WINSLOW — Just four people have signed up so far to help with the Winslow Family 4th of July Celebration, which brings thousands to the area and relies on volunteers for much of the work.

The five-day event, which attracts 70,000 people to central Maine, is coordinated by about 100 volunteers and around 30 event committee members, according to Kevin Douglas, chairman of the 23rd annual event.

The slow volunteer turnout is “making us a little nervous,” he said.

During the last three years, the number of volunteers registering early and the number of volunteers overall has steadily declined.

He said the volunteers are mainly high school students who are seeking community service. The last few years, he said, they have not been able to recruit as much in the area high schools, which he said could be contributing to the decline.

Fundraising for the celebration is also continuing with $15,000 raised for the $100,000 event, Douglas said.

For committee members, planning the event is a year-round commitment, and for Douglas, the volunteer position became a full-time commitment about a month ago. He said the work will continue full-time until a week after the event.

Because of the demands of volunteering to head such a large undertaking, the event has had high turnover at the chairman position for the last three years, said Douglas, who is in his first year at the position.

The group’s longtime chairman, Ron LeClair, retired from the post in 2010, and a new chairman has taken charge each year since. Committee members did not realize the full extent of LeClair’s time commitment until after he retired from the position, Douglas said. The year-long planning is time consuming, he said, and even as a previous vice chairman, he did not realize the extent of the commitment until after he started.

Despite the challenges, Douglas said this year’s event will be as grand as always. The schedule includes humorist Tim Sample, a giant parade, and new events including a children’s day in Halifax Park.

Douglas said a huge surprise is in store for the public, and on June 30, the first day of events, the surprise will be announced between 3 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. in the park. Douglas had earlier described the surprise “will change forever the way the Winslow Family 4th of July has its entertainment.”

For information about volunteering, go to www.Winslow4thofJuly.com.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
[email protected]

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