Selissen: No Fireworks In Tewksbury This July 4

President of the Friends of the Patriotic Activities Committee says fundraising and donations are way down this year.

Jerry Selissen, president of the Friends of the Patriotic Activities Committee, announced on Friday that there would be no fireworks display in Tewksbury on the Fourth of July.

"The money's just not there," said Selissen, who said the group's board voted not to fund the fireworks at their meeting Thursday, March 8. "We're down about $16,000 this year."

The FOTPAC is a non-profit group, which has raised money to fund the , and the

Selissen said corporate and individual contributions have both dropped significantly and the recent "Big Bang Bash" only brought in around $2,000.

Selissen said the group would continue to fund the Memorial Day Parade and Veterans Day celebration.

"We're absolutely committed to those events," he said. "The botom line is we just haven't been able to generate the revenue and something had to give."

The FOTPAC has funded the events through private donations and fundraisers for the past five years. They took over that effort after the Patriotic Activities Committee had its funding from the town eliminated.

Who Me? March 10, 2012 at 02:16 PM
Not one name has been mentioned in my posts so please don't assume anything. My family has been here in Tewksbury since the mid-late 1800, welcome to the "Town" And yes, fireworks as well as water, were paid for with property taxes. Doesn't matter what gas costs today, it's how and where the tax money is being spent.
Who Me? March 10, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Hopefully in 10 years from now when Tewksbury is filing for bankruptcy we can all look back on these posts and realize how clueless we were. A question on Hair Salons generates more responses than the financial instability of the Town is quite the metaphor for the mess we are in.
TewkResident March 10, 2012 at 02:38 PM
If everyone in town were to give $1.00. Just $1.00 we could fund the fireworks for our community.
Robert Hayes March 10, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Wilmington will be having their fireworks & carnival this summer. The first step in the construction of the new high school -- the demolition of the existing gymnasium -- has been purposely scheduled for the week of July 8.
Kathleen Brothers March 10, 2012 at 02:44 PM
I agree with you 100%. Is there anyway this can be done, Maureen? $1.00 per person.
denise March 10, 2012 at 02:46 PM
That is too bad, i know the people on this committee work really hard to have the fireworks happen everyyear, and every year my family LOVES THEM! Could local businesses put cans on the counter, and see if the town, with a couple of bucks each could do something?
jo March 10, 2012 at 05:23 PM
I laud Jerry for his leadership and unselfish giving of his time. I feel that Doug Sears(Lowell Sun 3/10/2012) has been out of line with his insuations as is Who me? Even though I do not agree on issues with Mr. Sears I give him credit for serving the town in the capacity of school committee and board of selectman. It is a shame that there will be no fireworks, but municipal funding has to be prioritized.
Douglas Sears March 10, 2012 at 08:20 PM
"The FOTPAC has funded the events through private donations and fundraisers for the past five years. They took over that effort after the Patriotic Activities Committee had its funding from the town eliminated." Wrong. FOTPAC is a private charity (IRS 501 c 3 organization). The town NEVER has funded this private charity. Why? Because if our taxes did, why not fund every private charity in town? This would be inequitable and improper. What we did do was cut funding for the fireworks and parade through our taxes. Seriously, in this economy, why pay firefighters overtime to set off fireworks when we can't keep the South Station Fire open? My position -- our keeping the station open is a priority for our taxes and for the citizens who pay them. Town taxes go to fund public safety and DPW jobs -- these services are essential services. It is improper to take money from public services to pay expenses of a private charity. To his credit, Jerry stepped up. Said he'd handle raising private funds to keep the fireworks. This worked for a while. Citizens' discretionary funds dried up It's nobody's fault. [Heck, the high school athletic complex raised $14K. FOTPAC raised $10K more than this amount this year! Go FOTPAC!] Maybe FOTPAC should have saved the 20 minutes worth of fireworks inventory they shot off Feb. 17th for July 4th. But who knew?
Maureen Castiglione March 11, 2012 at 12:13 AM
The Big Bang Bash fireworks were paid for by a private individual and I believe cost $800. The fireworks on the 4th of July cost between $11,000 and $14,000. You would have known that if you had asked, rather than making snide remarks which imply the committee is mismanaging it's money. Incidentally, as a 501(c)3, our books are public record, so you can make a request to see our financials anytime.
Douglas Sears March 11, 2012 at 03:00 AM
