Fundraising fizzles, canceling New Kensington fireworks display this year
Except for the occasional renegade bottle rocket, New Kensington's skies will be dark and quiet the night of July 4th.
The annual Fourth of July fireworks display and the all-day block party downtown will not take place this year, according to Mayor Tom Guzzo.
Guzzo explained that two city Recreation Committee members who handled fundraising and the planning for the event had to resign last year due to illness.
Guzzo said nobody came forward to continue their work.
“I guess, from our perspective, we've had these really dedicated committee members who have been able to raise funds for this event and they weren't able to continue with that,” Guzzo said. “This year, for a variety of reasons, they (the recreation committee) were unable to collect adequate donations.”
Kathy Males spearheaded the fundraising and planning for the fireworks display while Robin Laird, the former committee chairman, handled the block party. Both resigned to deal with treatments after being diagnosed with serious illnesses.
Males said raising the $13,000 needed for the fireworks isn't easy and requires a lot of preparation. She said she had a system in place to follow, all it needed was someone to direct it.
“It really ticks me off they didn't take this and run with it,” Males said of the committee. “It just doesn't come to you — you have to work for it. You have to have a fundraiser basically every month and they didn't want to do it.”
She said she would write solicitation letters for the fireworks that were mailed with the real estate tax notices sent out by the city and residents were generous in response.
“She would get some donations from older people apologizing that that is all they could give but they really appreciated the fireworks,” said Tony Males, her husband who helped her with the fireworks campaign.
In addition to that, the committee held bingos, did solicitation along roadways just as firefighters do, sent solicitation letters to businesses and sold 50-50 raffle tickets.
“That bums me out because it's a lot of work and even if they start again next year, they are starting from scratch,” Males said.
But that is the plan, according to Guzzo. He said some new people have been appointed to the committee also.
“We already started fundraising for next year and our goal is to have fireworks next year,” Guzzo said.
Males said she got involved with the fireworks display because her grandfather's birthday is July 3 and she had fond memories of watching the Springdale and Tarentum fireworks from a boat on the river. She thought New Kensington should have a display as well.
If she is healthy next year, Males said she would like to get involved with it again.
Why is it so important to her?
“It's a celebration of independence from England, the celebration of life in this country. You can live the way you want, say what you want,” Males replied. “I just think it's a great midsummer celebration to get everyone together.”
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Banshee’ props, inventory up for sale
- ATI picketer injured at Harrison mill
- Arnold bakery reopens at is new ‘old’ location
- Union files lawsuit against ATI
- Federal court ruling could have impact on New Kensington-Arnold school monument
- Apollo fountain to return
- Allegheny Township man seeks help finding family heirloom
- Fox Chapel, Franklin Regional rank top schools on Niche.com website
- Springdale’s top cop kept out of his office
- Changes coming to The Clarion Hotel in New Kensington
- Engineer advises Springdale Borough that other water plant options cost ‘significantly’ less