By Virginia Ross
East Palestine sells mascot statues to raise money for July 4 fireworks
EAST PALESTINE — It seems everyday could become a dog day in the city that’s now known as the place “Where you want to be.”
You’ll find a dog waiting to greet you at Huntington Bank. Soon, several other local businesses will have their own dogs on display.
As part of a citywide effort to raise money for the annual Independence Day fireworks program, the East Palestine Area Chamber of Commerce has initiated its Adopt a Bulldog program.
Essentially, area businesses are being encouraged to buy a fiberglass bulldog to help raise money for the fireworks display.
For years, the fireworks program drew folks throughout eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania to East Palestine every July. The program was cut from the city’s activities list a few years back because of funding problems.
Last year, however, the newly resurrected chamber of commerce raised enough money from community donations to put the fireworks display back on the map in July.
Chamber officials, realizing public donations can go only so far, borrowed an idea from Youngstown State University’s Parade of Penguins effort that involved selling penguin statues to the public. Those statues were decorated and placed in several locations around the Youngstown area.
“We thought something like this would be a great idea for our town, to show support for the city and at the same time promote local businesses,” said Dianna Elzer, a chamber of commerce director.
The chamber has 10 fiberglass bulldog statues left to sell. The statues, 3 feet long, 21‚Ñ2 feet tall and 2 feet wide, are in honor of the city school district’s mascot. Once a statue is purchased, owners have the option of decorating them themselves or enlisting the assistance of one of the artists the chamber has on hand.
The statues were made by Chimaera Sculpture & Display LLC and can be purchased for $1,500 each. The price includes a concrete base and decorating costs. Payment plans are available.
The company name of each business purchasing a bulldog will be displayed on the base of the statue. The dogs will have their day this summer during the city’s annual Fourth of July celebration during the Parade of Dogs when they will all be on display at the city park.
Also, the name of each statue owner and his or her business will be announced at the July 4 festivities. Afterward, the dogs will be turned over to their owners. Owners have the option of choosing where to display their dogs or having the chamber help them determine a display location in the city.
XTo obtain more information about purchasing a bulldog, e-mail the chamber of commerce at email@example.com.