Booster

Planning, fundraising in full force for Fourth

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Planning is in full swing for the 62nd edition of the Clintonville Fourth of July Celebration.

G. Scott Smith, president of the board for the nonprofit group that organizes the annual event, met last week with representatives from an array of city departments to make certain all the necessary permits and other details are well in hand.

The meeting went smoothly, Smith said.

Other aspects of planning for the major celebration, which organizers consider to be unique among Columbus neighborhoods, also are moving along nicely, he added.

"Fundraising is doing well so far," Smith said. "We still need the community to put their donations in that envelope."

ThisWeek Booster readers again this year will find donation envelopes for Clintonville Fourth of July Celebration Inc. within the paper's pages. The first envelope was distributed last week; another will be found in the June 19 edition. The organization hopes to raise $80,000.

As for the Independence Day event itself, Smith said he and the other volunteers plan to stay the course; it's not broken, so they see no point in fixing it.

"We're going to do pretty much the same," he said.

July 4 will begin with a community breakfast at Whetstone Park, followed by a bicycle and pet parade, both of which Smith said are growing in popularity. There once again will be a fishing tournament at the pond, with fireworks at dusk wrapping up the day.

"We really enjoy doing it," Smith said of the effort put forth each year by the board members. "We've all been there for a long time. Our volunteers are absolutely fantastic."

He mentioned specifically Boy Scout and church groups that participate in the celebration.

Fundraising to keep the event afloat can be frustrating from time to time, Smith said, and there were times in recent years during the recession that he feared the holiday tradition might not survive -- but everything seems to be on an even course for the moment, he said.

"Of course we're at the mercy of the weather," he said. "We've had some beautiful days. Last year was the heat and two years ago was the severe storm that did a lot of damage. We have never canceled. We've delayed the fireworks a couple of times. We're fully covered from the safety standpoint. There is a lot to deal with.

"Sometimes on the 5th we say we're not going to do it anymore, and then on the 6th we're back at it again."

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