By TIM CLEVELAND
With the fireworks celebration being hosted at Austintown Township Park on July 3, things were in the final push to get the funding needed and everything set up.
Austintown Generational Enrichment Corp. is the organization putting the event together, which will be from 4-10:30 p.m. on July 3. The group had a meeting June 12 at Austintown Township Hall to keep everyone up to date on how the event was coming together.
Mark Cole and Austintown Township Trustee Jim Davis were the main organizers of the event and headed the meeting.
“Just bring it back to Austintown, is the whole theme,” Cole said. “We have so many events from the kid events, to cornhole, to three bands playing to food. It’s going to be a fun day with dunk tanks and Austintown Bounce is donating a few things for us. We’re going to have the fire trucks, the huge police military trucks, the K-9 unit’s coming out. It’s a way to have fun all night long and celebrate Austintown with the fireworks.”
The three bands that will be playing are Edison’s Medicine from 4-5:30 p.m., Perfect Pair from 5:45-7:15 p.m. and Vegas from 7:30-9:30 p.m.
“It’s just something that we haven’t had for seven years,” Cole said as to why the event has been brought back. “It just went away and nobody was doing it. We thought it’s time to bring it back to celebrate. Last year we had our first time. It was awesome except for Mother Nature. She dampened the evening a little bit but we had them (the fireworks) go off. They were still thousands of people through the park and Emmanuel Church. If the weather cooperates, we’ll probably have 10,000 people easy.”
Cole said that putting everything together doesn’t come cheap.
“The cost is at least $25,000,” he said. “[Briarfield Health Care owner] Ed Reece donated $10,000 again [like last year]. We’re selling ads in the paper. There’s different areas of sponsorship. There’s the $350s, the $500s, $150, $100, but we’ll take $10 and send them a thank-you letter from Austintown Generational Enrichment Corp.”
Cole said that as of the June 12 meeting nearly $20,000 had been raised, including $5,000 carrying over from last year’s event. Last year, the organization spent $15,000 for a 15-minute fireworks show and hoped to put $18,000 toward a 22-23 minute show this year.
“We’ve got carryover from last year but we’ve got to get it up and get carryover for next year. Everybody works as a team and that’s how we pull everything off.”
George Meleski is the owner of 20/9 Amateur Radio Club. His organization donated $100 both last year and this year and will be providing radio communications help to the police and firefighters working the event.
“We mainly help with the traffic control,” he said. “We use amateur radio to communicate. We donate our time. We like helping the community. Obviously they can’t have a lot of officers on that property the same time while also watching the township. We try to help out as we can.”
Cole said Davis has done what he needs to do as far as parking and logistics during the show.
“Jimmy already got the roads blocked off,” he said. “He has all the police and the county engineering department working on everything so we can filter people into the park and get them out of the park after. A lot of preparation goes into it and that’s why we’re here tonight, to just discuss how we’re getting the sponsors and everything else.”