A family picnic -- complete with children's games and helicopter rides -- is the latest of numerous fund-raisers Union Bridge has organized to help pay for the new Town Hall.
Since the town moved to the Locust Street offices in October, about $15,000 in mortgage payments and principal has been shaved off the $200,000 construction loan.
To make payments on the 20-year loan, the Union Bridge Town Funding Committee has held bake sales, gun raffles and monthly breakfasts.
The breakfasts take in about $1,000 each, and a gun raffle and sale of souvenir bricks to commemorate the building's opening have added $1,248 to the committee's funds. Proceeds from last year's family picnic totaled $2,611.
Kathleen D. Kreimer, the town's clerk/treasurer, said several local organizations unable to send volunteers to the picnic this year have promised to send a donation.
Without the fund-raisers, Mrs. Kreimer said, the town would have to raise the tax rate an additional 14 cents to cover the minimum monthly mortgage payment of $1,544.61.
Every cent on the tax rate raises about $1,300, she said. The current rate is 73 cents per $100 of assessed value.
A breakfast in May raised more than $1,100, which helped pay for two Colonial pole lights installed in front of the building this week.
Mrs. Kreimer said the lights, with black wrought iron bases and glass globes, add charm to the red brick building and complement the historical Pump House next door.
The town plans to renovate a room in the Pump House, which dates to 1904, for use as a museum.
To finance that project, the Union Bridge Area Heritage Committee will sponsor a bus trip on Sept. 17 to Winterthur -- the Delaware home of Henry Francis du Pont known for its large collection of antique furniture and paintings.
Although the Town Hall project has been costly, Union Bridge residents agree it was long overdue.
Town officials, who worked from a cramped, one-room office at 1 W. Broadway for 70 years, now have "five offices, a big meeting hall and a conference room," Mrs. Kreimer said.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building is set for Oct. 15.
Volunteers from the Union Bridge Area Heritage Committee, Boy Scout Troop 330, the Brethren Church of Union Bridge, Union Bridge United Methodist Church, the Lions Club and the Masonic lodge will set up food and craft booths for the third annual picnic, to be held from noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 11 on the grounds of the Lehigh cement plant.
"It's been a real community effort," Mrs. Kreimer said.
Added this year are several activities and games for children, including wagon rides, a duck pond, milk bottle toss, bean bag throw and petting zoo.
Food stands will offer homemade soups, sandwiches, nachos, hamburgers, hot dogs, sauerkraut, snow balls and ice cream.
Musical entertainment will be provided by the Westminster Municipal Band and the Strawbridge Ensemble, and tours of the Lehigh plant will be offered.
The picnic is held in conjunction with the Union Bridge Fire Company's annual breakfast. Pairing the two events has helped boost attendance, Mrs. Kreimer said.
She added that the event will offer something for everyone -- even those with a taste for adventure.
Tim Fritz, a pilot with Advanced Helicopter Concepts of Frederick, will donate his time to offer residents a view from the air.
"The helicopter rides always sell out," Mrs. Kreimer said. "The pilot knows the area very well and will fly over your house on request."