Pelham Independence Day Celebration Explodes with Community Fun

July 15, 2016


by Tom Tollefson

Last Sunday, July 3, was a day to benefit the town of Pelham in a celebration of the birth of our great nation.  All in attendance at the Pelham Independence Day Celebration, hosted outside on the grounds of Pelham Elementary School, had the opportunity to enjoy food and take home items such as American flags, glow sticks, and other items as the funds and donations generated went to support 17 town and non-profit organizations.  The Pelham Community Spirit sponsored and ran the annual event again this year for the 20th consecutive time.

The following organizations took part in the day:  ARNNE (Animal Rescue Network of New England), Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Crossroads Church, First Congregational Church, Free to Breathe, Friends of Pelham High Football, John H. Hargreaves Memorial Post 10722 Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Pelham Firefighters’ Association.

Many of the children flocked to the table for the Friends of Pelham High Football.  For a small fee each child took a turn at using a golf club to get a hole in one.  Anyone who got the ball in twice in a row would win $200.  The money generated from the game went to the Pelham High School Football team for equipment and an equipment shed.

“It’s great!  Everyone’s been very supportive.  Pelham Community Spirit couldn’t have done more for us to be successful.  They had us ready to go at 10:00, gave us a perfect sport, and communicated with us throughout the weeks (leading up to the event) and made sure we were all set,” said Esther Lawson, president of Friends of Pelham High Football.

While the day was still jam packed with food, games, vendors, music, and fireworks after dark, it did not have as many activities as in years past.  The Pelham Community Spirit members believe that the celebration will be much larger next year with the help of community involvement.  They welcome everyone and are encouraging all individuals and town groups to join their efforts in continuing to make their event a success next year.  They are especially looking to recruit new members.  Anyone interested in joining the group or helping next year can e-mail info@pelhamcommunityspirit or look at their website at

“You get to do things for the community and it’s good for the town,” said Phil Blanchett, director of Pelham Community Spirit.

Crossroads Church was once again a part of the day this year.  The church’s youth group came out to sell root beer floats to pay for some of their children, grades 6-12, to attend Camp Lift, a Christian summer camp.  Several church members also came out to provide music for the day by playing a variety of popular songs through their speakers system.  In the past, Crossroads’ Church band has played at the celebration, and they plan to return next year.

“Unfortunately, we had some big events this summer and they took up our resources, but we’ll be back next year with our band.  We’re just glad to be here with the youth group,” said Crossroads Church member Taylor Gordon.

Residents still poured in by the hundreds and, most likely, into the thousands as they do every year for the festive celebration.  The grounds of the event at Pelham Elementary School were so packed with residents that the police department had to shut down part of Marsh Road at the end of the night to alleviate some of the traffic as cars exited the grounds.

According to many of the parents and children, the fireworks were the highlight activity of the day.  Hundreds lined up in lawn chairs or sitting on the ground to watch the town of Pelham set off fireworks from the baseball field behind Pelham Elementary School.  They also enjoyed the food, such as the fried dough.

“They always have good food,” said Tracy Hussey, teacher at Pelham Elementary School.

The Independence Day celebration was just one of several annual events the Pelham Community Spirit sponsors.  Other events include the Pelham Farmer’s Market during the spring and fall on Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m., the Summer Concert Series on the Village Green, and the Southern New Hampshire Festival of the Trees around Christmas time.  Their mission is to provide private/public community organizations and businesses with fundraising opportunities by sponsoring special events.