The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 26, 2014

Donations keep Union County Fourth of July parade afloat

LEWISBURG — A $14,000 debt faced by organizers of the Union County Veterans 4th of July Parade has been erased as Valley businesses and organizations have stepped up donations for Saturday’s 20th annual march.

“It should be a good day for Americans,” said Graham Showalter, president emeritus of the parade.

There were concerns after last year’s event left the parade committee $14,000 in the red, which threatened the future of the march.

The parade should break even this year and it will be more community-oriented than ever, Showalter said.

Parade expenses cover a range of acts, Showalter said.

“Usually all musicians get paid,” he said. “It costs money for them to get there. It’s about $25,000 to pay the bands.”

Several Valley high school marching bands will be compensated and the B-25 that will fly overhead runs about $2,500. Other expenses include insurance, fireworks and administration.

“Thank goodness the public is willing to help us meet those costs,” Showalter said.

Clubs and organizations are not paid to march, while charities that appear in the parade are supported by sponsors.

Parade committee president Kevin Bittenbender stressed the significance of financial gifts to keep the parade going.

“We rely on community donations to run events for free,” he said.

Lewisburg’s American Legion donated $10,000; Pardoe’s Perky Peanuts contributed $10,000 worth of peanuts to be sold locally; and River Run Foods donated $25,000 worth of salsa that will be sold at locations including Lewisburg’s Country Cupboard and Mercado Burrito.

Weis Markets on Friday night will hold a block party at the store along Route 15, just north of Lewisburg. Beginning at 4 p.m., residents can get food — from cotton candy to hot dogs to pizza — and listen to local musician Nick Coyle. Weis Markets will donate $1,000 to the parade committee.

Shade Mountain Winery will provide samples of its wine and six brands of beer will also be available at the block party, which stops at 9 p.m. — when the fireworks begin.

“People can look forward to a more community-orientated parade,” Bittenbender said. He challenges Valley residents to volunteer and get involved with the parade committee, which meets once a month at the Buffalo Township Municipal Building.

“We try to mix it up each year and honor different people,” Showalter said.

This year’s parade will honor Gold Star families, which are immediate relatives of service members that lost their lives in the service.

“I don’t think they get enough recognition,” Bittenbender said. “They are very caring, loving people who support veterans.”

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