If you en­joy the Fourth of July fes­tiv­i­ties in Dun­dalk, you should thank a vol­un­teer

The Dundalk Eagle - - OPINION - By NI­COLE RODMAN nrod­man@ches­pub.com

I would like to start by of­fer­ing thanks and ad­mi­ra­tion to the Dun­dalk Her­itage As­so­ci­a­tion vol­un­teers, with­out whom none of the Dun­dalk July Fourth events would have been pos­si­ble .

A truly mas­sive un­der­tak­ing, Dun­dalk’s Fourth fes­tiv­i­ties are NOT planned or funded by Bal­ti­more County. The events are en­tirely planned and ex­e­cuted by vol­un­teers who do­nate their time, com­pletely un­paid, so that Dun­dalk can throw one of the best In­de­pen­dence Day par­ties in the na­tion.

Each year, the same com­plaints arise. Chief among them is the price of ad­mis­sion to the fair. Be­fore you com­plain, re­al­ize that the fair pro­ceeds fund not only the fair it­self, but the pa­rade and fire­works as well. And that ain’t cheap.

The fes­tiv­i­ties cost in ex­cess of $350,000 each year and costs for EV­ERY­THING con­tinue to rise. Think about it — rent­ing port-a-pot­tys, pay­ing the en­ter­tain­ment, it all adds up.

And then there is the pa­rade. The out-of-state bands are paid to ap­pear, in­clud­ing ac­com­mo­da­tions, since Dun­dalk is first pa­rade of the day in cen­tral Mary­land.

Don’t for­get the fire­works! Pur­chas­ing the fire­works and mount­ing the dis­play costs thou­sands upon thou­sands of dol­lars — fund­ing which is not pro­vided by the county.

So be­fore you com­plain, think. Did you vol­un­teer?

If not, con­sider lend­ing a hand next year.

From putting up fenc­ing to work­ing se­cu­rity and a thou­sand jobs in be­tween, vol­un­teers keep the fes­tiv­i­ties run­ning from start to fin­ish.

These vol­un­teers have fam­i­lies and day jobs as well. So if you en­joy the Fourth of July in Dun­dalk, please, thank a vol­un­teer.

*** Speak­ing of thanks, a spe­cial thank you to Mr. Jim Rut­ter, who do­nates his own time to co­or­di­nate a fan­tas­tic July 4 fire­works dis­play ev­ery year.

As a re­sult of a man­u­fac­tur­ers de­fect, the fuse on the fire­works broke. Yet, rather than can­cel the show, Jim and his crew man­u­ally lit the fire­works, stand­ing in the midst of burn­ing em­bers, sparks and ash to pro­vide a show for Dun­dalk to en­joy.

The mal­func­tion meant that the grand fi­nale did not go off as sched­uled, but this was due to a man­u­fac­tur­ers de­fect and was not the fault of Jim or his crew.

So, again, rather than com­plain and crit­i­cize, thank Jim and all of vol­un­teers who spend ALL YEAR plan­ning these events for our en­joy­ment.

Dun­dalk is not en­ti­tled to these fes­tiv­i­ties, and it is only through the tire­less ef­forts of these vol­un­teers that they oc­cur each year. Speak­ing of vol­un­teers, I would be re­miss if I did not give a shout out to the judges for this year’s pa­rade.

This year’s judges in­clude Cyn­thia Mingo, di­rec­tor of the Flem­ing Se­nior Cen­ter, and re­cently-re­tired long­time Dun­dalk High School teacher Tom Pless.

Other judges in­clude Marc Tsakiris, man­ager of the Boule­vard Diner; Dave Pa­tro, pres­i­dent of the North Point Vil­lage Civic As­so­ci­a­tion; and An­gel Ball, pres­i­dent of the Gray Manor-Northshire Civic As­so­ci­a­tion (among many other cred­its).

I would also like to rec­og­nize an­nounc­ers Jackie Cran­dell and Michael Andy as well as pa­rade spon­sors, in­clud­ing B&B Weld­ing, the Port of Bal­ti­more, M&T Bank, Weis Mar­kets, Ports Amer­ica Ch­e­sa­peake, Ch­e­sa­peake Bev­er­age Com­pany, Ch­e­saco Recre­ational Ve­hi­cles, Trade­point At­lantic, Sparrows Point Ter­mi­nal LLC, The Pepsi Cola Com­pany and Kac­zorowski Fu­neral Home P.A.

Opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the writer and do not rep­re­sent the opin­ion of The Dun­dalk Ea­gle or Adams Pub­lish­ing Group.

My (al­most) four-year-old daugh­ter, Ella, met Phineas T. Waggs (Jerry Brown) and his mon­key pal, Django, dur­ing this year’s fair.

PHO­TOS BY NI­COLE RODMAN

A thrilling sight for any red-blooded Dun­dalkian.

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