TORONTO - The city's annual fireworks extravaganza on July 7 will include celebrating the country's birthday through songs, speech and a big bang.
The display at the city high school's Clarke Hinkle Field, sponsored by the Toronto Fourth of July Committee, will begin with a concert at 8 p.m. featuring the Community Band, the Word of Life Singers with the Vince Villanova Big Band and veteran guests.
The theme for the Red, Knight and Blue pre-fireworks celebration is "America - Let's Dream Again," and the fireworks, set to begin at 10 p.m., once again will be second to none, according to organizer R.J. Stewart.
"We've always been patriotic in Toronto," said Stewart, adding the fireworks show is called "In God We Still Trust." "It's going to be the biggest show Toronto has had so far."
Funds for the show are raised through contributions from organizations, businesses and individuals, said Stewart. He added those wishing to donate can send checks made out to the Toronto Fourth of July Committee and mail to P.O. Box 295, Toronto, OH 43964.
"We're about $4,000 short," said Stewart. "I think some of that has to do with the stadium not being finished. We do have a plan B. We have no worries. The show will go on.
"(Donations) are the only way we're able to have this show," he continued. "Toronto people are great about supporting different activities in the community."
Stewart also said city school district officials have been optimistic the bleacher portion of the city high school stadium will be completed in time. He added crews from Pyrotecnico are ready for the show.
"I'm always the shooter," Stewart said, adding he gets assistance from former Toronto resident and longtime fireworks organizer Bob Neal. "I design the show and the whole nine yards. It's going to be 20 minutes, and it's going to be super-awesome."
The Rev. Gary Hallberg, pastor of the Word of Life Fellowship and choir director, said the pre-fireworks show will be one of the best ever.
"Basically our segment of the preshow is titled 'America - Let's Dream Again,'" he said, adding the show will include popular, patriotic and gospel songs. "It speaks to the optimism we should have for the future. The (Vince Villanova) big band will accompany us, adding the show. Our investment in this is live music. We feel honored the big band is willing to do this."
Stewart also said Boy Scout Troop 41 will help with cleanup this year. He added more volunteers are needed to assist with all the activities. To donate or volunteer, call (740) 632-1926.
(Miller can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)