SALEM - New Year's Eve may be three months away, but the Salem group putting together the 9th annual alcohol-free, family-oriented community celebration is looking for help now to cover the costs.
David Schwartz, one of the coordinators for New Year's Eve Salem, said they mailed out about 700 letters this weekend to past supporters and potential supporters, both individuals and businesses in the Salem area, to solicit tax-deductible donations.
"We're focusing on getting the ball rolling. We were very successful last year in raising funds. We count on the locals to pull us through," he said, noting the $5 advance admission price does not cover all the expenses.
All the entertainers are paid professionals, plus they have printing expenses, advertising costs and the cost of supplies for the various venues.
The New Year's Eve Salem committee is all volunteers, with no paid positions, working under the umbrella of Salem Renaissance Inc. a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
The committee used to charge more for admission, but with the economy the way it has been in recent years, they reduced the price the last couple of years to $5 for advance tickets, which go on sale Dec. 1 at outlets to be announced at a later date, or $8 for tickets sold after Christmas or at the door. All children under 10 years of age are free with a paid adult accompanying them.
"We've been trying to make it more affordable for families to attend," Schwartz said, noting they wanted to make it more accessible for families since the venues are family-oriented.
He said people who donate to the cause would be helping others spend an alcohol-free family night together by enabling the committee to keep the admission cost low.
Anyone wanting to assist can make out a donation to Salem Renaissance Inc. (EIN: 38-855872) and send it to New Year's Eve Salem, P.O. Box 444, Salem, Ohio 44460. Anyone wanting information about New Year's Eve Salem can visit the website at www.newyearsevesalem.com or call 330-817-6NYE (New Year's Eve).
Last year, two new downtown venues were added and this year, the committee is negotiating to add another new venue, focused on magic for kids of all ages and folk and Americana-style music.
"We're excited about having the possibility of a magic venue," Schwartz said.
They'll continue to have a children's venue and entertainment featuring gospel, bluegrass, rock 'n roll and steel drum music at the various locations in the downtown area. The Kent State University City Center will have rock 'n roll, the Salem Masonic Temple will feature bluegrass, the Church of Our Saviour (Episcopal) will offer old-fashioned gospel and the Memorial Building will offer the children's venue.
Train enthusiasts can visit the Sugartree Alley Railroad Depot at the rear of Fred Naragon's law office to see the model train display. History buffs will have the opportunity to see a family-oriented display at the new Dale Shaffer Research Library off of South Lundy Avenue.
Dinner venues will serve up all types of cuisine, including turkey with stuffing, kielbasa and kraut, pizza, sloppy joes, hot dogs and snack foods. All food is at an additional cost.
"We're still growing and we're certainly glad to be back celebrating the New Year with the Salem residents," Schwartz said.
Since New Year's Eve falls on a Monday, the Banquet in Salem will be serving Salem area residents and attendees will receive a ticket to attend the children's venue at the Memorial Building where there will be a ball drop early in the evening.
Some of the New Years's Eve Salem entertainers returning this year will include Abbey Road, the Tribute Band featuring the Strader family, Allegheny Drifters, Dulci-More, Chip Richter and God's Quad. He said they're hoping to get the Stockdale Family Band back again.
"There's something for everybody," he said.
Other coordinators for the event include Bill Schilling, Randy Strader, Mike Grimstad, John Gilbert and Connie Cranmer.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org