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Almost there


Community steps up to fund July 4 festival



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Dr. Tim O'Neill along with his wife Gretchen, and their daughter paint their portion of the sign at Clintonwood Park. (click for larger version)
April 27, 2011 - After raising $13,400, Independence Township's July 4 Festival of Fun and fireworks is almost fully funded.

"With the generous matching contribution from Clarkston Community Church, we are $2,400 shy from our goal ($25,000) as of today," said Kelly Hyer, Independence Township Parks and Recreation supervisor and event organizer, Monday morning.

Clarkston Community Church issued a community challenge in February, pledging $10,000 in matching donations.

"Clarkston Medical Group was the first business to accept the Community Challenge," Hyer said. "Since then, Parks and Recreation has had a great response from area business owners and citizens."

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Along with CMG's $1,000 donation, Graphic Wizard printed "Save Independence Township Fireworks" T-shirts, selling them for $10 each with $8 per shirt donated to the celebration. Donations also include $6,000 from Smith's Disposal, $500 from ATD Solutions, and $100 from Lifepointe Chiropractors.

"We go to it every year, so we were disappointed they might not have it," said Carol Evans, owner of Smith's. "We're always there to donate and help. Our customers and the community have been fantastic to us and that's our way of saying 'thank you.'"

Donations and sponsors are still being accepted.

"This event reaches a large crowd – over 12,000 people. Becoming a sponsor at this event really shows your community pride to local residents plus sponsorship reaches out to people you may have not connected with otherwise," said Ken Elwert, director of Independence Township Parks and Recreation. "As government resources dwindle, community sponsorships and partnerships are crucial to make events like this work."

Hyer said they've already contacted many previous venders and started booking entertainment.

"We have Canine Companion Rescue Center coming back for their annual dog adoption, as well as the K-9 Toss and Fetch Frisbee competition," she said. "They are a festival favorite."

The festival will include an arts and crafts show, food vendors, kids games including fun inflatables, and live music.

"The festival will close with a fantastic display of fireworks from the world famous Zambelli," Hyer said. " Zambelli has put on the fireworks for Clarkston since 1998 and keeps the crowd coming back."

New to the festival this year is a Veterans' Celebration, organized by the senior center.

"We will be celebrating our military and veterans on July Fourth during the day long celebration, with a presentation and ceremony," says Barbara Rollin, senior center coordinator. "All military and veterans are invited to join us for a fun afternoon."

There will be military vehicles on display, information from area military services and a military museum with veterans' war memorabilia in the Carriage House. All veterans and vehicle owners are invited to participate – call 248-625-8231.

Festivities are set for Monday, July 4, Clintonwood Park, 6000 Clarkston Road. Clarkston Community Church also hosts festivities. For more information or to donate, call 248-625-8223 or check www.itpr.org.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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