RIO GRANDE — Rockets Over Rio will be taking off once more Oct. 14. at the traditional time of around 9:30 p.m. in celebration of the event’s 11th year along with Alpha Mu Beta’s Foxtrot 5k earlier that morning.
According to Rio Grande Mayor Matt Easter, this will be the eighth year the event will be put on using nothing but donation money. The first few years, the municipality did contribute some funding. Easter said the first show started on a budget of $3,000 and has only grown larger ever since. The next year, a few sponsors added to the efforts and within the third year the show was funded solely on donations.
“We’re proud to say this is funded through donations as small as $20 and going to $2,000,” said Easter. “It’s always been about providing a free evening of fun and entertainment for families. It’s generally a big weekend with the Bob Evans Farm Festival, the Fox Trot for the Lorie Neal Scholarship and soccer games.”
All the events are hosted and organized separately.
Concessions are traditionally held in support of the Rio Grande Volunteer Fire Department during the show as Legendary Entertainment sets off the pyrotechnic display. Fireworks typically start once all the soccer games on the Evan Davis Field finish as the firework launching tubes are placed nearby with the permission of the University of Rio Grande.
“It all began as just a tiny little idea,” Easter previously said about last year’s event. “I asked the village council (about the fireworks). Towns need fireworks shows. I’ve always believed that and it brings people out. We didn’t want to compete with fireworks around the Fourth of July. So, seeing as we have so many guests this time of year and we have the beautiful location that the university supplies, (the village decided on a launch date in October).”
This year’s show will be dedicated to longtime Rio Grande resident Pam Shaw. According to Easter, as the wife of a village firefighter, Shaw was a longtime supporter of village events and efforts.
The fourth annual Fox Trot, the primary fund raiser for the Lorie Neal Scholarship, is scheduled for Saturday Oct. 14 at 8 a.m. with registration beginning at 7 a.m. at the University of Rio Grande.
As a past director of the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce, the late Lorie Neal passed away unexpectedly on September 25, 2013. As a member of the Alpha Mu Beta sorority and University of Rio Grande graduate, her colleagues say they remember her for her commitment to her community and to helping businesses, organizations and Gallia County as a whole reach their fullest potential.
Neal was a native of Meigs County where she attended and graduated from Eastern High School as Lorie Falls. Neal’s colleagues remember her for her work ethic and academic achievement which landed her scholarships and financial support that allowed her to pursue her own higher education. Sorority members say because of this history and the barriers that she overcame, Neal’s sorority and its alumni group have established the AMB Alumni Loire Neal Scholarship. This scholarship is intended to honor Neal and to support recipients who have shown the same high value on scholastic achievement while also working to serve and support their communities.
Funds from the Fox Trot 5K go to support the scholarship awarded annually to a chosen student of the University of Rio Grande and active member of Alpha Mu Beta.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.