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The Telegram
  • Independence Day Celebration at HCCC suspended

  • A traditional summertime event that includes barbecue dinners and a nighttime firework display will take a hiatus this year due to the lack of financial support. Herkimer County Community College officials announced Friday the college’s Community Independence Day Celebration will be suspended because the am...
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  • A traditional summertime event that includes barbecue dinners and a nighttime firework display will take a hiatus this year due to the lack of financial support.
    Herkimer County Community College officials announced Friday the college’s Community Independence Day Celebration will be suspended because the amount of needed funds and sponsors are unavailable.
    “It is with deep regret that we must suspend the Community Independence Day Celebration for this year,” HCCC President Ann Marie Murray said in a news release.
    Murray said the event was originally funded by community organizations and businesses, but the college has had to assist in recent years with the help of the HCCC Alumni Association to make the event happen.
    “The difficulty of continuing this way is compounded by the fact that over the past two years, public higher education has had to sustain severe cuts in state aid and we know that additional cuts are pending,” said Murray. “This, along with declining private contributions to support the event, has made it impossible to justify the expense.”
    Rebecca Ruffing, director of public relations at HCCC, said the difficult economy has made it harder for sponsors to support the event.
    “It is to be expected with the way the economy is,” she said.
    Ruffing said costs range between $12,000 to $15,000, with the fireworks display costing approximately $9,000. Other costs include security, maintenance and other expenses.
    “We’ve been extremely grateful to the sponsors and businesses that have come forward to help put this on in previous years, especially the alumni association and the Herkimer Polish Community Home, and so many others,” said Ruffing.
    Ruffing said the HCCC Board of Trustees would have to consider holding the event this year if a sponsor should become available later.
    Officials do hope to resume the event at some point in the future.
    “The long-standing tradition of hosting this community event and the positive impact it has on our college, our event partners, neighbors and the surrounding communities has made this a particularly difficult decision to make,” said Murray.
    The celebration, which has been held for over 15 years at the HCCC campus, has served as the major Independence Day event for citizens in the Mohawk Valley. Last year’s event included Brooks House of BBQ, which served over 1,000 meals, and entertainment from a local band.

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