BY BRITTNEY HENTON
The village of Potomac may be a small town, but organizers plan to pack a big sparkling punch this Fourth of July.
This year’s fireworks show will be the biggest to date for Potomac, according to village clerk Shelly Cessna.
Cessna said the fireworks show will be 25 percent larger than in previous years. The fireworks pop off at dusk Saturday at the Potomac Grade School baseball diamond.
Cessna said Potomac’s show will be put on by Jamaica Pyrotechnics in Fairmount.
Todd Chew, co-owner of Jamaica Pyrotechnics, said many towns, organizations and businesses have solicited their services this year. Chew said the company has even had to turn down clients.
“We’re booked full as usual,” Chew said. He added they have seen a few increases in customers’ budgets.
“Nobody went backward, and nobody stopped doing them,” Chew said.
Although Chew says none of his clients have cut back, some private businesses have.
Turtle Run Golf and Banquet Center in Danville has had fireworks for 11 or 12 years in a row, co-owner Chris Heeren said. However, this year, the business will not offer its signature booming light show.
Heeren said the costs were just too high. He said because Turtle Run is a private business, it has to pay for the fireworks itself.
“With the cost and with the insurance, it’s a big risk,” he said.
Heeren doubts if the business will resume the firecrackers next year.
Turtle Run will still celebrate the Fourth this year. The center will offer food and sponsor a couple bands for free on July 3.
The show goes on
Potomac Mayor Bernie McCarty said the fruits of the village’s fundraising efforts are what have allowed the village to expand its fireworks presentation this year.
“The event would not be what it is without the fireworks,” McCarty said.
Cessna added many of the things that make Potomac’s celebration special are the festivities offered for children.
“Everyone who attends the celebration enjoys the family-friendly atmosphere,” McCarty said in an e-mail. “Most activities are free or have very little cost, which makes it great for families.”
Those organizing the family-oriented events behind the scenes are members of Potomac’s Village Board.
McCarty said village board members make the effort to make the celebration what it is in order to foster a sense of community. The celebration fosters community by joining Potomac’s groups, organizations and volunteers together.
Potomac has hosted its Fourth of July celebration since 2005. Cessna said Potomac’s celebration used to only be a one-day event. In recent years the village extended it to two days.
This year, Potomac’s Independence Day Celebration will take place both Friday and Saturday, with activities alternating between the grade school and Miller Curtis Park.
Many of the highlights take place on Saturday. After the parade at 9:30 a.m., free hot dogs and burgers will be served and free inflatable play/activities will be available for children. A free petting zoo will be available as well.
A “Cupcake War,” patterned after the Food Network show, will take place Saturday, too, followed by a performance by local rising star and country singer Taylor Wolfe later that night.
“They invited me to come celebrate the Fourth of July with Potomac and provide some entertainment for the town,” Wolfe said. “And I said ‘I’d be honored.’”
Wolfe, a Hoopeston resident, has had a busy summer, giving many local performances and competing in a couple competitions recently. Wolfe won WCIA Channel 3’s ci Sing-Off competition in May.
For her Potomac performance she plans to belt out songs from her favorite country singer, Miranda Lambert, as well as perform a few originals.
After Wolfe sings at 6 p.m. Saturday, residents will get ready to see the fireworks light the sky at dusk. Then a party will conclude the activities Saturday after the fireworks show.
McCarty said when the village expanded its celebration it did so to give back to the community.
“The community comes together at this time of the year to celebrate our nation, show our patriotism and enjoy this community event,” McCarty said.
5:30 p.m. — Bags tournament registration. The first 32 teams to sign up will be entered into the tourney. Those wishing to sign up should call Luke Esteppe at 497-1079.
6 p.m.-midnight — Beer tent open
6:30 p.m. — Bags tournament begins
Throughout the day, vendors will provide lemon shake-ups and curly fries. Also, 50/50 raffle tickets will be available in the community building and immediately before the fireworks. Proceeds go toward the fireworks show in 2014.
9:30 a.m. — Parade registration
11 a.m. — Parade begins at Potomac Grade School and will follow U.S. Route 136 through town and end at Millie Curtis Park; Parade entry forms are available by calling the village office at 987-6900 or by stopping by the Casey’s General Store in Potomac.
11 a.m.-1 p.m. — Community Cookout: village board members will grill hot dogs and hamburgers and serve them to the public at the community building, 310 W. State St.; freewill donations accepted.
11 a.m.-6 p.m. — Children’s activities: bounce house, obstacle course, petting zoo.
1 p.m. — Bags tournament in the beer tent. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. The first 32 teams to sign up will be entered.
1 p.m. — Cupcake War in the community building. There is no fee to participate. Entrants should bring 12 cupcakes of the same kind. Ribbons will be awarded.
2 p.m. — Bingo for prizes, sponsored by the Potomac High School cheerleaders, in the community building.
3 p.m. — Volunteer of the Year ceremony; the Potomac Community Foundation will honor a community member for his or her service.
4:30-7 p.m. — Fish fry dinner will be served by the Harry F. Carpenter American Legion Post 428
6 p.m. — Euchre tournament hosted by Paul Rutan will take place in the community building.
6-7:30 p.m. — Hoopeston resident Taylor Wolfe will perform.
Dusk — Fireworks begin on the Potomac Grade School baseball diamond. The 50/50 raffle winners will be announced.
Immediately following the fireworks Potomac DJ Keith Eyre will play music until midnight.