SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. – Three hours before fireworks were scheduled to light up the sky at Onatru Farm Park on Saturday night, Lewisboro Recreation Director Dana Mayclim was scampering back and forth in her golf cart to make sure all her volunteers were where they were supposed to be. Everything had to be just right to make sure the festivities went off without a hitch.
“We expect between 2,500 and 5,000 people – depending on the weather,” Mayclim said.
Saturday marked the 14th year the town has put on a fireworks festival to celebrate the Fourth of July. Ron Tetelman, a longtime Lewisboro resident and member of the planning board, has acted as master of ceremonies for each one of them. He keeps the crowd engaged, letting them know about the ancillary activities such as the bouncy castle, the Lions Club food both and assorted raffle drawings. He also introduces the bands.
“I think I’ve got the hang of it now,” he said with a laugh.
This year’s band line-up included Annie & The Natural Wonder Band for the kids and Detour for the grown-ups.
The entire day, Mayclim said, is made possible thanks to contribution from generous sponsors.
“We raised about $12,300 through our sponsors and we supplement that with t-shirt sales and the dunk tank,” Mayclim said.
Deputy Supervisor Peter DeLucia was one of the “celebrity” volunteers who offered to be dunked in the dunk tank. He said the fireworks night was one of the highlights of the year for Lewisboro.
The event “gives us that small-town feel and we always seem to find ingenious ways to raise money to keep it going,” he said. “We have a large, spread-out community and this is a nice way to bring all the hamlets together. What’s more American than celebrating the Fourth of July with your family and watching some amazing fireworks? I just want to personally thank all our sponsors.”
Also on hand were the Vista Fire Department, which was selling t-shirts to raise money for its 9-11 memorial and the town’s sustainability committee, which announced the official launch of Energize Lewisboro – a program designed to help homeowners remodel their houses to make them more energy efficient.
Earlier in the day, the town’s Democrats and Republicans faced off in a softball game to raise money for the Lewisboro Volunteer Ambulance Corps (LVAC). The GOP team won 23-17, but participants said the game wasn’t really about winning and losing.
“We raised $700 for the LVAC,” said town board member Frank Kelly. “We had tons of people come out – it was very nice. It was a great start for what we hope will be an annual community event.”
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the Onatru Farm Park, workers from the International Fireworks Co. from Douglasville, Pa. were busy getting ready for the main event – the fireworks show.
“We’ve been here since about 9:30 this morning,” said Robert Cantor, as he made the final preparations for the show.
“We call these shells, not rockets,” he explained as pointed to the rows and rows of tubes that were lined up and facing skyward. “Most of them are lit with a road flare, but the grand finale is done electronically where the shells are all tied together with what we call ‘squibs.’ The show will take about 20 minutes.”
Cantor paused and then smiled.
“It gets really loud,” he said.