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Fundraising for fireworks, fun gets bunting-based boost

Flag Ladies hope to spur show of support for community celebration

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Although some fundraising still has to be done, the fireworks and other aspects of a longstanding tradition in Clintonville are on relatively firm footing.

The Clintonville Fourth of July celebration, with events and activities for all ages from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 4, once again will be held at Whetstone Park.

Although $40,000 -- about half the total cost -- still is needed to pay for all that's planned, Clintonville Fourth of July Celebration Inc. board President G. Scott Smith expressed confidence last week that donors will step forward.

It helps, he said, that he's got the Flag Ladies on his side.

Mary Leavitt, owner of the Flag Lady Store on North High Street, and daughter Lori Watson, or "Flag Lady Jr." as her mother calls her, are helping to encourage more businesses to support the Fourth of July festivities, which have been going on for more than a half-century but have been on shaky financial ground in recent years.

The store is offering patriotic cotton bunting that other businesses can fly July 4 and on other occasions. One 18-by-36-inch piece of bunting is offered for $100, two for $150 and three for $200, with the money given to the nonprofit organization that puts on the celebration.

"Mom and I would like to help raise money from the corporate side, from all the businesses in Clintonville ... to help support the Clintonville fireworks," Watson said. "We are just hoping to take some pressure, frankly, off Scott Smith. Fundraising is just hard. It's a perfect event for us to get involved in."

"This is a deep-seated thing for me," Leavitt said last week. "I love Clintonville. I think it's absolutely a fantastic community and I think it just keeps getting more fantastic as things go along.

"This is home to me and the people are wonderful."

"The idea is to get the businesses to show their support by showing the bunting," Smith said. "That's a very nice thing they're doing.

"It's been tough the last four years ... but it's doing a little bit better this year."

Business owners interested in obtaining the bunting may send checks, payable to Clintonville July 4th, to Scott Smith, P.O. Box 141463, Columbus 43214.

"We'll take care of getting the bunting to them," Leavitt said. "We'll deliver it personally."

The 61st edition of the July 4 celebration will begin at 7:30 a.m. with the traditional community breakfast, along with a 5K run that was inaugurated in 2012.

"Last year was very successful," Smith said. "I think we'll have more runners this year."

"All of the support goes to the fireworks," said Addie Davis-Holsinger, who is heading the 5K this year.

The cost to participate is $30 in advance, $35 the day of the race. Participants will receive a T-shirt and a $5 voucher toward the community breakfast, Davis-Holsinger said.

Registration is available at speedysneakers.com or the event's own website, clintonvillefourthofjuly.com. Mail-in forms may be requested via email to addiedavis@remax. net.

Leavitt once again will preside over a flag-raising ceremony at 11 a.m.

Other events that day include a pet show, all-star youth baseball game, fishing derby with catfish and bluegill in the park's pond, and entertainment from 5 to 7 p.m. by the Songbirds and from 8 to 10 p.m. by Janet's Planet.

"So far, we've had nothing but great reviews," Davis-Holsinger said of the closing musical act for the past several years.

Fireworks are set to begin around 10 p.m.

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