by Lisa Tome
There will be no free ride to the North East fireworks this year.
While the Cecil County Salute to Veterans is bringing back the fireworks and the Vets celebration, they are not reviving the shuttle buses to take people to the event.
Instead, attendees may pay to park, $5 per vehicle, at one of the lots owned by North East Fire Company.
Gene Daley, president of Salute to Cecil County Veterans, Inc., talked about the event, which is set for July 3 in the North East Town Park, last week.
"Parking will be precarious. The North East Volunteer Fire Company will open lots. And the North East Elementary PTO is working on parking. We will have handicapped parking in the park but it will be limited with placard or sticker," said Daley.
The gates open at 5 p.m. Area veterans organizations will serve as food vendors. There will be hot dogs, burgers, cotton candy, and more. Specialty vendors, such as Kona Ice, will also set up shop.
"It's coming together fantastically," said Daley.
There will be entertainment - pony rides, a vehicle display provided by the Army National Guard, and an informational display from the Cecil County Vet Center. The North East Rotary Club will provide a 100 flags exhibit. The Order of the Purple Heart will host rubber duck races in the park. Local band Southern Drawl is expected to draw a crowd when they perform from 5-7:30 p.m. The Upper Bay Museum and the Chesapeake Boat Builders School will be open. Non profit groups such as Steps Recovery Resources, Friends of the Library, and others will also have displays and information.
The motivation behind the entire event begins at 8 p.m. with the Cecil County Salute to Veterans. There will be a flag raising, community Pledge of Allegiance, an an Honor Guard Salute provided by the 29th Infantry. There will also be speakers. Students, representing North East, Elkton, and Bo Manor high schools will combine to play patriotic instrumental music.
Between 9-9:15 p.m., the fireworks will begin.
Daley explained how that was funded. "It was individual donors with $10 to businesses who gave $5,000. The vets organizations chipped in a significant amount. The Town of North East and chambers helped. We are close to meeting the goal of raising the money (for the fireworks). We will have a donation box set out," said Daley.
"It's been going well but it's been a lot of work. People have been coming together to help with our goal," said Daley.