What is the Fourth of July without fireworks?
According to Steve Norman, of the Surry Sunrise Rotary Club, that’s what Rotarians from his club and the Mount Airy Rotary Club asked nearly a decade ago when Mount Airy was about to go without an Independence Day fireworks display.
“Several years ago the city did away with its display,” explained Norman. “They didn’t budget it.”
Norman said the two Rotary Clubs got together and decided they weren’t going to let the community celebrate the Fourth without fireworks.
“It’s a joint effort between our two clubs,” noted Norman, who explained that the two clubs split the $10,000 cost associated with Tuesday evening’s event at Veterans Memorial Park.
Though the fireworks headlined the night, the evening also included a performance by The Delaneous Band, a group from the Winston-Salem area.
Thousands assembled on the lawn at the park to hear the band, play with sparklers, toss a football around and kick back in the hours preceding the pyrotechnics display.
There were two primary places from which onlookers could view the display — the parking lot at Mount Airy High School and Veterans Park — and Rotarians were at both locations collecting money.
“We don’t charge admission, but we do ask for donations,” said Norman.
Norman noted those donations are forwarded to a Veterans in Distress Fund, which is used by local veterans groups to help fellow veterans who have an immediate financial crisis, such as a power bill which needs paying or groceries for their family. A portion of the donation is also handed over to local food banks.
According to Norman, every year, the clubs collect between $2,500 and $3,000 to help those organizations.
Thus, Norman said the clubs are able to better the community in two ways — by offering an explosive cap to Independence Day for the community and by helping those charities with their missions.
Though the prime locations to view the fireworks are at the park and the school, Norman noted the fireworks benefit a lot of folks, as they can be seen from a number of areas in town.
“People are good about making donations,” added Norman. “We are able to do a lot of good in the community with this event.”
Shortly after the sun fell below the horizon, the community got its treat, courtesy of the two clubs. The display lasted about half an hour, marking the end to Mount Airy’s Independence Day celebrations.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.