By Evamarie Socha
The Daily Item
LEWISBURG — There will be a Fourth of July parade next year in Union County, officials confirmed Thursday, but for now, the parade committee is focused on finding a new administrative home for its operations.
Financially, the parade is sound, said Graham Showalter, who heads the parade committee, although there may be some juggling of bands that will appear. Bands are the parade’s largest expense, he said, running some $65,000.
The biggest issue facing the parade right now is administrative space, he said. The parade’s inner workings have been based for years in Showalter’s Lewisburg law office.
The committee would like to find a permanent office for the parade — in Union County, but not necessarily in Lewisburg borough — and then consider hiring a part-time office manager to oversee the operations.
Showalter said his staff needs a break from being parade planners as well as running a law office, both of which are full-time jobs. “It’s become overwhelming for this office to do that and the parade at the same time,” he said.
But “we want to make sure the parade continues,” he said, “because it has become such a fixture around here.”
Thomas Reimensnyder, also a member of the parade committee, said the consensus is the parade must go on to honor the region’s veterans and active military personnel, if for no other reason.
“That is so important, it’s important to us,” he said. “But we know how important it is to those vets.”
Planning the 2014 parade and associated events began almost immediately after the 2013 celebration ended. RiverWoods Senior Living Center already is on deck to provide the fireworks display near Wolfe Field, for instance.
What remains up in the air, however, is the cavalcade of bands, which “didn’t fare too well last time,” Showalter said. While the parade pretty much pays for itself, the cavalcade “you have to hope you make enough money on it to cover it,” he said. Sponsorship has fallen off as has some interest. This year, the U.S. Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps had to cancel because of the federal sequester, stalling a lot of ticket sales.
More decisions about the parade will come when the committee meets again in about two weeks, Showalter, said, but for now, these are positive steps forward. “We just have to be creative and find a place to transfer the administration of things to make sure it keeps going,” he said.