WINSLOW — Fourth of July is barely one week past, but the Winslow Family Fourth of July Celebration Committee, spurred by a year of lackluster donations, is already planning for next year’s festivities.

“Whoever said the Fourth the July is over after the Fourth of July lied to me, because I’m still at it today,” joked Nicholas Irving, the treasurer and interim chairman for the organization.

Irving said the committee is focused on improving fundraising efforts after a down year.

“Because of the lack of donations this year, we’re looking to become more self-sufficient,” he said. “We need to raise more money on our own instead of relying on businesses, which seem to be cutting back on their donations.”

For the 2012 celebration, the committee raised about $33,000.

“It was the lowest I’ve seen in five years,” Irving said.

In 2010, for instance, the group raised nearly twice as much — about $60,000 for its 20th annual celebration.

In the run up to the 2013 celebration, the group is planning bigger fundraisers, including a haunted hay ride at Fort Halifax Park in October, a New Year’s Eve dance and a basketball tournament. Irving said the immediate area doesn’t have annual haunted hay rides or New Year’s Eve events, so the fundraisers seem poised for success.

Last week’s five-day Fourth of July celebration — which included one of the largest parades and fireworks shows in the region — was a hit, but it could be better, Irving said. The group struggled with lower funds and a recent shakeup in leadership.

Two years ago, the group’s longtime chairman, Ron LeClair, retired his post. In January, LeClair’s replacement, Jason Fitch, resigned. Fitch and Irving wouldn’t discuss the reason for Fitch’s departure when asked about it Wednesday.

Some of the difficulties in raising money stem from LeClair’s departure. LeClair is a “great man” whom the board would welcome back “with open arms,” but he did too much of the yearly planning his own during his 13-year tenure, Irving said. Now that the committee is operating without LeClair, the committee members have to learn many of the steps from scratch; however, next year should be better.

“We’ve figured out exactly what we need to do and we’re coming up with a game plan,” Irving said.

Irving said the group will soon sort out its organizational structure, and Irving will turn his focus back to financial matters. Irving said he’s confident he can make adjustments to the budget that can free up an additional $15,000 for entertainment next year. If fundraising efforts are successful, the group might pursue bigger-name music acts for its stage at Fort Halifax Park.

Meantime, the group is seeking public comment on its Facebook page, seeking to know what it did right and what it could do better.

“We’re going to take notes and discuss what we can change … so we’re in better tune with the community,” Irving said. “The Fourth of July isn’t going anywhere. We’re only going to get bigger because we recognize our limitations and we’re adapting to them.”

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