Behind the scenes of Gregory’s 4th of July celebration tradition

by Judy Williams

A lot has to happen behind the scenes before you hear the oohs and ahhs of the Gregory Fourth of July celebration. Most of the background tasks are handled by the hard-working Fourth of July committee.  These 10 dedicated individuals have been planning the 47th Independence Day Celebration for almost a year.

The work starts with raising funds, most of which come from last year’s fireworks parking and donations from area businesses and residents. These include the can-return donations many in the area have provided.

“Would you believe we will spend $9,000 just on fireworks,” asked Wendy Hause, committee chair & Unadilla Township fire chief. “This is a $2,000 increase from last year.”

Fireworks represent just part of the cost of putting on the Fourth of July celebration. There are costs for entertainment as well as less obvious costs, like insurance. In addition, committee members ensure that any necessary permits and licenses are in place for the event.

“You just can’t close a state highway without a permit,” Wendy Hause explains with a smile.

The traditional parade starts at noon (line-up between 10 and 11:30) and will be emceed by local legend Gordie Kunzelman. The Best Decorated Bicycle will be awarded before the start of the parade, and later, attendees can take in a magic show, a survival flight landing, a petting zoo and pony rides, a bake sale, assorted vendors and activities, entertainment by the Leaky Tiki’s Band, and of course, the fireworks.

Unfortunately, the famous chicken barbecue traditionally put on by the Unadilla Township Fire Department (UTFD) will not be held this year due to the cost and availability of chicken. Instead, the Unadilla Township Fire Association (UTFA) will be selling lunchtime fare like hotdogs, hamburgers, brats and more on Webb Street and at the fire station during the parade.

The culmination of the day’s events—the fireworks—will begin at dusk, fired off by the employees of Night Magic with the Unadilla Township Fire Department (UTFD) and other area departments as monitors.

“When I see our small-town come together to celebrate this important day in our history, all of the work in planning and executing the day’s events are worth it,” Hause said with pride. “I love the parade and seeing all of the people who line the streets of Gregory to watch it pass along.”

The committee is always looking for new, hard-working individuals that want to join them in planning for next year. Contact Chief Wendy Hause at 313-617-4813 if you’re interested in helping out with next year’s event.

As the days wind down before Gregory’s 47th Independence Day Celebration, members of the event’s planning committee meet on June 16 to finalize details. Pictured (l-r): David Hasley, Kim Hasley, Luci Stoffer, Wendy Hause, Susan Bostian, Erin Griffin, Michael Griffin, Yvonne Hopkins. Not Pictured: Cathy Miller, Mike Stoffer. Photo credit: Judy Williams


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