Fourth of July Celebration is Back

By Walter Ruehlig

The Antioch 2012 Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks Planning Committee came to the City Council meeting on December 13th bearing both gifts and good news. The Committee presented the Mayor and Council members with t-shirts announcing “The Tradition Returns.”

Joy Motts and Martha Parsons, who have been beating the pavement tirelessly, also shared the good tidings that the Committee had received two corporate pledges and a foundation grant of a guaranteed minimum of five thousand dollars each, or fifteen thousand total, with a possible range of up to $25,000 coming from two of the sponsors.

The donors are in the midst of annual budgeting so won’t know the exact amount until March. We will temporarily keep their identity anonymous but traction for a full blown event now seems sure.

The Committee, which has been meeting monthly, is chaired by Louis Green, Allen Payton and Walter Ruehlig. Logistics is being handled by Tim Forrester and Wayne Harrison; corporate fund-raising by Joy Motts and Martha Parsons; citizen fund-raising by Jim and Earlene Lantier; Kids Zone activities by Jeff Warrenburg; food by Robin Agopian; note-taking by Carole Harrison; meeting venue by Connie Kumar of Ricks on Second; promotion by Al Mason and Kerry Motts.

The Committee has set a deadline of January 15th to raise, via corporate and foundation donations, half the 60K funding needed for a full-blown event and then kick-off a citizen donations campaign. More details will follow regarding needed community support.

T-shirt, Glo-sticks and youth-group run soft beverage sales the day of the event will generate additional money for future celebrations. The intention, though, is to be in the black before then. The fireworks bill runs 20K, barge 5K, police holiday coverage 16K, city set-up/clean-up 3K; with incidental costs of promotion, sound system, stages, etc.

The goal is to bring back this celebration, now privately funded, as Antioch’s preeminent, signature civic event. Plans are emerging for a classic car show, eating contest, ten food booths, multiple bands, kids zone, parade with Clydesdale horses, and a grand finale fireworks show.

Past events used to generate crowds of fifteen and twenty thousand. We hope to rebuild to, and then surpass, that figure and to put our city on the map as a premier family fun Fourth of July celebration.

If you have fundraising or event ideas to share, or perhaps an interest in joining the Steering Committee, contact Walter Ruehlig at (925) 756-7628 or walter.ruehlig

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