Letter: Fireworks, celebrations and community character

By on May 14, 2009

On July 5, Elburn will share in what has become a delightful summer tradition at Lions Park: The Day in the Park Fireworks Event. That day, along with the Elburn Days Parade, draws all Elburn together in community like little else. It is one of those celebrations that reminds me I’m proud to live in Elburn. But community isn’t about events; it’s about people sharing responsibility together to provide for the things that make life worth living: good schools, safe streets, family and cultural heritage. Those attitudes need to be encouraged to maintain a deep sense of community.

In 1920, while prohibition was on, a railroad car was left in Elburn on the tracks for repair. It was carrying 750 gallons of port wine authorized by the government for medical purposes in Pennsylvania. Some townspeople who knew about it tapped into the wine and brought some home. Word got around about the treasure and before long, Elburnites were lining up with buckets, pails, jugs and bottles to stock up. It wasn’t a high point in Elburn community participation, but at least they did it together! This dark moment stained an otherwise stellar reputation.

The Day in the Park Fireworks Display has been provided for by Elburn Chamber of Commerce and local businesses that support it. They have been glad to do it. But in the present economic climate, these businesses have had to cut back drastically on their donations. Instead of thousands of dollars, this year they can only donate hundreds. They need your help. If each home in Elburn would shoulder just five dollars of the responsibility, one of the most delightful days in the summer will be able to continue. Most of us spend more than that on a single trip to Starbucks.

There are two ways you can help. First, around town in the stores and businesses are containers marked for donations to help fund the fireworks. Look for one and drop $5 in it. Second, on Thursday, May 28, there will be a Pork Chop Dinner provided at Elburn Lions Park. You get two pork chops, baked beans, cole slaw, roll and butter, and apple sauce for $13 each or two for $25, and you can pick up the dinner between 4 to 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at Elburn businesses or you can call the Elburn Chamber of Commerce at (630) 365-2295 to buy one. Make your reservation by Monday, May 18. Not only will you get a great dinner, you will support your community.

Character is defined by what one does when no one is looking. In 1920, townspeople may have figured the company who owned the wine could afford the loss and it wasn’t their responsibility anyway. Some of us may feel that events like the Day in the Park aren’t our responsibility either. Both thoughts lead away from strong community and strong character. Buy a ticket for dinner and look for a container for fireworks donations and drop in $5 to contribute. It will add to your personal character and make you feel good about your community, especially if no one is looking.

Gary Augustine