Back in May, we announced Liberty Mutual’s second annual Bring Back the 4th™ contest, in which towns and cities of all sizes across the country could win a $10,000 grant from Liberty Mutual to use toward supporting their local Independence Day traditions – from fireworks and parades to ceremonies honoring our veterans. As in 2010, the response this year was overwhelming, and we’re thrilled to announce the 10 winners.
To give some background, Americans seeking to support their local July 4th traditions were asked to take a brief U.S. history quiz at www.BringBackThe4th.com, featuring questions about people and events that helped shape our nation and inspire others. Each completed quiz counted as one credit towards a website visitor’s town, and the 10 U.S. municipalities with the most completed quizzes would win grants. Bring Back the 4th™ grants are awarded to cities and towns in three size-based categories: small (four grants), medium (three grants) and large (three grants).
The following 10 cities went above and beyond in rallying their communities, and each has secured a $10,000 grant to apply toward their own traditions. Here are the winners in each category:
Small City/Town Category:
- Brockport Village, New York
- Chester, California
- Dahlonega, Georgia
- Springfield, Georgia
Medium City/Town Category:
- Bozeman, Montana
- New Britain, Connecticut
- Wilmington, Massachusetts
Large City/Town Category:
- Durham, North Carolina
- Rockford, Illinois
- Springfield, Illinois
Several of the winning towns/cities have already expressed what this grant will do for their communities. In Bozeman, MT, the local chapter of the Lions Club had encountered difficulties raising the necessary funds to run the city’s annual fireworks show, a tradition they had hosted for the previous 10 years. The $10,000 grant will allow them to host the event once again. "There were people participating in this thing that we didn't even know about," Lions Club member Bob Appleby told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. "It's just great that the Bozeman community did this."
Similarly, festivities in New Britain, CT had already been cancelled until news broke that it earned one of the winning grants. The city’s Mayor called upon residents to visit the Bring Back the 4th website and rally together in support of their cancelled fireworks. These funds, coupled with local business leaders also donating money, will now allow the community to host its own scaled-back event.
And for the second straight year, the town of Wilmington, MA earned a grant in what town manager Michael Caira said reflected his community’s spirit and willingness to get involved. “Wilmington is a very patriotic community that supports its veterans and the military very openly,” Caira said. “The 4th of July activities represent the culmination of Wilmington’s patriotism. It gives us an opportunity to combine that with the family values that are a part of the community. It’s just one big happy reunion each year.”
These are just some of the stories reflecting the importance of Independence Day traditions in local communities. With another Fourth of July upon us, what are some of the memorable traditions in your own communities worth preserving?