The 2019 N.C. 4th of July Festival has received a $10,000 donation from local businesses American Fish Company and The Frying Pan Restaurant.

These Platinum Sponsors made a $10,000 donation in 2018 designated for the festival’s fireworks display. This year’s donation is also designated for the fireworks but was made in honor and memory of the late Ed Harper, editor of The State Port Pilot newspaper for 46 years and who passed away last November.

The 4th of July Festival depends on sponsors to support as well as maintain the quality of the many festival events.

“We love to support our community and give back in ways that really benefit the area,” said Craig Blanks, General Manager of the Frying Pan Restaurant. “We are especially proud to support the N.C. 4th of July Festival.”

The festival is celebrating its 224th year, said Festival Chair Trisha Howarth.

“While The State Port Pilot hasn’t been in existence that long, it has been covering the festival since its establishment in 1928, and the festival relies on the paper each year to promote the events, recognize our sponsors, and showcase heart-warming accounts that tell our citizens and visitors stories,” said Howarth.

“I was delighted as the chair of this year’s festival to receive this $10,000 fireworks donation in memory and honor of Ed Harper, The State Port Pilot’s editor and tireless supporter of the festival,” Howarth added. “American Fish Company and The Frying Pan’s generous donation toward the fireworks makes a big difference to the display that is enjoyed by thousands the night of the 4th of July.

“This year, in particular, I will be watching them and remembering Ed with gratitude for all he did for the community and the festival.”

Blanks wanted American Fish Company and The Frying Pan Restaurant to honor Harper as a friend, and as a supporter of Southport and its events.

“Ed was a big part of the community, and the reason we made the donation last year,” Blanks said. “We all miss him and what he did for Southport.

“Hopefully people remember Ed and continue his good work for the betterment of our community.”