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FIREWORKS before Town Day: Residents step up
Arlington residents have come forward to pay for what the town decided it couldn't -- fireworks the night before Town Day.
Katie Garrett, whose online effort raised $9,000 in six days, was ecstatic.
"Our family moved to Arlington 17 years ago, and one of the first community activities that we attended was the Town Night fireworks and Town Day," she told YourArlington on Aug. 27, after the 196th contributor added $62, to reach the goal.
"We watched the fireworks from near the Boys and Girls Club and met many wonderful families who were in good spirits and enjoying themselves. It has been our annual family activity since."
Fireworks provider on calendar
For the town's part, Atlas PyroVision Entertainment Group, the Jaffrey, N.H., fireworks provider, is on the calendar for Friday, Sept. 14, wrote Jim Feeney, assistant town manager.
To help with costs beyond the fireworks, Feeney noted that the Town Day Committee and the own will pick up the balance of the costs, which he expects to be $5,000 to $6,000. The town works with police, fire and DPW on the event logistics and details.
Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine, while on vacation, responded, "This has really been a great community effort, and I’m happy that we’ve been able to partner."
The issue erupted on social media after the town reminded residents Aug. 9 that the Town Day Committee decided last fall not to have fireworks on Town Night in 2018, unless someone stepped up to pay for them, as YourArlington had reported at the time.
As of the Aug. 13 Select Board meeting, no one yet had. Then on Tuesday, Aug. 21, Garrett set up a gofundme page. Response was swift, and Garrett commented after contributors hit the $9,000 goal.
2 donors don't like fireworks
She noted "a couple of interesting stories that happened during the past six days. Multiple people left comments that they wanted to see the Town Night fireworks tradition continue and how important it was for them.
"There were two large donors who said that they don’t even like fireworks themselves, but it was important for them to see the community have a night together! It was very kind of them to support the community.
"Several local businesses also donated money. Many thank yous to everyone who donated and/or spread the word."
She also made general comments that reflect a giving spirit:
"The Town Night fireworks are among the few activities that are centered on family fun, seeing old friends and making new friends in an old-fashioned, personal way.
"It is about community and not about commerce.
"I love the memories my family has made at the fireworks and will hopefully continue to make. I have a friend who has said she loves that we, as a community, watch something together and then cheer together at the finale."
"There were a total of 196 people/families who supported the campaign, and 284 people shared the link on Facebook and countless more people told their friends about it. It filled my heart to see the community come together like that." -- Katie Garrett
Her further comments went beyond herself.
"There was actually a good-sized group of people behind the fund-raising effort, and we were all cheering as we approached the final total -- just like the actual fireworks!
"There were a total of 196 people/families who supported the campaign, and 284 people shared the link on Facebook and countless more people told their friends about it. It filled my heart to see the community come together like that ....
"We have friends and neighbors who have celebrated the fireworks for much longer, so we knew we were not the only ones who had enjoyed them over the years.
"We also see the large crowds of people around the pond each year who come to watch the fireworks. We suspected that others would also like to see the tradition continue.
"What we didn’t expect was for the fund-raiser to meet its $9,000 goal in just 6 days! The people in Arlington are very generous! Tradition is important, even in -- or perhaps especially in- our modern world. It is heartening to see that working together we can make a difference."
So go ahead and enjoy the show. And after it's done think about this: What happens next year?
These statements, which mix news and opinion, was published Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2018.
NOTE: Town Night fireworks photo by Nick Langadinos
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