VIDEO: Let's make it happen....

Friday, May 22, 2020
Brazil Rotary Club officials met at Forest Park Thursday to announce the future of the 4th of July Celebration this year during COVID-19.

Brazil Rotary Club officials gathered for a public announcement at Forest Park on May 21, 2020, regarding the upcoming Rotary’s 85th annual 4th of July Celebration. Featured in the video are President Chad Schopmeyer (left) and President-elect (2021) Rob Dispennett (right) who talk about the fundraising effort called "Best Bang For The Buck."

GoFundMe Link for Brazil Rotary Club Fundraiser - Goal of $10,000


The annual Brazil Rotary 4th of July Celebration is facing problems from COVID-19 and finances, but a unique idea called "Best Bang For A Buck" might be the answer.

The idea behind the fundraiser is, "This festival makes giving possible."

Rotary's motto is "Service Above Self," with members working in the community throughout the year to "give back."

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic and social distancing requirements as well as other protocols issued by the Indiana State Department of Health, Rotary Club officials announced Thursday the annual Celebration at Forest Park would not be like those of the past 84 years. However, Rotary President Chad Schopmeyer said the event would be scaled back, but still be a memorable time for the community to come together and enjoy it.

A three-day event is scheduled for July 3-5th. It features a new golf outing, the essential local non-for-profit food vendors as well as other vendors, free musical entertainment, and, of course, the annual fireworks show.

The carnival usually raises enough money to pay for the annual fireworks display (estimated at $17,000-$20,000) and is beloved by many local families and children. Still, it was canceled due to COVID-19.

"Even though scaled back, we hope to have plenty for people of all ages to do and enjoy during this year's celebration in the park," said Schopmeyer, who added the loss of the carnival not only impacts local families with children, but it was a big part of paying the bills.

Another crowd-pleaser is currently on the schedule; The Van-Dells will return to perform a show on Sunday, July 5, at 5 p.m.

On Tuesday, Schopmeyer said the Wabash Valley Community Foundation donated $10,000 to help cover some of the club's expenses. But that's not enough to cover the cost of the Celebration and continue with charitable work throughout the year.

The group just doesn't want to pay the bills for the community celebration; it wants to make sure there's enough left to continue giving back to the community in the future. The Rotary Club of Brazil focuses on giving back to Clay County annually, awarding up to $20,000 to local charitable organizations and through scholarships.

Schopmeyer and President-elect (2021) Rob Dispennett both said the board gathered recently to discuss if they should or how they could proceed with the annual Celebration.

"We unanimously decided to go on with the celebration even if it meant we go broke doing it," said *****. "This is a part of our community, and it has been for years. As a community coming out of COVID-19, we need this right now."

The mainstay of celebrating Independence Day is fireworks.

"We figured it costs approximately $20 for each of the more than 800 firework shells that light up the sky during the show put on by Mark Adamson, who has done it for the past 50 years," said Dispennett, who hopes the public will want to invest what will be a historical event. "When you are sitting there with your child, or grandchild on your lap watching the fireworks this year, you can tell them, 'I donated $20 so you could see that one go up in the air.'"

To raise funds necessary to cover the cost, Schopmeyer said the club is asking for the public to invest whatever they can afford in the "Best Bang For A Buck" to support the event despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Times are tough, so any amount of donation will be helpful.

Two local banks are currently setting up accounts to accept donations, but the full details were not available as of press time. Schopmeyer said people could ask their bank if the Rotary has an account to donate "or find someone wearing a yellow Rotary shirt to help them do that."

Rotary Club members Schopmeyer, Andrew Bowman, and Chris Rodgers helped set up a GoFundMe account at A $10,000 is set, and as of 3 p.m. Friday more than a dozen people had contributed more than $800.

As for the Rotary's annual ticket sales, the Indiana Gaming Commission has stopped all charitable gaming activities and will update organizers as soon as these guidelines have been changed or lifted. Organizers said as the date for the Celebration gets closer, there will be more information about a potential raffle or possible 50/50 drawing during this year's event.

The schedule of the three-day 85th Annual Brazil Rotary Club 4th of July Celebration is as follows:

NOTE: Free Entertainment is scheduled for the Band Shell unless rain requires it to move to the Pavilion (AKA the Cow Palace).


(Some may events be added, and it is subject to change - visit the Brazil Rotary Club's Facebook page or for last-minute updates.)

Friday, July 3

5 p.m.-11 p.m. Vendors in the park, including food vendors from our community

8-11 pm-Endless Summer Band (variety)

Saturday, July 4

12 p.m.-11 pm-Vendors in the park, including food vendors from our community

2-5 pm-Triggerhead band (rock and country)

5-6 pm-45th annual John Thomas Memorial Sack Races

7-9:45 pm-Big Fun Band (variety)


Sunday, July 5

12 p.m.-9 pm-Vendors in the park, including food vendors from our community

1-3 pm-Morris Mott Faith Band (Christian Country music)

5-6:30 pm-The Van-Dells (Nation's #1 Rock and Roll Review)

8-9 pm-Brazil Concert Band patriotic program

All music and music for the Fireworks will be broadcast live on WAMB Radio 106.9i and AM 1130 in Brazil and 99.5 in Terre Haute. SHOWTIMES & LOCATIONS MAY CHANGE - Depending on weather conditions.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: