Plans for July Fourth festival gearing up

PENDLETON — Summer will be here before we know it, so it isn’t too early to start thinking about the annual Fourth at the Falls celebration of the July Fourth holiday. This year’s event looks to have as much fun and excitement as ever.

The Fourth at the Falls will start as usual with the parade through downtown Pendleton, starting at 4 p.m. at the old high school and culminating at Falls Park.

Grand marshal for this year’s parade will be a group of special needs children from South Madison Community Schools. They will also assist with the opening ceremonies, which begin at Falls Park at 5 p.m.

One of the new developments this year is a new sponsor, according to Main Street Association Chairman Joe McCord.

“Our main sponsor this year is Community Hospital,” McCord said. “At five o’clock, Tyson Priest — he’s a minister in Lapel — will be our master of ceremonies at the opening ceremony at the park.”

At the close of the opening ceremonies, which will include the “Star Spangled Banner,” activities at the park will open, including many attractions for kids.

“We’ll have our normal bounce toys this year for the children,” McCord said. “We’ve got a joust range, giant slide, two bouncy houses, a 38-foot obstacle course, and a 40-foot dual lane obstacle course.”

McCord said there are plenty of vendors already lined up for attendees to sample.

“We’ve got the Lions Club, which is corn on the cob, mainly,” McCord said. “Kiwanis, which is K-Burgers; Greek’s Pizza, Good’s Ice Cream; and Falls Perk with coffee and smoothies. Also, Sigma Chi Gamma will be there serving strawberry shortcake and lemonade.”

Live music will start at 5:30 p.m. with three bands taking turns on the stage. The Walker Band, Cliff Ritchey, and Morgan and Tom Turner of Stella Luna and the Satellites are scheduled to perform sets of about an hour and a half each.

Between shows, while bands are tearing down and setting up, a DJ will be playing music to keep the entertainment going.

In addition to being an on-site vendor for the event, Falls Perk also will be a hub for information on the event in the weeks leading up to the Fourth.

“You’ll be able to buy T-shirts at Falls Perk coffeehouse starting in May,” McCord said. “They’re neat shirts that glow in the dark; they’ll be in the $15 area. Parade applications and the show fliers will also be at Perks, but we want the parade people to sign up early. Historically they wait until the last minute.”

McCord is hoping for a wide variety of entrants for this year’s parade.

“We’re looking for classic cars, motorcycles, floats, organizations or anything that looks good,” he said.

For more details, people can contact events@mainstreetpendleton.org or Joe McCord at 765-778-4732.

McCord said the deadline for entering the parade is June 23, but he hopes interested parties will enter well before then.

“I don’t want to get 60 entries on the 23rd and have to deal with that,” he said with a laugh.

McCord added he would like to see a lot of junior league and high school sports teams in this year’s parade.

All entries for the parade will be free.

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Rob Hunt covers news, sports and other happenings in South Madison County. He can be reached at rhunt@pendletontimespost.com or (765) 778-2324.