As we get older, the days pass us by a lot faster than they did when we were younger and full of sap. Or at least that's the way its seems.

As we get older, the days pass us by a lot faster than they did when we were younger and full of sap. Or at least that's the way its seems. I mention this to help you understand how much still needs to be done and how little time we have left to reach the amount of money needed for the July Fourth fireworks program this year.

It's been said that the fireworks show put on at the Portage Lakes is one of the largest, privately funded shows east of the Mississippi. It also can be said that the Portage Lakes Fourth of July celebration is growing, once again, folks.

For yet another year it starts on a Saturday and ends eight days later. And in between the official events the all-American, backyard, waterfront cookout will prevail. There will be tennis and badminton games, more cookouts, swimming, boating and fishing activities.

And still more cookouts.

The eight days of celebrating America's freedom commences with the 39th annual antique and classic boat show June 28 at OnTap at the Harbor (formerly the Olde Harbor Inn) and Nicoletti's at Park Place (formerly Hook, Line & Drinkers).

According to this year's antique and classic boat show chairman, Gil Maringer, "The show is again sponsored by the North Coast Ohio Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society and the Portage Lakes Historical Society.”

Admission is free and the event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. rain or shine.

Maringer goes on to say, "This year the show will feature the 'Utility' model boats made popular by Chris Craft in the early 1930s after the Great Depression when the fancy runabouts were too expensive for most working families."

 Maringer promises to have a number of show-winning 'Utilities' specially displayed this year.

He also said, "Something new for this year will be a 'For Sale' area for both wood and fiberglass boats that are at last 25 years old."

For further show and registration details, call Maringer at 216-310-7475.

At dusk on June 28, the highly popular "Light Up The Lakes" nighttime boat parade will be held. Boat owners decorate their vessels with a myriad of lights numbering hundreds and hundreds. It will be the seventh annual nighttime boat parade and it’s fast becoming a staple on the agenda of this community's annual celebration.

It can be seen at many of the lakeside restaurants and public spots along the route. Both the lawn of the Upper Deck and seats at Dietz's Landing are excellent spots to watch this unique show.

Both the 39th annual Portage Lakes July Fourth daytime Boat Parade and the Sand Castle Building Contest at the State Park Beach off Manchester Road will be held July 5.

While the amounts have not yet been determined, the Fourth of July powers-that-be assure me that cash prizes will be awarded to the best decorated boats in both the daytime and nighttime parades. The daytime boat parade participants will be treated with a free lunch at the end of the route and boat parade T-shirts will be available for purchasing. No prizes have been announced for the Sand Castle building contestants.

And now for the big one, the grand finale everyone comes to see.

This year, will mark the 30th consecutive fireworks extravaganza costing $10,000 or more and not a one of those shows has ever received monetary assistance from any governmental entity. They were all produced July 5 with donations from businesses, but mostly from your generosity. Your love for this patriotic display has glowed brilliantly over the years simply by the way you've dug deeply into your pockets and save it time after time. You have simply refused to let this annual event die.

Even during the deep recession days of the late 2000 decade, you never wavered. You gave until it hurt with the understanding that just watching the show and knowing you were part of it would eliminate any and all economic pain.

Now the Fireworks powers-that-be ask you to dig deeply again to keep that tradition alive and donate to this year's show. Without assuring the fireworks company that the funds are available, it's possible it could very well become too late to schedule a show. Companies schedule shows with organizations who have already banked the proceeds to pay. That's why those funds are needed as soon as possible. In order to confirm the July 5 date for the show, the money must be sitting in the bank.

With a record of giving by the good Portage Lakes folks intact, plans for the 2014 fireworks extravaganza are slowly becoming finalized. The fireworks show is scheduled to start at dusk (about 10 p.m.) with a rain date the same time on July 6.

As of this writing, nothing has been mentioned about any local radio stations simulcasting the fireworks show with music, as has been done in the past. However, with all aspects to be wrapped up before the big celebration is finalized, all details will be posted on the Portage Lakes Firework Association's web site, Feel free to visit that site for all updated information.

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