"Selissen said. The July Fourth festivities cost about $17,000. About $12,000 to $13,000 is for the fireworks display, and about $3,000 goes to police, fire and Department of Public Works details, and $1,000 pays for associated activities, such as its pie-eating contest, doll-carriage decorating contest, and other games." Lowell SUN: My point is that was a great show for $800 at the Big Bang. Why spend 15 to 20 times that as Jerry states in today's SUN? Scale it down. Do it within a reduced budget. That should work ? Get the biggest bang for the available buck? This isn't "snide," it is a suggestion that the charitable organization use its donor's money sensibly. If it can do a great show on a supporter's $800, why can't it put on a display that is five times as great for $4,000 -- not $11,000 to $14,000? Do what the people can support and no one will be disappointed. And more may support the organization in the long run.
Maureen Castiglione March 11, 2012 at 03:39 AM
It is simple supply and demand. Fireworks on the 4th of July cost insane amounts of money because *everyone* wants fireworks on the 4th (or around the 4th). It's not a matter of scaling back, because even if we scale back, we will spend our entire budget, or darn near all of it, which will leave no money for Veteran's Day or Memorial Day 2013. I am heartsick over this. I have spent 4 years as a volunteer and am not willing to "throw in the towel." If I had the money in my bank account, I would donate it myself so we could have fireworks on the 4th of July. But I don't, so I will continue to work for a fantastic Memorial Day and hope that some miracle happens and we are able to have 4th of July in the town.
Douglas Sears March 11, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Perhaps the organization could buy the fireworks now when prices are advantageous and have the vendor store them until closer to the event?
denise March 12, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Good Point Maureen...cant get a fireworks display on the 4th for $800/bucks! It is sad...but so goes the world...money is tight for everyone...we have always enjoyed the Memorial Day Parade..and will again this year! We all thank the voluteers that do the best they can!!!
jj March 12, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Let's put Selissen in charge of the fireworks and maybe he will produce the same results, if not better. Hahaha
Alex Ro March 12, 2012 at 02:24 PM
I and others have contacted Selissen with ideas and he don't care. I would rather have fireworks than a parade. Does everyone reading know what is paid for on the parade, high school bands, e verything that comes get paid. I say forget about them and allow all the free people and thats it. The $1 has been talked about for a while but nothing done. Everyone I speak to is in favor of it.
Bob Rauseo March 12, 2012 at 03:02 PM
There is never a shortage of ideas. There is often a shortage of effort. Jerry Selissen has donated hundreds, if not thousands of hours to these activiities. To state that "he doesn't care" because he didn't respond to someone's idea is ludicrous. If everyone with a good idea carried out that idea on their own and gave the proceeds to FOTPAC, there might be enough to pay for the fireworks.
Alex Ro March 12, 2012 at 03:54 PM
The idea was brought to him with someone offering to run it all! Like I said many ideas were brought to him with him not involved.
bk March 12, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Instead of, close to 20,000$ that would be burned in few minutes 'for kids', I would prefer to build something that would last lot longer in town 'for kids'.
Mary March 12, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Where and when was the Big Bang Bash? Maybe the word is not out at as loudly as it could be?
Melissa Gleaton March 12, 2012 at 06:52 PM
I was shocked at how good (and long) the BBB fireworks were. I saw them from my house. And I remember thinking to myself, why are we spending $$ on fireworks now, when we're trying to raise money for fireworks? Is the issue of them costing so much money because we want to do it ON the 4th? The 4th is a Wednesday this year. What about doing them on the following Saturday? If that's not feasible, would we still have the other festivities? Contests, music, etc.? We can't just have nothing.
Melissa Gleaton March 12, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Alex, are you saying that the organizations that march in the parade get paid to do so??? That is CRAZY! If anything, they should PAY a donation to get the publicity in the parade!
Kathleen Brothers March 12, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Maria, The Big Bang Bash was held on February 17th at the Tewksbury Country Club. There was music. I could see from the crowd this year that it was smaller. Too bad... it was a nice evening with the fireworks and all. By the way, Maureen stated yesterday that the fireworks were paid for this year by a private party.
Maureen Castiglione March 12, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Melissa, there are 10 or 15 major groups that come (from Bands to Shriners Groups) who are paid. Most of them are charities same as us, so you really can't begrudge them wanting to raise money for their charity. Civic Organizations and Community Groups/Business are not paid. Politicians are not paid. We have *the* best Memorial Day Parade in the Merrimack Valley. People start lining up chairs on Main St. at 9AM on Memorial Day. We don't get anywhere near the same response for the 4th of July. I wish it were different, but it is what it is. We will continue to work to (hopefully) provide SOMETHING on the 4th. Maybe not fireworks, but the family activities. Just don't know where that's going yet, so I can't comment on it.
