Apollo looks for more volunteers, donations for 200th birthday celebration

| Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, 7:20 a.m.

A committee formed to organize Apollo's bicentennial celebration in 2016 is seeking donations and volunteers.

About 30 community leaders, business owners and organizers have joined the committee tasked with planning and raising money for Apollo's yearlong celebration of its 200th birthday.

Even with nearly 17 months left until the ball drops for 2016, the group is meeting monthly to determine what the celebration will entail. If it's to be a success, according to mayor and committee member Jeff Held, the committee will need as much support from the residents of Apollo and surrounding communities as they can afford.

“We're going to need all the help we can get to make it the best celebration possible,” he said. “I believe the budget for our 175th anniversary was close to $80,000. We're scaling everything back for the bicentennial. It would be nice to get close to that, though.”

The celebration will include various celebrations throughout 2016. The high point will be a festival from July 1 through 10.

Committee Chairman William Kerr said it's too early in the planning stages to know for sure what events the bicentennial celebration will feature. Among the things that have been discussed are parades, historical reenactments and the launch of a commemorative book dedicated to Apollo's history.

Official fundraising efforts will begin “sometime in the near future,” Held said.

The group will work with various organizations and churches to raise money and recruit volunteers. Members also will set up stands at local events where people can donate.

The committee is seeking corporate sponsorships.

Fundraising efforts will coincide with, rather than compete against, other borough events such as the annual Apollo Moon Landing celebration, Held said. In addition to collecting donations, volunteers will sell clothing, commemorative memorabilia and decorative bunting.

The committee first started meeting in January at the Apollo Area Historical Society building. As their numbers grew, they moved to the First Evangelical Lutheran Church of Apollo along North Pennsylvania Avenue, where they meet the first Wednesday of every month.

Represented in the Apollo Bicentennial Committee is the Apollo-Ridge School District through Superintendent Matt Curci and Christine Kostiuk, director of the Apollo-Ridge Education Foundation.

Curci, an Apollo native, said getting the school district involved affords Apollo-Ridge students an opportunity to learn the area's history firsthand and develop positive relationships in their community.

“We're going to try and find as many opportunities as we can to get the kids to participate,” he said. “We'll see how it plays out. But it's a great event — a great milestone — and we're proud to be a part of it.”

Apollo-Ridge held a high school art contest in May to produce the celebration's official logo. Freshman Jared Primm's image was chosen, according to Held, since it best embodied the spirit and history of the borough with elements of the steel industry, the Kiski River and the railroad tracks.

The image will be touched up by a professional artist before it's used as the official logo for the bicentennial.

While 2016 is still more than a year away, Kerr said, he encourages people to begin volunteering “as soon as possible.”

“We accept anyone, whether you're a resident of Apollo or not,” he said. “Everyone is welcome and encouraged to sign on and participate. It's not a lot of work and it's a great opportunity to partake in a unique celebration of Apollo's rich history.”

Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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