ELLWOOD CITY — A retired teacher penned a short essay that recently won the borough $6,000 for its annual fireworks display.
Nancy Breyer entered her essay in a national contest by cable channel Destination America, USA Weekend and Armstrong.
The contest, called “Red, White and You,” asked people to share their story and tell why their community deserves a special Fourth of July celebration.
Ellwood City was a runner up, but that honor still earned the festival $6,000 for its fireworks.
Breyer said she saw an ad for the contest in March, quickly wrote her essay, sent it in and then forgot about it.
“I didn’t think anything of it. I happened to be online and wrote something real quick. I didn’t think I’d win,” she said.
To her surprise, she got a call this month from Destination America telling her that the festival committee would be receiving prize money thanks to her submission.
“I think it’s a great thing. This town needs this kind of boost,” she said.
In the essay, which is about 150 words long, she wrote that Ellwood City has “plain, hard-working, red-blooded citizens of America,” and that winning the contest would provide an economic and morale boost to the community.
Breyer, a retired teacher who taught business classes in the New Brighton Area School District, has lived in Ellwood City for most of her life and even wrote in the essay that her grandmother was the first woman to be born in the borough.
The 34th annual Ellwood City Festival will be July 4 to 6 in Ewing Park. It will feature more than 200 arts and crafts booths, food, entertainment, a 10k race and the Little Miss and Little Mr. Firecracker Patriotic Pageant.
The fireworks display will at 10:15 p.m. July 6 at Helling Stadium.
Festival committee co-chairman Dom Viccari said the essay showed off Ellwood City’s “small town charm.”
“I think it really touched everyone’s heart,” Viccari said.
This year’s festival will be better than ever with the addition of the prizewinnings for the fireworks, Viccari said.
The committee ideally raises $5,000 for the display every year, but in recent years it has fallen short of the goal. In addition to the prize money, the committee will contribute $1,000 to $2,000 this year, he said.
“There will be a groundswell of enthusiasm this year, and an unforgettable fireworks display,” he said.
For information on the festival, visit ellwood-city-festival.net.