Last year, for all kinds of reasons, the annual beloved Fourth of July celebration in Rolesville didn’t happen.
There weren’t enough volunteers, not enough sponsors, not enough of anything, it seemed. And by the time the town and public became aware of the impending loss, there wasn’t enough time to do anything except let people know it wasn’t going to be.
When Gejuan Batson, who had lived in Rolesville only a couple of years found out, she was floored.
“A friend from work told me and I just thought, ‘No — that cannot be right.’ But he was,” Gejuan recalls.
She saw a notice Rolesville Town Manager Bryan Hicks had put up asking for volunteers for a possible 2015 celebration and in spite of having what she calls “a crazy schedule,” she went to see him. The thought of another year without a town celebration was unthinkable.
A former Navy officer, Gejuan knows how to organize. Better, she knows how to motivate. Her people skills from being an officer, and now from working in the pharmaceutical industry, shine.
Gejuan won’t hesitate to say that there were times she thought she had bitten off too much. “But then something else positive would happen. I was and am determined not to quit,” she said.
And, she is quick to point out, she has a great co-chair in Paul Vilga. “ I just can’t say enough about Paul. He has been there since day one.”
She also has a dedicated team of eight more volunteers and between them, and “tons of information from Bryan (Hicks) … the meat is on the bones of this celebration. There is no doubt in my mind that this is going to happen.”
At the commissioners’ meeting Monday, Gejuan reported that the committee has already contracted with S&W Productions for the grand finale event.
But before then, she wants folks to have what has become so popular — all the food trucks, game vendors, booths and more.
Additionally, she wants something new: A patriotic parade. She already has the N.C. RDU USO on board. Now, the committee just needs to hammer out what kind of parade they’ll have and where.
Something else that remains firmly in place from years past: there is no admission price for any of the Fourth of July Events, beyond the cost of food or activities.
“We will still take up donations as from years past. But this remains a very family friendly event. Like hanging out in your backyard with friends,” Gejuan said.
Here at the newspaper, we’re gonna jump on the bandwagon of believing Rolesville’s Fourth of July celebration is going to come back with a roar.
“Last year was a wake up call. This is our chance to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported this nation and will continue to support it,” Gejuan said.
“It’s going to be great.”
Upcoming events to support Rolesville Fireworks 500 Club:
•Community T-shirt Fundraiser. Navy blue shirts with “Rolesville EST 1937” are being sold at www.booster.com/rolesville4th. Shirts are $15 each plus shipping cost. The current sale runs through Feb. 8. To date, they have raised $600 through the T-shirt sales.
•Art Buzz Kids of Wake Forest fundraiser. Children ages 4 and up can enjoy a fun afternoon of painting and take home a patriotic piece of art. The event is run by Wine and Design/Art Buzz Kids and is set for Feb. 22, 2 p.m. at the Rolesville Masonic Lodge, 207 Pulley St. The cost is $20 per child and half of the proceeds will be donated to benefit Rolesville Fireworks 500 Club. Sign up at tiny.cc/RolesvilleKids4thArt.
•Community Cookbook Taste of Rolesville. All proceeds from the sale of the cookbook will benefit the Fourth of July celebration. Anyone can submit recipes. The deadline for submissions is March 1. Sales of the cookbook will begin April 15. To have a recipe included, send it with a high-resolution photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
•General fundraising information. For those that don’t want to wait on a cookbook or dislike painting, there are donation boxes set up at Granite Falls Swim and Athletic club, Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Ace Hardware of Rolesville, Los Tres Magueyes, Rolesville Marina, Pete Smith Tire and Lube and Real McCoys.
Donations can also be mailed to Rolesvlle Fireworks 500 Club, P.O. Box 266, Rolesville, N.C. 27571.
There is even a GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/rolesville4th.