Randy Bassham, a local soccer coach and the organizer of a movement to build a multipurpose athletic and community complex in northern Buncombe County, says the MPAC Fourth of July Block Party will be held on North Buncombe High School's soccer practice fields. There will be soccer matches, music and food, a group of Revolutionary War re-enactors and possible even a fly-over of military jet, he said.
As for the fireworks, Bassham says he's working on raising money to pay for a show.
"All this is just coming together," Bassham told Xpress. "This matters for us. With all that's going on in the world, people need this."
Bassham took the lead on the alternative Independence Day celebration after Weaverville Town Council voted in March not to fund fireworks for this year. The town, facing recession-driven revenue shortfalls, said it would save $30,000 in taxpayers' money. The board has funded the celebration for several years.
About two weeks ago, the town board also voted not to spend another $4,500 to help the local Kiwanis Club stage its annual Firecracker 5k Run. The club had made a special plea, noting that the event is a lucrative fund-raiser that raises money for its scholarship program for college-bound North Buncombe High School students. Council members didn't bite.
The run is now being planned for the grounds of the high school, according to Bassham. Details about the race route are forthcoming, he said.
Bassham said he's talked with town council members. "I told them that I greatly respect their intent to be fiscally responsible. But I told them they should go to the community and say (the July Fourth celebration) is a tradition and it's important. They didn't respond to that," Bassham said. "All we're doing is filling a void."
There's plenty of opportunity to help out with the upcoming event, according to Bassham. Contact him at email@example.com or 645-2030.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor
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