The Bring Back the Fourth Committee was formed in September of 2011 to fundraise and plan for Fourth of July activities in North Reading. Chairman Fred Chalmers is now joined by about 10 members who have been working with various town departments to ensure that a celebration takes place on Independence Day.
The committee plans to have an event on July 4 at starting at noon. They will have activities for kids, a DJ, merchandise and refreshments available and fireworks at 9 p.m.
"There will be games and activities for the kids; we will have a DJ (Phil Carbone) spinning at the gazebo. Other entertainment is still in the investigative stage. The non-profit groups will set up booths at which they will provide games or entertainment, sell refreshments, merchandise, etc.," Chalmers said.
The committee has raised approximately $11,000 for the event so far.
"Our original plan was for a 2-day event that we had estimated would cost $30,000, which would have included fireworks both nights. However, in light of our level of fundraising to date, we were forced to scale back our plans to just one day, capped with a smaller fireworks display," Chalmers said. "We've estimated that such an event would cost $17,500 and, as you can see, we still have a long way to go."
The committee will work with the and departments, Parks and Recreation, the Department of Public Works and others to make the event happen. They also have subcommittees that focus on fundraising, publicity and communications, entertainment, infrastructure and vendors to ensure that the event is succesful.
"The Vendor subcommittee works with local non-profit groups (youth & HS sports, scouts, civic & fraternal groups, etc) in hopes of having them participate in the 4th by setting up booths for games, refreshments, merchandise or outreach/publicity," Chalmers said. "The Entertainment subcommittee is ramping up as we get nearer to the date, and finally the Infrastructure subcommittee, which is in charge of the actual set-up and logistics of the event, is about to get into high gear. Most members serve on multiple committees, and all of these committees could use more help."
There are several things residents can do to help. Volunteer to join the committee, make a donation or attend one of their fundraisers. At one time they had 35 members in the committee, but that has dwindled down to 10. To make a donation mail your check, made out to NR 4th of July, to NR Bring Back the 4th, PO Box 653, North Reading, MA, or donate online.
Their next fundraiser, a Cinco de Mayo party, will be on May 5 at . Tickets are $20 at the door and include a buffet. They are also working with the recycling committee to sponsor an Electronics Recycling day in late May.
"Our goal from the start was to provide a fun, family-friendly event with a small-town feel, which meant foregoing a carnival. That placed the burden of raising all of the necessary money squarely on our shoulders. Despite working hard at it since September, we're still well short of the amount needed to execute our current plan," Chalmers said. "We've solicited donations from local businesses already, with mixed success. It's now time for us to appeal to the residents of North Reading for their help. We need to raise $6,000 in a little more than 2 months, and the few fundraising events we have planned won't close that gap. So I'd say to everyone in town: if the fireworks mean anything to you, if you've enjoyed them in the past and have missed them these past few years, please consider making a donation, in any amount, to help us "Bring Back the 4th" to North Reading."