Funding for July 1 fireworks sought

Duane Hicks

With July 1 less than two months away now, the local Canada Day Celebrations Committee is asking the town for a little help, including $10,000 plus tax in bridge funding to help pay for fireworks.
“We understand that the town may be eligible for an HST rebate, which would be considerable savings, if the invoice is paid directly by the town, as opposed to the committee paying and then getting reimbursed by the town,” committee chair Teresa Hazel told council at Monday night’s meeting.
“We will commit to re-paying the entire amount, or whatever amount is deemed reasonable by you, over the next three-five years. . . .
“We will do this again by seeking new funding through grant opportunities, partnerships, sponsorships, donations, and fundraising activities,” she explained.
The committee already has put out requests for community sponsors, and has gotten some response from individuals and businesses, including community-minded residents Ike and Olive Eisenhauser.
The committee also is requesting in-kind support from Public Works, such as barricades for the streets during the parade, sand to create a second volleyball court at Pither’s Point, tilling of the existing court, barricades at the fireworks site, sand and gravel at the fireworks site, and use of a Bobcat and attachment to help set up the fireworks site and clean it up afterwards.
It also is seeking picnic tables and garbage cans at Pither’s Point, as well as tables, chairs, the popcorn maker, and the stage from the arena.
Hazel said the committee feels thousands of residents will enjoy some or all of the activities organized on July 1, whether it’s the parade, activities at Pither’s Point, and/or the fireworks display.
“We believe there is considerable value in your investment—that is shown in the faces of the children and the pride felt by our citizens for our town and our nation,” she remarked.
Last year, the committee received $5,000 from the town, with an additional Local Initiatives Grant from the Rainy River Future Development Corp. in the amount of $5,000, for a total contribution of $10,000, as well as in-kind support for the parade, fireworks, and other activities at Pither’s Point.
Hazel said this year’s Canada Day celebration is shaping up to be a fun event. Besides the parade and fireworks, there also will be a 50/50 Bingo, live music by the Nighthawks, beach volleyball, children’s activities (castle bouncers, races, sand castles, etc.), and more.
More food booths are welcome, she added.
Meanwhile, anyone wanting to get involved in the Canada Day planning can attend the committee’s meetings, which are held every second Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the ’52 Canadians Arena boardroom on the main floor of the Memorial Sports Centre.
The next one is scheduled for May 17.
“I just wanted to thank you for stepping up to the plate to organize this thing,” said Coun. Andrew Hallikas.
“It’s really important, as Canadians, that we celebrate our identity on Canada Day.
“And I think it’s a really important event in terms of bringing our community together,” he added. “I love your enthusiasm, I love the theme [‘Sing, Dance and March to the Music’].
“I really like all the ideas that you’ve come up with, and having worked with you before on projects, I know that when you’re on a project, it’s going to be a great success,” Coun. Hallikas lauded.
Council referred the requests to the Administration and Finance executive committee for its recommendation, with input from other executive committees regarding the in-kind requests.
Tug-of-war update
Hazel, who chairs the International Tug of War committee on this side of the border, as well, also gave an update on that event which will be taking place July 2.
She noted one of the new rules this year is everyone tugging must wear gloves, and the committee is looking for sponsors to put their name on the gloves.
The committee will need about 140 pairs of gloves for all of the “tuggers” expected to take part in the showdown of strength.
There will be two pulls—an exhibition pull featuring local politicians and other guests, then a community one featuring 35 local men and 15 women per side.
Hazel noted guest “tuggers” still are being determined, but it has been confirmed that former Minnesota Vikings’ linebacker Matt Blair will be team captain for International Falls.
She added the Fort Frances side wants anyone out there who has any connections to any big-name athletes to contact organizers, saying she is hopeful local “strongman” Luke Skaarup will participate.
The Canada Day Celebrations Committee will be holding a fundraiser barbecue in conjunction with the tug-of-war.
Coun. Rick Wiedenhoeft, who is council’s representative on the International Tug of War committee, said the event will be a friendly competition.
“We must get the trophy back again,” he pledged, referring to the fact International Falls won the tug-of-war last summer.
Coun. Wiedenhoeft will deliver the trophy to the Falls’ council next Monday, so they can deliver it back to this side of the border after July 2.
Anyone wanting to get involved in the tug-of-war planning can attend the committee’s meetings.
These are held every two weeks, with the next one slated for Tuesday, May 17 at 4 p.m. in the ’52 Canadians Arena boardroom.