Good Neighbors

One Man Fights to Save His Town's Fireworks Display

He stepped up to raise money after organizers of local festival pulled the plug because of costs


Eric Rayner loves his community, and he's passionate about keeping traditions alive. So when he heard that the Ellwood City (PA) Arts, Crafts, Food and Entertainment Festival at the end of June wouldn't have fireworks this year, he knew he had to do something (that's him above, left, with Mayor Anthony Court).

He started a group called Save the Ellwood City Fireworks 2019 in early April, established a Facebook page , started posting videos explaining the predicament, and asking people to donate through a Donate Kindly page, which is like a GoFundMe for non-profits.

The response was almost immediate. Realtor Bud Mazzant gave $500 (below, middle). "My dad took me, I took my son, he takes his son. You can't lose these traditions," he said about why he made a donation.

The Ellwood City Ledger newspaper reports the largest individual donation was $1,000 from the Ellwood City Police. The Ellwood City Masonic Lodge also gave $500. LGNDS barbershop set up a donation container, and the National Grind Coffee shop has a fundraiser set for next Saturday, the 18th. Ellwood City Mayor Anthony Court (above, right) is proud to see it. "This is what our community is all about. Coming together as a community for something that's worthwhile."

"Traditions. That's what our community is built on." Ellwood City Mayor Anthony Court

The group's Facebook says they're still about $700 short of their $5,000 goal, with a deadline of June 2 to raise the money. If they get more than the goal, Eric says they'll put on a bigger fireworks show.

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