For 28 years, the annual Pepsi Independence Day Fireworks Celebration at Freedom Hall Civic Center has entertained many across the region, and organizers hope to continue that trend with this year’s Fourth of July event.
Event sponsors and city officials announced plans Wednesday morning for this year’s Fourth of July celebration presented by Food City at a news conference held at the main entrance of Freedom Hall.
“It sounds like we’re going to have some great entertainment this year — something newer, better. Last year, we had a really, really good crowd. We’re very happy to see that we’re continuing a great tradition between the city of Johnson City and Pepsi and all of our sponsors,” Freedom Hall Director Lisa Chamness said.
This year’s event is scheduled for Thursday, July 4, and organizers are expecting several thousand to attend the Independence Day festivities.
“The fact that it’s on a Thursday night, a lot of people have Friday off, so that’s going to help increase the crowd. We do have the shuttle buses for people who don’t want to deal with the traffic, but it should just be a great event. We’re really excited and 28 years, that’s a long time to be doing something,” said Tim Swecker, unit sales manager for Pepsi Beverages Co. of Johnson City.
Sponsors of the celebration include Erwin Motors, WJHL, WXBQ, Johnson City Press, Dixie Stampede, Bristol Motor Speedway, Foster Signs, Courtyard Marriott and Lamar.
While the fireworks show — which is being presented by Pyro Shows of Lafollette — is the main attraction, the event’s other entertainment includes a lineup of country artists, including the Grammy-winning group Confederate Railroad.
Entertainment is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. with Kingsport native Brinley Addington, followed by Pigeon Forge-based bluegrass group Jimbo Whaley and the Greenbriar Band at 6:30 p.m.
Confederate Railroad will take the stage at 8:10 p.m.
There will be two tributes to the armed forces throughout the night, including right before the fireworks display, which is scheduled to begin at 9:55.
In addition to all of the entertainment scheduled throughout the evening, the Fourth of July event will feature plenty of food and craft vendors and a children’s area on the grounds of Freedom Hall.
People also will have the chance to register for prizes, including a Bristol Motor Speedway August Race Weekend ticket package, a Great Smoky Mountains Super Pack Vacation Getaway provided by Dixie Stampede, and a 2013 Ford Fiesta five-door hatchback provided by Erwin Motors.
“With all the music, prizes and fireworks, we think this is a wonderful way to say happy birthday to this great nation of ours and hope everyone will come out and enjoy themselves,” Swecker said.
As usual, free transportation will be provided by the city throughout the evening.
For more information about this year’s Pepsi Independence Day Fireworks Celebration, visit www.pepsi-fireworks.com.