‘Christmas in July’ comes to Belmar, NJ — Big light show aids vets
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, or at least it will be July 1 in Belmar. That's when the Independence Day Light Show takes place 9 p.m. at the Taylor Pavilion.
The festivities begin with the national anthem performed by Chris Pinnella, formerly of the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Next will come a 10-minute show that includes ariel effects, flames, fog, and lights. The event culminates with an incredible fireworks event.
The event is free but its purpose is to raise money for rebuilding warriors, which is a charity that supplies service/companion dogs to veterans who are amputees or have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury.
According to Dan Brateris of Raising4 Inc., which is putting on the event:
"It costs roughly $15,000 to properly raise, train, a service dog for their new job of caring for a veteran, this is often a process and a cost that veterans on a fixed income have difficulty affording or coordinating. Properly trained service/companion dogs make an impactful and life-changing difference to a veteran in need and Rebuilding Warriors facilitates all of this, free of charge, to veterans who need it."
Where did the idea for Christmas in July originate?
"The idea came about one day when the crew and I were working on the Christmas Light Show in the frigid weather, I think I recall someone saying something like, why can't we do show when it's warm out, lol. Fundraising for good causes and providing quality low-cost or free entertainment to the community has always been a part of my friends and I’s life, especially since starting the Christmas light show almost 20 years ago"
What is Raising4 Inc?
"Raising4 Inc. is the NJ nonprofit that myself and the other founders of the Christmas Light Show formed a few years ago with the mission of creating and coordinating free or low-cost events that provide help fundraise for worthy causes.
"We started the Christmas show fundraising for RallyCap Sports, and we intend to keep the Christmas show going, but now we are adding an Independence Day show to support rebuilding warriors.
"We may branch out to other types of events in the future. Operating this kind of non-profit is very rewarding, and we are finding new ways to make expansion feasible.
"For example, the Christmas Light Show has always been self-funded, it was our own funds that let the event happen."
The event is sponsored by Jersey Mike's.
"With the Independence Day show, Jersey Mike's Subs agreed to sponsor the event and pay for all the hard costs, this makes the event feasible from a logistics viewpoint and also ensures that every penny of the donations we collect will go directly to rebuilding warriors."
A good time will be had by all
"We are excited for the event. It is a new endeavor for us and we are thrilled to provide an entertaining event to the public that celebrates America and helps our veterans.
"The show time is 9 p.m. we will have music ahead of time and we ask people to arrive early as there may be some road closures for safety reasons. Attendees are encouraged to bring a donation to support of Rebuilding Warriors in appreciation of the free event and fireworks. We suggest $25 for a family, $10 per individual.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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