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Towson

As holiday nears, Towson fireworks show still needs funding and volunteers

A 20-minute fireworks display lighting up the skies is a tradition of celebrating America's birthday in Towson.

With less than two weeks to go until the big display, about $7,500 is needed to make sure Towson's annual July 4 fireworks at Loch Raven Technical Academy will go off this year, according to organizers.

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"People don't understand it's all privately financed, and it's all volunteers that put it together," organizer Jason Garber said. "People assume county government or the fire department puts it on, but that's not the case. "

The need is not new, Garber said.

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The Towson tradition was started by Luskin's, a discount appliance store that closed in the mid-1990s. After the closing, the former Loch Raven Business Association, Kiwanis Club of Loch Raven and Loch Raven Community Council all tried hosting but passed the event on to the Associates of Loch Raven Village.

All the groups cited difficulty in raising money for the roughly $10,000 production.

After more than 15 years, it was handed off again to the Greater Loch Raven Recreational Council and the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations in 2015. The groups put their first event on in 2016.

Garber, a past president of the Associates of Loch Raven Village tapped to head the group due to his past experience, said the event has struggled to raise money as long as he's been involved.

"If there was a year for me to not be involved it would be this year but here I am," Garber, whose wife is expecting twins in a month, said. "I don't want to see the event die. It's a great event for our country and our community."

Historically, neighboring community association donations play a large part in funding the event, but organizers also sell raffle tickets, where 50 percent of what's collected is given as prize money and the other half goes toward the fundraiser. Corporate sponsors close the gap and organizers struggle to retain them every year, Garber said.

"I would love to have next year's event paid for by the fall," Garber said. "It would be ideal if we were not still scrambling to raise money a month or two weeks before the event, but that's an experience I've never had because I've only had to scramble."

Towson's only fireworks display is shot off from the lower soccer field across from the Ravenwood Shopping Center at Pleasant Plains Road and Taylor Avenue, but Garber said a few thousand people gather to watch from neighborhoods all over Towson.

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GTCCA president Bryan Fischer said his group agreed to band together with the Greater Loch Raven Recreational Council in hosting the event.

"We felt this was an important asset for Towson," Fischer said. "This is something we do that fewer and fewer communities are able to do. We also felt that the Fourth of July fireworks are an excellent opportunity to showcase a part of Towson that people forget is in Towson."

In addition to funding, the group also needs volunteers to help work the event and clean up the following morning, Garber said. Sign up by sending an email to info@towsonfireworks.com.

Tax-deductible donations are accepted at towsonfireworks.com/donate and raffle tickets can be purchased at the Crackpot Restaurant in the Ravenwood Shopping Center, 8102 Loch Raven Blvd.

The fireworks display is scheduled for July 4 at dusk at the Loch Raven Technical Academy, 8101 LaSalle Road.




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