Published in the June 23, 2016 edition

NORTH READING — Whether you prefer to call it Independence Day or the Fourth of July, the North Reading fireworks, family and food truck festival, on July 2 is a great way to celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

People around the world are familiar with The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, however, many local residents may not be aware of the rich history North Reading has with the Fourth of July. The North Reading Fourth of July Celebration dates back to the ‘70s. For many years, the town had a fireworks show thanks to the hard work of local residents. After a number of years without an event and missing the sense of community the event brought to the town, former resident Fred Chalmers organized a meeting. His “Bring Back the Fourth” committee raised funds that allowed the community to experience a great July Fourth celebration. With Fred’s passing, the committee continues the mission of keeping the fireworks alive in North Reading.

Keeping the fireworks show ongoing is no easy task. Raising money, through sponsorship and donations, in a tough economy, is arduous. Organizing a large-scale event has a variety of logistical problems. Getting the word out and generating excitement for the event is time consuming. In 2015, the committee started the first annual Food Truck Festival as a fundraiser for the Fourth of July event with overwhelming success.

This year, the committee is expanding upon the event with the return of fireworks and a goal of providing a more family friendly theme. “We wanted this event to be more about spending time together as a family”, according to Nancy Wolfe, chairperson of the Bring Back the Fourth Fireworks committee. “Time together today as a family can be difficult to find,” she points out.

All events on July 2

The day will get started with a field day on the front field of Ipswich River Park from 10 a.m. until noon. There will be fun events for kids of all ages. The park will reopen at 4:30 p.m. Parking will be available at the high school. Limited parking will be available in the dirt lot of Ipswich River Park for handicapped permitted guests. In addition to an increased number of Food Trucks, the event will host a Touch-a-Truck area. Kids Stuff Amusements, LLC will sponsor a dunk tank, face painters and crafters. A “Tot Spot” sponsored by Stork Ready will be designated to help keep the young toddlers and infants in a safe area away from larger kid activities. The committee will continue to add family friendly activities to make this event a great experience for all.

No party would be complete without music. Musical performances by Jack Rabbit Slims Band and Perfect Crime will appear in the gazebo. This great day will culminate with a spectacular fireworks display that North Reading has become accustomed to by North Reading’s Warren Pearce of American Thunder Fireworks.

The committee hopes that all residents and their children might enjoy a hometown fireworks family friendly celebration – right here in their own backyard. There is no admission charge for the event; however, since this event is funded by the efforts of the committee, donations are strongly encouraged.

Advance donations can be made to North Reading Fourth of July Committee: PO Box 653, North Reading MA 01864.

Vendors and crafters that wish to participate can visit the committee’s Facebook page to join in on the festivities: https://www.facebook.com/northreadingfundthe4th, e-mail: [email protected] or visit the website: https://www.northreadingfireworks.com.