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Fireworks will return to New Kensington on June 28

| Thursday, June 19, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Independence Day will be celebrated in New Kensington this summer, complete with a Zambelli fireworks display.

After a one-year hiatus, the annual fireworks display and block party will return on the Saturday before July 4, which falls on June 28 this year.

The festivities were cancelled last summer because of serious illnesses of the two volunteers who spearheaded the event.

A group of volunteers stepped up to make sure the Fourth of July celebration returned this year.

Assistant Fire Chief Ed Saliba Jr. and former Redevelopment Authority Director Kim McAfoose began organizing raffles and other fundraisers late last summer.

Early this year, Emil Hanulik got his American Legion post involved in the fundraising effort.

“I thought it was disappointing that the city didn't have fireworks last year,” he said.

Hanulik, owner of New Kensington-based Signalgraph Security Inc., noted the festival brings in people from neighboring towns and is a good promotion for the community.

Including money that had been raised toward last summer's cancelled display plus funds collected through the efforts of Saliba, McAfoose, Hanulik and others, slightly more than $10,000 is available for this year's display.

Organizers still are collecting donations — whatever isn't used this year will be put toward the 2015 display.

In addition to asking city residents and businesses to contribute, Hanulik said he hopes people from surrounding communities who attend the display will consider making a donation.

Andre Carter is working to bring in vendors, activities and entertainment for the block party that will be moved to the Barnes Street parking lot this year. The block party previously was held along Fourth Avenue near Central City Plaza.

Carter, whose Sponsors United business arranges concerts, said he's drawing on his entertainment background to support the party. At least 16 vendors are on board.

“We've really been pounding the pavement to make this happen,” said Carter. “The event will be a success.”

“I'm appreciative of what they've done,” said Mayor Tom Guzzo.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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