A long-running and popular fireworks display and community event sponsored by the Strinestown Community Fire Co. is coming to an end.
Unless another organization steps up and takes over the reins of the Northeastern Community Independence Day Celebration, the 10th annual event on Saturday, June 29, will be the last.
"Hopefully, there will be some other Northeastern organizations who will want to take over and sponsor the event," said Margaret Burg, secretary of the fire company.
Celebration attendees are enticed to buy crafts and foods, take a hayride and check out emergency vehicles. Activities for children include bounce houses.
Though it's organized and sponsored by the fire company, a number of other community groups within the Northeastern School District help put it on.
Problems: There are a number of problems plaguing the well-attended event that's held in Conewago Township, said Rick Fink, fire company president.
The 865 Locust Point Road location where the event has been held for a number of years can no longer be used and a new location would have to be found if it is to continue.
However, finding a tract of land that can handle a large crowd that numbers in the thousands has been fruitless, Fink said.
Though the event is held on a single day, it takes nearly a year to plan. Rob and Kathy Fogle, the couple who organize it, announced in August that this would be their last year at the helm of the event committee, Burg said.
"The company has asked other members to take it on, but (there have been) no takers. Rob and Kathy are a tough act to follow," Burg said. "Each year that they ran the event, the donations increased, the event got larger and the fireworks displays got bigger."
Stepping down: Ten years ago the fire company took over the fireworks display after its sponsor, the Northeastern Jaycees, folded, Fink said.
Rob Fogle said other commitments to the fire company and work are keeping him and his wife too busy to continue heading the event committee.
When the fire company took over the event, the midway ran about 200 feet. It's up to 600 feet now, and this year it'll feature nearly 30 vendors, Rob Fogle said.
He acknowledged that it takes a lot of work to plan the event but added it wouldn't have happened year after year if it weren't for the people who attended the event and businesses and people who donated time and money toward it.
If someone or a group were to come forward to take over, Rob Fogle said he'd be more than willing to lend ideas and knowledge about the celebration.
"We want to see it succeed," he said. "It's been a great 10 years."
On average, 3,000 people attend the event each year, Fink estimated.
"You don't realize how many people are there until the first firework goes off and you see all the people sitting on blankets," he said.
The Northeastern Community Independence Day Celebration won't go silently into the night. Fink said this year's fireworks display will be larger than ever.
Rob Fogle said he and his wife are still holding out hope that someone or an organization will come forward to put on the yearly tradition.
"We're cautiously optimistic someone will call to take it over," he said.
If you go:The 10th annual Northeastern Community Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks Spectacular will be held on Saturday, June 29, with a rain date of Sunday, June 30.
The event, held at 865 Locust Point Road, starts at 5 p.m. with a fireworks display at 9:45 p.m.
An enlarged midway will include several vendors with various carnival foods, games and bounce houses. There will also be hayrides, and emergency equipment will be on display.
The J C Fisher Band will provide live entertainment.
There is no admission charge; however, there is a $3 per car fee for parking.
Anyone or any organization willing to take over the Northeastern Community Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks Spectacular should call the Strinestown Community Fire Co. at (717) 266-1131.
- Reach Greg Gross at email@example.com.