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Committee optimistic about town fireworks for July 4th

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PEPPERELL — The town will not pay the $10,000 price tag for the 2009 fireworks display, as it has for “what records seem to show as forever,” according to Jannine Kraus.

Kraus is secretary for the Pepperell Fourth of July Committee (P4JC) and is looking forward to helping coordinate her fifth parade in 2009.

Tightening of the town budget and recent cuts included a decision not to fund next year’s fireworks display. As a result, fund-raising goals will more than triple from previous years. Kraus says that the entire day and evening event for 2009 is estimated at $28,000 to $30,000.

Although the town has traditionally picked up the tab for the fireworks, the committee’s fund-raising efforts have financed the hefty $8,000 or so needed to complete the extravaganza.

“The committee’s expenses include, but are not limited to, all parade bands and entertainers (which range from $500 to $1,500 each), extra police detail time, parade route busing for the bands, ribbons, permits, trash removal, port-a-potties, signage and advertising,” Kraus said.

She also notes that year-round volunteer time and work is required to create such festivities.

“As the crowds grow, so does the work because the committee wants to bring more excitement and attractions to the event every year.”

Linda Leland joined the committee three years ago and spearheaded the large craft fair and barbecue event on the town field that follows the parade. Mike Blood, of Chef on Wheels and Scotch Pine Farm Restaurant, works with the committee to contract nighttime vendors to serve the crowd of several thousand who attend the fireworks.

What might seem like a dismal situation due to the lost town funding is actually quite hopeful. “The P4JC is confident that the show will go on,” Kraus said. “Thanks to the support we get from Pepperell residents, businesses and even business from surrounding areas.”

Kraus said the scale of the Pepperell celebration can easily be compared to that of events in much larger cities.

“The P4JC members have changed throughout the years, but the committee has always been comprised of dedicated, hard-working, all-volunteer staff with one goal in mind keeping tradition alive. A tradition of hometown pride and desire to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day in all its well-deserved glory.”

The committee’s optimism does not come without some concern. They understand that they have to fill some really big shoes from previous years to present an extraordinary event, not to mention find a way to fund the much-anticipated fireworks display.

“We can do it; we will do it,” Kraus says, “And we would very much like to avoid charging by the carload as many towns do in order to help cover costs.”

She also encourages participation. Everyone is welcome to enter a float in the parade and while the floats must meet some basic guidelines, there is no charge to enter them.

The P4JC has numerous fund-raisers throughout the year, including a popular “Who’s Who” ad book and proceeds from the sale of a town of Pepperell afghan. Other events include a spring carnival, golf tournament, fishing derby and skydiving. Band sponsorships are also available with prominent parade day signage.

The committee is well aware and sympathetic to the current economic struggles and needs of the community, Kraus said. She also recognizes that there are a number of other organizations competing for donations throughout the year.

“We just ask that if people are able to come out and take part in a fun event that happens to support our cause,” Kraus said, “then please come and we thank you for your support.”

Visit www.pepperell4thofjuly.org for more information and the exact parade route.

Volunteers and new members are welcome. Contact Jannine Kraus at 978-433-5230 or pepperell4thofjulycommittee@yahoo.com.