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Funds needed for Bangor July 4th festivities

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BANGOR - With Independence Day just four weeks away, the Bangor Fourth of July committee has only raised one third of what it needs for the day's festivities.

"It's very historical that a great deal of the money comes in the last two weeks, which is frightening to me [as July 4 chair]," explained Tony Bernatche. "We're looking at a $30,000 budget this year and so far we're at $9,500."

This will be Representative Doug Damon's 15th year serving as parade chair. He said this year there will be not one, but two grand marshals in the parade.

"This is a Kiwanis parade, so we have Paul Lucy, the president of the Orono-Old Town Kiwanis. He's 92 years old and flew Navy fighters in WW2. In the Korean conflict, he got called back and was a helicopter pilot. So he'll be our Kiwanis grand marshal," explained Damon. "Our parade grand marshal is the Bangor Children's Museum. They'll have a nice parade float up front."

Damon is planning on approximately 1,000 people to be involved in this year's parade and that's including all the veterans, marching bands, and floats. Damon is expecting another 30,000 or more to line the parade route to watch the event.

"It's the biggest parade in the state," he said. "Kids love it and everyone claps."

But in order for the parade, fireworks and all the concerts on the waterfront that day to be a success, more dollars are needed.

"We need many generous community members to help make this come to fruition," said Bernatche.

Dr. Ian Dickey, member of The Stone Doctor's band, a local group known for playing Rolling Stones hits, is offering his musical talent to help raise funds.

"We'll take the stage [at the Bangor Waterfront] at 7:30 p.m. and play until about 9:30 p.m. when we'll close out the night with fireworks in the background," said Dickey.

While the musical acts are entertaining the crowd from approximately 2 to 9:30 p.m., volunteers will be walking around collecting donations, just like the bucket brigade volunteers do during the American Folk Festival.

"Obviously we want to have a bucket brigade type of thing going on throughout the day. The idea would be for people to put in a dollar, $10 or whatever [they can], which will go to help the Kiwanis, and the remainder would go to the new pediatric oncology center at Cancer Care of Maine in Brewer and the ALS folks," explained Dickey.

Those who would like to help sponsor the 2012 Fourth of July festivities should call Michelle at Bernatche Auto Body at 941-5686.

"Celebrating our independence is a family affair," said Damon. "With more Shriners groups than before and five bands playing music [throughout the day], it's going to be a great family thing."

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