Most towns in the area have several days to gear up for the Fourth of July. But in Wilmington, the festivities start today.
After nearly a year of planning, Wilmington’s five days of Independence Day fun kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday night as the carnival opens for business, the Rotary Club hosts a BBQ dinner and the horseshoe tournament and ladies walk get underway.
“We’ve been doing some final preparations, but I think we’re good to go,” said Fourth of July Committee chairman Scott Garrant. “This is Wilmington at its finest. It’s an opportunity for residents to get together and share in a great community spirit.”
Committee members take just one month out of the year off from planning the annual event. Garrant said once the Fourth is over, the volunteers take August off before they meet again in September to get to work for the next year.
Even though the planning committee doesn’t get the chance to see their own family during the five-day celebration, Garrant said it’s a sacrifice worth making.
“For me and for the committee, seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids on Town Common is the truly special part of the whole thing, and makes all of the work throughout the year worthwhile,” said Garrant. “It’s a bit of a whirlwind, but as corny as it sounds, it really is a labor of love.”
There are 14 members of the Fourth of July Committee and other volunteers on sub-committees during the festivities. Garrant spends countless hours meeting with departments in town to assure the week goes off without a hitch.
Town Manager Michael Caira praised the work of the residents who plan the event, and said the Fourth of July festivities are a source of pride for the town.
“It means a great deal to a great many people, and primarily it gives folks an opportunity to renew acquaintances and meet with folks they haven’t seen in a long time,” said Caira. “Especially on Family Day, you really see a little snapshot of Americana with the families gathered on Town Common enjoying the activities. That is really what it’s all about.”