By Joey McWilliams
DURANT – Getting some rain in southeastern Oklahoma a day or two before the Fourth of July is often good for fireworks sales.
Too much of a good thing doesn’t always turn out well.
With the storms of the past weekend, many small and large fireworks stands and tents took damage to structure and to merchandise.
The Durant High School band has been working with Fireworks World for a number of years as a part of its yearly fundraising effort. A extension of the fundraising was with a tent situated at Big Lots in Durant and took significant damage. Band director Chris Gregg summed it up.
“The evening of July 2, we had a pretty bad storm come through,” Gregg said. “And I guess we’ve had that pretty much every night lately. It blew our tent away in town in the Big Lots parking lot and it ruined all the product there.
“Nobody counts on that. We thank God nobody was hurt; that’s the main thing. But it will definitely affect our fundraising this year.”
Gregg said it wasn’t just the merchandise that was lost, but also the computers, which belonged to Fireworks World, that were used as cash registers.
Acquiring money for public schools and departments like the band has an importance that seems to only grow with the educational budget shortfalls in Oklahoma. But this isn’t the only fundraiser the Pride of Durant will be involved in heading into the 2017-2018 school year.
“We’ve going to be doing a fundraiser for Big Lots, working their Family Day, where our kids just help with their picnic and things of that sort on July 22, so we’re going to try to raise some money doing that,” Gregg said. “And we can always take donations.
“Our other fundraisers for the year, will of course include the band cards, which will come up in October. And we’ll probably try to sell the scented candles again. That seems to do pretty well. And beef sticks. That was a big fundraiser for us last year.”
And fans of high school football can also come early to the Durant games as the band boosters host a tailgating event prior to each home game at Paul Laird Field.
“It’s at the Church of Christ Bible Center on University, right before the game,” Gregg said. “And we entertain whoever comes out and watches and you get a really good meal for just $5 or $6 for a grilled burger or chicken sandwich and stuff.
“It’s kind of like a big pep rally before the game and we just have a good time.”
The award-winning Pride of Durant will start preparations for the next marching season by the end of this month.
“Our band camp for marching starts July 31. Officers report July 30 and then the full band reports July 31. That’s the next big thing. Two weeks’ worth of marching band camp and it will be good and hot by then, I’m sure.”