Celebrate! Lots of Fourth of July events in the area

The 237th anniversary of the publication of the U.S. Declaration of Independence from Great Britain will be celebrated throughout the local area with parades, activities and, of course, fireworks displays Thursday.

The annual Fourth of July parade kicks off at 10 a.m. in Marietta, and organizers encourage the entire community to join in the procession.

“We call it the ‘people’s parade’ and anyone who wants to be part of it is welcome, whether they ride a bicycle or walk along with us-the more the merrier,” said Jim Rhodes, commander of AMVETS Post 1788, which sponsors the Independence Day procession.

He said local politicians are welcome to participate in the parade, but handing out any campaign literature along the parade route is the candidate’s responsibility.

Anyone wishing to take part in the parade should arrive at the lineup location on the corner of Fourth and Butler streets no later than 9:30 a.m.

The parade route follows Fourth Street to Putnam Street, then turns west onto Second Street and south to Butler Street, then west to Front Street and north to Armory Square where a short ceremony is expected to take place.

The Marietta area celebration continues as the Washington County Fairgrounds open at 2 p.m. for an afternoon and evening of entertainment for the whole family. Admission is $6, and children 5 and under get in free.

“We’ll have a car show from 2 to 4 p.m., and inflatables for the children from 2 to 7 p.m.,” said Paul Barth, fair board president.

He said there will be no carnival rides this year because the Fourth of July falls on a weekday, and it would be too costly to set up the rides for a single-day event.

A demolition derby is slated to begin at 7 p.m. and Rhodes said any local drivers who want to participate can sign up for the event. A pit pass for the derby costs $15. A mandatory inspection of all derby vehicles will begin at 4 p.m.

“We’d like to have 25 to 30 cars participating in the demolition derby,” Barth said, adding that this year’s derby is being organized by members of the fair board.

Capping off the fairgrounds celebration will be a fireworks display at 10 p.m.

“The fairgrounds are by far the best place to watch this year’s fireworks,” said fair board member Dick Henthorn.

He noted the admission price for the day’s events at the fairgrounds helps cover the board’s cost of around $5,500 for the annual pyrotechnics display.

In case of rain Thursday, Henthorn said the fireworks would be held at the same time on Friday night.

The Fourth of July is also a big day for the Village of Beverly where the Beverly Lions Club is sponsoring a day-long celebration behind Fort Frye High School that includes the 16th annual Antique Tractor and Engine Show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tractor clubs and individuals are welcome to participate said Lions Club member Walt Schaad.

“We have antique farm tractors and gasoline engines on display, and anyone is welcome to be part of it,” he said. “It’s a nice show, and it’s all free. These people take a lot of pride in this equipment.”

He said one highlight this year is an antique tractor that was purchased locally by a man from Tennessee who took it home and restored the vehicle and is bringing it back to display on Thursday.

At noon there will be a ceremonial flag raising, followed at 1 p.m. by a tractor parade and rodeo.

“The rodeo is a race where each of the tractor operators see how slow they can go,” Schaad explained. “The last one over the finish line wins.”

He said there will be plenty of food concessions available throughout the day, as well as drawings for prizes that include $100 fuel cards and other gifts.

Fireworks, sponsored by the Beverly American Legion, will finish out the Fourth of July celebration at 10 p.m.

In Little Hocking, the Little Hocking Volunteer Fire Department’s 50th Fourth of July celebration will begin at 4 p.m., at the Little Hocking Elementary School.

The festivities will include a parade, chicken dinner, ice cream social, music for all ages and plenty of games for children.