Medford Celebrates and Medford Township have jointly announced plans to stage the township’s traditional Independence Cay Celebration and Fireworks Display. For the third straight year, Medford Celebrates, has advised the township that it has again solicited sufficient funds to enable the township to stage the event at no cost to the municipality or its taxpayers.
A large share of the costs of staging the event will be covered by a substantial donation from ShopRite of Medford, who will again serve as the presenting sponsor. “We are fortunate to have received donations of varying sizes by a number of local businesses and individuals, but ShopRite has really stepped up to help us out,” said Medford Celebrates president Bob Egan.
The 2014 Independence Day Celebration will be held in Freedom Park on July 3, weather permitting. The festivities will begin at 5 p.m., with the fireworks show beginning at approximately 9:15 p.m. Saturday, July 19 is the rain date. The evening will feature many activities that have marked the event in the past. YMCA Camp Ockanickon of Medford will sponsor and run a number of activities for children ages 2 to 12. The Magna Legal Services donation will fund the rental of a stage and sound system to enable Medford Celebrates to bring back local teen rock band, No Commitment, after playing to widespread popular acclaim during last year’s festivities. Students from the New Jersey School of Music and the School of Rock will also perform. In addition, radio station Z889 will be set up and broadcasting live from Freedom Park. Food, beverages and novelties will be sold by local vendors. For the first time, local companies will man tents and tables to meet the public and distribute literate about their businesses. Interested businesses may contact Maureen@medfordfitness.com for more information and to register.
Egan praised the efforts of the Medford Celebrates trustees, stating that “this dedicated group of volunteers who have worked tirelessly over the past year on a wide variety of tasks to solicit donations and plan the event.” But, he noted that it is not only getting harder to obtain the people needed to do the work, but fund raising is becoming more and more difficult. “This year, we have barely obtained enough pledges to fund the fireworks and pay our other operating expenses, like advertising, website, insurance and government non-profit fees. Without the major contributions from ShopRite of Medford, YMCA Camp Ockanickon and Magna Legal Services, we would not be able to stage the event this year, and we are in jeopardy of losing the ability to stage the event in the future, unless we find new sources of revenue.”
As a result, Medford Celebrates is making a major push to ask people who come to the fireworks to make a donation. Beth Portocalis, a Medford Celebrates board member and township staffer in the manager’s office explained, “Admission is technically free, but if every family would contribute even a dollar for each family member who comes to watch, we can help assure that Medford Celebrates can keep the fireworks going.”
“With approximately 25,000 to 35,000 people attending each year, a dollar a head would not cover all the costs but would give us a huge head start on next year,” Egan said. “We hope that people understand that Medford Township can no longer afford to stage these events and that they will die on the vine without public support.” Donations can be made in person on the day of the event or on the Medford Celebrates’ website at www.medfordcelebrates.org.
The Celebrates trustees ask anyone interested in serving as a trustee or assisting with events and activities to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Egan at (609) 519–0841.