POLAND — The Celebrate Poland Committee has heard people’s concerns and taken the steps to move the popular event — for a third time.
The event traditionally is scheduled for the last weekend of June, but for 2021 was moved to Sept. 11. Now the event is scheduled for Sept. 25.
Event chairwoman Cindy Best said it all has to do with fundraising.
For the one-day event — it is normally two days — the cost is close to $33,000. Since the pandemic, the committee of 10 has gone two years without a fundraiser, and to raise the amount needed in a short time was not an option.
“We have not been able to have a fundraiser in two years now, and our funds are very low,” Best said. “At the end of 2019, we signed a contract and paid half of the fee for the band to return in 2020. We all know what happened in 2020.”
She continued: “Once the governor lifted the restrictions this year, it was too close to the event to raise the kind of money we need. Not wanting to lose the money we already paid, we called the booking agent and asked what dates were available … Sept. 11 and Sept. 18.
“We chose the 18th, but when I called the school I was informed that is Poland’s homecoming, so Sept. 11 was booked. We knew the significance of the date. We had planned on the event starting with a prayer service and giving the fire chief as much time as he wanted to add to the event.”
But when the community learned about the new date, many were not happy. The number expressing disapproval for the Sept. 11 date was growing.
“As a group we decided to move the date,” Best said. “We understand that we will never make everyone happy, but it was important for the community to know we heard them.”
Best said this will be considered the 14th annual event. She said 2020, which would have been No. 14, simply will not count.
The Sept. 25 celebration will include all the Celebrate Poland favorites such as the Poland Idol contest, sidewalk chalk contest, firemen’s parade and fireworks and “a few more surprises” if all goes well, she said.
On the fireworks, Best said she heard that events outside the Fourth of July tend to be less costly. Still, other items will hit the bank account this year.
“Even though it is only one day, it doesn’t relieve much cost,” Best said. “For example, we won’t have the cost of emptying the Porta-Johns, but now we have a new cost of sanitation stations. Most everything else stays the same and, of course, some costs have increased.”
She said donations are the big issue right now. The big money-maker during the event is the food vendors. Going from a two-day down to a one-day event means charging less than usual.
Donations are still a key and with the governor’s green light to have events again, it left little time to prepare. Still, the committee is ramping up efforts and planning for the best.
“We are not even close to covering our expenses right now. We do have some money promised, but even with that we are not even halfway there,” Best said. “So we are sure of our new date and will be coming on strong with our fundraising. We will be accepting sponsors for events and in addition to our normal sponsorships available, we will be adding different levels that will go toward the fireworks. We are sending out donation letters and very soon you will be able to place ads in our program. We are asking for help from the community.”
She said while there were no new funds in 2020, the committee still had expenses: liability insurance, storage areas the committee rents, and the fee for fireworks that already were ordered.
Poland Village Council President Mike Thompson said he supports the effort and knows how important the event is to the community.
“It doesn’t feel like a real summer without Celebrate Poland,” Thompson said. “The village is thrilled that this year’s event will go forward, and we will be making a significant financial contribution. We call on everyone who can to make a donation — the committee will put on a great event, and they need our support.”
While the new Celebrate Poland date gives people something to do in the fall, Poland Historical Society President Laurie Fox said her group is planning a summer celebration.
“The event the historical society and Poland Township are planning is on Saturday, July 24, at the Poland Township Park, 7400 Moore Road,” she said. “This is a one-day event to celebrate when surveyors claimed Poland as Town 1 Range 1 of the Connecticut Western Reserve on July 23, 1796.”
The event will run 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is a free family-friendly event.
Today’s breaking news and more in your inbox