Fireworks extravaganza celebrates 40th year

Posted On 04 Jul 2013

Roving by Bob Allen

This is the time of year when I always start getting anxious about something big about to start — at least for most of my 61 years in Wake Forest.

The big Wake Forest July 4th fireworks extravaganza program will once again make it’s appearance Wednesday, July 3 — weather permitting — after months of planning by the Wake Forest July 4th Committee.

And this year’s show has special significance — it marks the 40th big show since starting in 1973. Two special, tireless young women — Gerry Stenzel and Jani Ali — got together and spearheaded this marvelous production into motion.

Of course, there were many people who helped make the dream come true. The show was held in the Wake Forest High stadium (now Trentini Stadium) with local attorney John Rich as master of ceremonies.

Billy Shearon and Ricky Timberlake were the main people behind the fireworks, requiring months of work, including several hand-made wooden displays lit up with colorful flares. One year they even rigged up a moveable one resembling a huge ship.

Their long hours of work were typical of the complete dedication many gave without compensation, except knowing they were a part of a project honoring our town and country.

Another reason for the volunteered work was the lack of funds to purchase enough fireworks to make a complete show. The first year, $500 was spent on fireworks. The cost has now risen to $1,500.

You can attend this year’s fireworks program, which features the popular Lady Liberty, Uncle Sam, Band of Oz, the Doppler Effect quartet, Friendship Chapel Choir, Don Carrington’s Skydiving Team, the Junior Color Guard, and the National Anthem sang by Elsie Shuler. Also, some original and former committee members will be honored.

Food, drinks and 40th anniversary T-shirts will be for sale. Come early to get a T-shirt — only 200 are available.
For all of this, you may think the admission price would be $10. Wrong. You can still be a part of it for the same low price of just $5.

The gates open at 5:30 p.m. Bring your favorite cushion for seating comfort — it’s a long show. You won’t want to miss it!

And be sure to remember the ever popular free Children’s Parade at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 4. All children are invited to either walk or ride bikes in their patriotic attire. Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam will pose for pictures and lead the parade, which runs down North Main Street, to North  Street, Wingate, Durham Road and then onto South College Street before disbanding at the Community House and Holding Park, where games and Art in the Park are held for the kids.

Quote of the week

“There can be no greater good than the quest for peace, and no finer purpose than the preservation of freedom.”
—Ronald Reagan, in a speech to Congress about the Geneva summit meeting, Nov. 21, 1985.

—Bob Allen, publisher emeritus of The Wake Weekly, welcomes  and encourages your comments or suggestions at  919-556-3059 or robinedit@aol.com.