Braintree residents are pulling together to help fund this year’s Fourth of July festivities, which will cost more than $80,000.
According to parade and ceremony organizers, the parade itself will cost an estimated $45,000-$77,000, with the subsequent celebration coming in at $30,000-$35,000.
In its 39th year, the festivities will be the biggest and most expensive by far, said celebration chairman and Braintree Town Councilor Sean Powers.
Taxpayers are expected to pick up about half of the total cost, and townspeople are pulling together to raise private donations for the celebration, which is the first to kick off Fourth of July festivities in the South Shore.
According to Powers, a fund-raising event at Southside Tavern last weekend raised over $1,000, a success for such a small event, Powers said.
Additionally, residents will find donation envelopes in their light bills this month, and the festival committee is designing a T-shirt that attendees can buy and wear.
“Basically what we’re trying to do is generate excitement and interest amongst the people and the businesses in town to step forward and contribute financially,” Powers said. “We’re encouraging folks to own a piece of the celebration by donating.”
Committee members have focused heavily on businesses as well, which can contribute to help sponsor the event.
Donations are also accepted online at http://www.braintrees4th.org/index.html.
John Robinson, chairman of the Parade Committee, also said his team is working to develop more fund-raising ideas in the last three weeks before the big event, which will be held on June 30 starting at 11:45 a.m.
“We have a few other things we’re pursuing, but hopefully we will get there. We won't have any problem raising the funds,” Robinson said.
Although organizers are optimistic about fund-raising efforts, already the town has contributed to the festivities.
The town made a $45,000 appropriation to the event, which included a $20,000 fund transfer from other budgets at Town Meeting on May 29.
“The parade cost more than they thought, and they made a request for additional funds,” said Peter Morin, chief of operations and staff, after the May 29 meeting. “It’s a hard cost to estimate based on bands and other entities.”
According to Morin, although expensive, it’s an important event for the town.
“It brings the town together,” he said. “The request was made and it was within our resources, no new funded needed to be found, no reserves…so we [granted it].”
When all is said and done, Mayor Joseph Sullivan said the town usually appropriates $50,000 for the festivities, which is an important aspect of community building.
"It’s a town-wanted celebration, its an element of civic pride," Sullivan said. "The fireworks themselves have always been a part of the program for many years. Early on there was the parade component, that was eliminated a few years back and we’ve restored that, and we’ve gotten great support from the private sector to match the public dollars.
"Everyone loves the parade, and we all feel good about not only celebrating America’s birthday, but making sure that Braintree is one of the finer, well-attended events on the South Shore. So it’s a good day to not only celebrate America’s birthplace but put out the welcome mat for Braintree."
Powers agreed that the event is worth the cost.
“I personally think it’s important to keep this a free, family event where folks can come and enjoy themselves and be patriotic,” Powers said. “At the same time, it’s almost much as a Fourth of July celebration as it is a celebration of Braintree. We have our public safety officials on hand and have a number of local groups that are active in the celebration.”
This year, in addition to the parade – which will feature several marching bands and drum corps, as well as Coast Guard, Navy, and Army Color Guard contingents – organizers are also planning to have rides, DJ entertainment, live performances, a Lighting of the Lake ceremony, and a raffle drawing.
At 10 p.m., the event will close with a gigantic aerial fireworks display.
Bill Hedlund will also be recognized for his 41 years of service to the community by hosting the parade as Grand Marshall.
Overall, it’s something the community looks forward to every year, Robinson said.
“I think it brings the community together. We get a lot of participation,” he said.