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July 4 fireworks display canceled in Apollo

| Thursday, June 19, 2014, 7:33 a.m.

The Apollo Salute to the Armed Forces and its fireworks display have been canceled next month, but volunteer planners hope to revive the celebration next year.

“This is very disappointing,” said Vince Mazzon, chairman of the committee that stages the event.

“It was a matter of money. We are well short of the goal,” he said. “Well short” means thousands of dollars, Mazzon said, but he declined to be specific.

Donations collected so far will be used for the 2015 celebration, he said.

The committee should have signed a contract with a fireworks company in March or April, but didn't, he said.

Mazzon said he has no reason to believe that a fireworks accident last year had repercussions in fund raising this year.

At least three children were injured in the accident during the display at Owens Field. One 14-year-old girl from Kiski Township was hospitalized with second-degree burns on both of her legs.

Pyrotecnico, the New Castle fireworks company that staged the show, conducted an internal investigation of the accident. Pyrotecnico has failed to release results of the investigation as promised and has declined to answer questions about it.

There was no official investigation by law enforcement agencies.

Since the Apollo-Ridge School District indefinitely banned fireworks from Owens Field following the accident, the event was scheduled to take place in Apollo Plaza.

The committee sent more than 100 letters to Apollo-area businesses seeking donations.

“For some reason, not much has come in. The committee thinks it's the economy,” he said. “I know the economy is bad. I just wish more people would care.”

The committee also wanted to use the celebration next month to lay the framework for Apollo's bicentennial celebration in 2016.

“We'll have to work harder next year,” Mazzon said.

Apollo Mayor Jeff Held said he's optimistic about the committee's efforts for next year's event.

“It's a shame about this year, but times are hard and it's harder to get funds,” he said. “Hopefully, next year they'll get a better start and more people will jump on board.”

No other events to honor veterans are scheduled through the rest of the year, according to Held.

Mazzon said his grandfather, Charles Morgan, was chairman of a July 4th celebration that Mazzon remembers in his youth in the 1970s.

Mazzon's uncle, Howard Dale Morgan, then handled the duties for about 30 years.

“Then it was handed down to me,” Mazzon said.

Braden Ashe and Chuck Biedka are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Ashe can be reached at 724-226-4673 or bashe@tribweb.com. Biedka can be reached at 724-226-4711 or cbiedka@tribweb.com.

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