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Scottsburg annual Fourth of July parade canceled this year

A Halifax County tradition will not happen this year after a Monday vote by Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Department Corporation canceling its Fourth of July celebration.

“Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Department Corporation has voted to not hold their annual July 4th celebration for 2014,” Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Department Corporation President Ricky Gordon said in an email on Monday.

“We have decided to look at holding it again possibly in 2015, but several factors including lack of sponsors, volunteers and rising costs have caused us to cancel the 2014 celebration.”

Halifax County is known for a number of community celebrations throughout the year that support volunteer fire departments and other causes, and the Scottsburg celebration was one that visitors asked about, according to Halifax County Chamber of Commerce President Nancy Pool.

“It’s a part of Halifax County and who we are,” said Pool reacting to the news on Tuesday.

“People visiting here want to know what’s happening in the county on the Fourth of July. We know it’s a tradition in the county.”

Pool added she could understand the difficulty in obtaining sponsorship and volunteers during tough economic times.

“I totally appreciate the sponsorship and volunteer issues…I hope they can rebound,” Pool said. “It’s disheartening to hear, and I understand what they’re facing. I’m sad to hear about it.”

Although she couldn’t relate exact numbers, Halifax County Tourism Director Linda Shepperd said the “financial impact of what they bring in is significant,” in referring to the cancellation of the Scottsburg Fourth of July celebration.

“They have such a strong base of friends and family who come back for that event,” Shepperd said. “It’s difficult to determine what impact it will have on tourism here.

“I hate for us to lose any of these events,” noted Shepperd, adding the fireworks show to end the celebration was probably one of the bigger draws for the event.

“Community festivals are what make our county unique,” she added.

Jay Reese, a longtime Scottsburg volunteer fireman, said Tuesday the declining number of volunteers influenced the fire department’s decision to cancel the event for at least one year. 

“We just decided it was a good time to lay off it for a year,” said Reese.

Reese didn’t rule out the possibility of hosting the Fourth of July celebration in the future.

“We depend on a lot of the people in the community to help us,” and “we’re so thankful for the people who’ve helped us during the years,” said Reese.

Another Scottsburg volunteer fireman, Wayne Seamster, concurred with Reese.

“The main reason we had to make this decision is because of the help situation,” said Seamster. “We don’t have enough people who help to do it. The ones who do help get run to death. 

“Last year we lost money, and we feel like it’s going to happen again with it being on a Friday. When you get a long weekend, people go off.” 

Seamster added the department usually clears anywhere from $8,000 to $13,000 after hosting the Fourth of July celebration. 

“Last year was the 31st year doing it,” Seamster noted, estimating the department probably lost around $1,500 after expenses. 

“It’s just too much work going into it when you are going to lose money,” said Seamster. “We appreciate the support of those who have come out over the years, but we had to do something.”