A pair of community organizations have joined hands this year to keep the annual Loch Raven July 4 fireworks tradition alive, but like others who have organized the annual event, the groups are in need of helping hands and generous donors to ensure the event succeeds and continues.
Until this year, the Associates of Loch Raven Village, a community group, coordinated the show. The display has capped off Independence Day celebrations in the Towson area for more than 50 years. Facing pressures of finances and limited resources, members of the ALRV voted to discontinue the group's sponsorship after last year's event. Picking where the ALRV left off, the Greater Loch Raven Recreational Council and the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations (GTCCA) are combining efforts to organize this year's display.
Although the ALRV is not sponsoring the event, the group's president, Jason Garber, is continuing to volunteer his efforts as an organizer. Garber said he wanted to help because he knows the display is something the community looks forward to.
"This is an event that typically attracts thousands of people," Garber said. "It's important for this to continue."
The biggest misconception in the community is that Baltimore County is responsible for funding the display, said Mike Ertel, president of the GTCCA.
"A lot of people just assume that it'll happen, and they don't really need to do anything," Ertel said. "Unfortunately, the world doesn't work that way."
Paying for the cost of the fireworks is always difficult because the event relies on private donations and corporate contributions, Garber said. The display costs about $11,000 a year to run. Organizers have collected about half that amount so far this year, and Garber is calling for more businesses to help meet the nearly $6,000 difference.
"We have one month to go, and we have a lot of work to do," he added,
Bucket brigades at the event will collect donations from people who attend the fireworks. While this effort helps, both councils are looking for sponsors who can contribute annually to the event, so that organizers can avoid scrambling for funding each year, Ertel said. In addition, organizers are seeking volunteers to help with the event. Garber said he is looking for people to help before the show, during the fireworks and with the cleanup afterward.
"In the end, we really need more of a response from people," Garber said. "This is not an easy event to put on with limited volunteers and limited funds."
Organizers say they are determined not to give up the effort to keep the Independence Day event alive, despite the challenges connected with it.
"I want to make sure that people 50 years from now will get a chance to see what we see," Garber said.
This year, people can become more involved with the display by following its Facebook page and new website towsonfireworks.com. Donations are accepted through the website's PayPal account, and are tax-deductible, Garber said. The fireworks display is scheduled for July 4 at dusk at the Loch Raven Technical Academy, at 8101 LaSalle Road.