Maureen Castiglione March 12, 2012 at 08:04 PM
If you have ideas, please by all means *join* the committee. We are always looking for new members and new ideas. All meetings are public. I've run into many people who say "Oh, I want to join, when is the next meeting" and I tell them and either they don't show up, or worse, they show up for 2 or 3 meeting and then are never seen again. If you want to make a difference, you need to join the committee. It's really as simple as that.
Make A Difference March 12, 2012 at 08:14 PM
ya being a kid i honestly don't think having fireworks here is a big deal. and now that it is verified that wilmington is doing a carnival and fireworks it isn't as big as a deal. it is kind of funny how people are willing to spend money on fireworks. which are just things that blow up in the sky and create pretty colors, but yet when it comes to the complex it is a totally different story.(i know there is a money difference, but just bringing up a point) and like maureen said we should just concentrate about the memorial day parade where people care. these fireworks for fourth of july aren't worth it. ps i have been in the parade multiple times for difference things and the people don't get paid.
Who Me? March 12, 2012 at 08:20 PM
I thought the big bang party was about the 4th of July Fireworks. I didn't know that the Memorial Day Parade was involved as well. If you need to be paid to march for Memorial Day then you are more interested in money than the sacrifices of our Vets, just my 2 cents. No one should be paid to march, no one. Down size the day's program and skip the parade if people want to profit from it. Now, the Fireworks. I have donated in the past to them as well as the Town's Xmas lights and other special projects so I ain't just flapping my gums. Even though I am always away on the 4th I would be more than happy to contribute again. If I could be allowed a suggestion here. What about a roll of the dice.... Take what money you have so far and go fishing with it. Send a mass mailing to all residents with an attractive flyer, and a stamped envelope, along with a letter asking all to take a few minutes to drop a check in the mail to keep the Tewksbury Fireworks going. You invest some cash and I'll wager get more in return. Second, enlist the help of a Bank, or perhaps the Tewksbury Employees Credit Union, to set up an account where folks can contribute on-line. Post this on Tewksbury Patch as well as Tewksbury Issues and again the numbers should be good. Get the word out there, this Town can scrape up 20K easy. Gotta go........need another cup of decaf............................
Jerry Selissen March 12, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Alex: I don't know who you are or WHAT you are talking about. If you would like to discuss please feel free to call me at 978-500-1662. For all others, if you are interested in helping out and not afraid of some work feel free to join us at the VFW on Thursday April 5, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at the VFW. We are more than open to new people and new ideas.
Maureen Castiglione March 12, 2012 at 11:23 PM
There is a mailing that goes to every residence EVERY year which includes a flyer with 4 or 5 different groups on it (Friends of the Library, Tewksbury Food Pantry, us etc). Those have generated the bare minimum in contributions. We have promoted -- and advertised -- and publicized -- endlessly. Every event is in the Crier, on the Patch, on TI, on FaceBook, on the bulletin board in town center, on town cable, and our website. Depending on their space restrictions, we can usually make it into the Sun if they have the column room. For the last two years Liberty Mutual has offered $10,000 to the town who gets the most votes in on an online contest. And for the last two years I've tried endlessly to get people to take the quiz (via FaceBook, TI, Patch, Crier, Sun, various e-mail distribution lists). Guess what? Wilmington has won it 2 years in a row now. But you can bet I'll be at it again this year when the contest starts again. Maybe we might actually *win* this year. A girl can hope, can't she? Bottom line is please put your money where your mouth is. Get involved -- and not just by posting online. Come to a meeting. Join the committee.
Alex Ro March 13, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Melissa, high school bands from other towns get paid to march in our parade. I heard last it was like $1,000 per band and now I heard that they also want the costs of uniforms to be covered too. I am not sure on the others though like Shriners etc.
bk March 13, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I agree. Fireworks is a waste of money. I would rather contribute to something long lasting and have a better utility for the greater good. --BK


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