It may still be winter, with snow headed toward our area, but fundraising efforts for Lawrence Township’s annual Independence Day celebration are well underway and will ramp-up in the coming months, according to Recreation Superintendent Steve Groeger.
This year, the township’s traditional concert and fireworks display will be held on the Rider University campus on Friday, July 5, with the following day set aside as the rain date, he said.
There’s about $11,000 in the fund so far thanks, in part, to the sale of glow sticks and donations collected during last year’s fireworks show; the entry fees paid by participants in the annual Red, White and Bang Kids Triathlon on Labor Day; and the donations by Mayor Jim Kownacki of the $100 fee normally paid to him as mayor for each wedding ceremony he performs.
Groeger is hoping to raise about $30,000 for this year’s event.
If that amount is collected, he said, the township will be able to put on a larger fireworks display, with more shells, than in years past and still have money left over to kick-start the fundraising effort for July 4th 2014.
In additional to buying the shells, the donations collected by the recreation department pay for the concert that precedes the fireworks, as well as the township fire official who supervises the lighting of the pyrotechnics and the police officers who provide crowd and traffic control.
Groeger said the recreation department is exploring a number of possibilities to reduce costs, such as having Rider University provide the pre-fireworks concert.
Independence Day fireworks have been a Lawrence Township tradition for the past 30 years or so. In 2010, the fireworks show was cancelled when funding was cut to help balance the municipal budget. Realizing that municipal funding was not going to be available for the fireworks again in 2011 either, the recreation department started a fundraising campaign.
Thanks to those efforts, the township’s Independence Day celebrations in 2011 and 2012 were funded entirely by donations.
Donations for the fireworks can be delivered in person to the recreation department in the municipal building or mailed to the recreation department at 2207 Lawrence Rd., Lawrence Township, N.J. 08648.
Checks should be made payable to Lawrence Township, with “Fireworks” noted in the check memo field.
Anyone with questions or suggestions is urged to call the recreation department at (609) 844-7067.