading residents missed Fourth of July activites so much that they formed a committee to plan festivities for next year. The committee has met twice over the past couple of months, and will continue to work together until the plans are finalized.
There were about 10 people at the first meeting and 28 at the second. The buzz about the Independence Day celebration is growing in town, and it's not too late to get involved.
Chairman of the Bring Back the Fourth Committee Fred Chalmers said, "We are definitely settled on a two-day event. We are going to do it July 3 and July 4 next year."
Their plan is to have fireworks on both nights, but July 3 will feature a smaller display than the fourth. They hope to have concession stands, games for kids, and face painting.
"We want it to have a small town feel," Chalmers said. "We're going to start off small. If we are successful, in future years we will grow as our ability allows. Similar to the old days when it started small and grew bigger."
The funding is going to come from a combination of donations and fundraising events that will be held between now and next spring.
Chalmers said, "We will solicit donations from businesses and individuals. The fundraising committee hasn't met yet. It's probably going to run us close to $20,000, most of that will be the cost of the fireworks."
The committee will also have to pay for things like police and fire detail and port-a-potties for the event, which will be held at .
"I want to make it very clear that we are not asking the town for any money. We will do this on our own," said Chalmers. "We are currently working to put together a budget; once we have a budget established, we'll know how large our fundraising effort has to be."
The Bring Back the Fourth Committee has set up additional committees for fundraising, communications, entertainment, infrastructure, vendors, and town liaison. According to Chalmers, the festivities will only be successful if it is a group effort.
The committee will meet next on Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Meeting Room.