After more than a year of shutdowns and the cancellation of special summertime events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rome will present its renowned Honor America Days Pops Concert on the grounds of Fort Stanwix National Monument at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 31.
The free concert will be followed by a patriotic fireworks display.
Despite the cancellation of the annual HAD Parade due to COVID restrictions at the time, local organizations have still been busy planning the special events that traditionally surrounded Rome’s annual summer celebration.
Roman Runners will host its Honor America Days 5K, with registration taking place from 7-8 a.m. at the pavilion across from Bellamy Park. The run will kick off promptly at 8:30 a.m.
The route will run along the canal to the boat launch on Muck Road and back. There’s a $5 fee which will go towards food and water. Those not interested or able to run can also come down and volunteer for water stops. For more information, check out www.romanrunners.com.
First United Methodist Church at 400 N. George St., will hold its Tag Sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. The sale promises to feature treasures and interesting items of all kinds. Hotdogs, cold drinks and snacks for lunch will also be available for purchase.
Zion Episcopal Church at 140 W. Liberty St. will also host its Strawberry Shortcake Festival from noon to 3 p.m. outside the church located just across City Hall.
Cost is $4 or $3.50 for seniors ages 55 and older, and for children ages 12 and younger.
Those who partake in Zion Episcopal’s sweet summer treat will receive a “generous serving” of freshly baked shortcake, locally picked strawberries and homemade whipped cream, along with a beverage. The church will also hold a basket raffle with tickets being sold at three for $1 and 20 for $5.
Henry P. Smith Post American Legion, 325 Erie Blvd. W., will also hold its Chicken Barbecue fund-raiser from noon until gone. Cost is $12 per dinner that includes a half chicken, salt potatoes, cowboy beans and dinner roll. Money raised will support programs sponsored by the American Legion.
Festivities will be followed by the HAD Pops concert and fireworks show from 8-10 p.m.
Serving as conductor for the Symphoria orchestra performance will be Richard Auldon Clark, who is the music director of the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra in New York City. He is originally from the Binghamton area, and has several family ties with upstate New York.
Rome Area Chamber of Commerce President William K. Guglielmo said when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that COVID restrictions were being “pulled back,” it prompted Rome Area Chamber of Commerce and its Honor America Days Committee, and the city, to form a partnership, working side-by-side, like it had been since 1984, to make a special summer celebration for the community possible. He noted that Jacqueline M. Izzo had been chairman of the HAD Committee long before she became mayor and in recent years, had included the city with the chamber as two organizations working to make HAD possible.
“Yet the public just wants a good event, and we’re so happy we’re doing that,” Guglielmo said.
Since the governor announced the lifting of major COVID restrictions, Guglielmo said the chamber has been working to raise money to present the Symphoria concert and fireworks show. He said in previous years, organizing the parade, concert and fireworks cost a total of about $60,000, which relies heavily on the support of sponsors, new and old.
“We rely on the loyal support of our past sponsors and those who renewed their sponsorship, and we’re pleased for gaining several new sponsors this year,” Guglielmo said. “We look forward to promoting all aspects of our community and the pride associated with Rome — its patriotism and history. Rome is a welcoming community, and Honor America Days is enjoyed by many people who live here, and HAD is the type of event where people who live in Rome are also upbeat about their community. They have their own reunions and get-togethers scheduled during this time, so family and friends can also enjoy all the good times in Rome.”
And Guglielmo said HAD won’t be where the summer festivities end in Rome. While the famous World Series of Bocce had to be canceled due to restrictions this year, Canalfest, which had also originally been canceled, is now back on schedule for Aug. 6-8.
“Raising money for Honor America Days took time and effort, and we believe it will be very successful,” said Guglielmo. “We hope our new sponsors will be enthusiastic about staying with us and doing what we do every year — putting on a great community-wide celebration.”
Izzo said the Honor America Days Committee is very excited to present the annual Pops concert and fireworks show at Fort Stanwix this summer after a year of shutdowns.
“We know this is an event the community looks forward to every year and missed it very much last summer,” she said. “We will not disappoint with Symphoria presenting a rousing pops concert followed by a very patriotic fireworks display. We hope that people will take the opportunity to bring a blanket or lawn chair and join us for a wonderful summer evening of entertainment on the great lawn of Fort Stanwix.”