Wanted: More hands for July 4th festival

By Lynn R. Parks

Bev Arciuolo enjoys Laurel’s Fourth of July celebration. A member of the Laurel Chamber of Commerce board, she has volunteered to help with the event every year since moving to Laurel from West Haven, Conn., nearly three years ago. “It is a great day,” said Arciuolo, who owns Bev’s Specs in downtown Laurel. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” But the day would be easier, she added, if a few more people would step up to help out. “The hardest part of the whole thing is finding volunteers,” she said. “It is a lot of fun, and everyone enjoys doing it, but it is tiring. A lot of people have never even seen the parade because they are working all day.” This year, for the town’s ninth annual July Fourth celebration, Arciuolo will work at the moon bounce and at the water slide. She will help out with the annual talent show and will help man the chamber of commerce booth. And she will walk the festival grounds, making sure that other volunteers are managing. Chamber members and volunteers started working on the celebration after the first of the year, arranging for vendors and entertainment and setting up donations from businesses. “It takes about a trillion phone calls and letters to make sure that everything works out,” Arciuolo said. “This event doesn’t just happen by itself. We would really appreciate more volunteers.” This is the ninth year that the chamber has sponsored the July Fourth celebration. Last year, about 30,000 attended the event, according to chamber estimates. Chamber president Alan Cole said that the event makes for “clean, wholesome fun,” from the 5-k run that kicks off the day to the closing fireworks, which he promises will be “even better than last year’s.” This year’s show will last nearly 30 minutes, he said. “This is a day for people to enjoy our small town atmosphere and the friendly people who live here,” he added. “This is a great town and we hope everyone comes out to enjoy the town, the people and the entertainment.” For the first time in the history of the event, local country music performers the Jones Boys will be part of that entertainment. They will take to the stage at 3 p.m. and perform for about an hour. Jim Jones is a member of the band, which also includes two of his sons. He said that the group, formed 11 years ago, plays mostly country music, old as well as modern. “We also do a little flavor of bluegrass and a little flavor of old rock and roll,” he added. Jones said that the band plays nearly every weekend, usually on Delmarva. It has played at many outdoor festivals, including Seaford’s Riverfest, the Tuckahoe steam show near Easton and the Sharptown Carnival. “We have quite a good following,” he said. Jones said that he is looking forward to the celebration, as long as it is not too hot. Last year on July 4, the temperature was in the mid 90s. Despite the traditional heat and long hours, Arciuolo said that she too is looking forward to the Fourth of July. “This kind of thing instills camaraderie,” she added. “People work full-time and don’t get to meet other people. This is a good day to socialize.” It is also a good day to introduce out-of-towners to the charm of Laurel, she added. “This event makes people aware of our town. It always amazes me how many people come from all over for this. But that makes me feel good. It makes me feel that all my hard work is not for naught.”

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