Johnson City Press Thursday, October 2, 2014
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Independence Day events abound in Tri-Cities

June 28th, 2014 10:22 pm by David Floyd, Press Staff Writer

Independence Day events abound in Tri-Cities

Fireworks are just one of the many activities scheduled to take place in Northeast Tennessee this July 4. (Dave Boyd/Johnson City Press)

Some people prefer to spend the Fourth of July at home. There’s nothing bad about that, but considering the number of events being held in the region, it would be a pity to squander valuable family time watching fireworks on TV.

A number of cities and counties are planning events that are both affordable and fun.

Freedom Hall Civic Center

Starting at 5 p.m., Johnson City will host a massive concert on the soccer fields beside Freedom Hall. Crafts and food vendors will be set up in the parking lot alongside the stage. There will be four featured performers: Brinley Addington, Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier, the Twang Bangers and Jon Pardi, a rising star in the country music world.

Pardi has achieved national success with his hits “Up All Night” and “Missin’ You Crazy.”

“We’re very up-tempo,” Pardi said to describe his band’s brand of music. “We’re kind of throwback, but also modern.”

After the performances, there will be a special tribute to all U.S. armed forces. The fireworks will start around 9:55.

Several giveaways will be awarded during the day, including a car from Champion Chevrolet. More information about the prizes and how to enter can be found at www.pepsi-fireworks.com.

The walking track at Kermit Tipton Stadium will be closed all day Friday until noon Saturday to prepare for the fireworks display. The west side of the stadium, the Liberty Bell Boulevard entrance, will also be closed to all foot traffic beginning Tuesday until noon Saturday.

Jonesborough Days

Jonesborough’s celebration occurs over the span of three days: Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Food and crafts vendors will begin serving customers at noon Thursday. The annual festival kickoff dinner will be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the International Storytelling Center. The event is sponsored by Food City and will include a low country shrimp boil. There will be a $12 admission fee.

Food for all three days will be served by local vendors and will include a diverse set of entrees — fish, tamales, funnel cakes, hot dogs, hamburgers and barbecue.

The town’s parade begins Friday at 10 a.m. with the theme being “Sweet Summertime.” Its duration will be determined by the number of entrants. Parade floats will be competing for a number of awards: the Mayor’s Award for the most patriotic float, the Schubert Club Award for the best musical entry and the Kiwanis Club Award for the entry that best caters to family and children.

Fireworks will begin at 10 p.m. Saturday. More information can be found on the Jonesborough Days Facebook page.

Elizabethton

Elizabethton’s Independence Day event will be held Friday at Covered Bridge Park from 1-4 p.m. It will begin with a special patriotic ceremony with a recognition of veterans, a performance by the Watauga Valley Fife and Drum Corps and a public recitation of the national anthem. The celebration will begin afterward with inflatables for children, food, presentations by the National Guard and a show by Mr. Bill, a local performer.

At 1:30, there will be a Patriotic Bike Parade. Bikes should come pre-decorated with the owner of the most elaborately decorated bike receiving a prize.

Jerry Pierce & The Nightlife Band and the Bullseye Band will perform at the celebration.

Starting at 7, the Elizabethton Twins will play the Bluefield Blue Jays at Joe O’Brien Field. The fireworks show will commence at 9:45 or immediately after the game. Cost for admittance is $4 for adults and $3 for children or seniors. Visitors can enter for free if they arrive after the fifth inning. People can also go to Riverside Park if they prefer a waterside view of the display.

Erwin

Erwin’s Chamber of Commerce will host the county’s first Fourth of July parade Friday. The parade will begin at 11 a.m. and start in the parking lot of Unicoi County Middle School. It will end at 1 p.m. in Veterans Memorial Park.

World War II veterans George Hatcher and Dick Franklin, the two surviving members of the Erwin Nine, will serve as the event’s grand marshals. The WWII veterans will be followed by veterans of the Korean War, Vietnam War and Desert Storm offensive. The parade will also feature a special salute to veterans returning to Unicoi County from tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Kingsport

Kingsport’s Mack Riddle 4th of July Parade will begin Friday at 10 a.m. and end around noon. It will feature six professional floats and music performed by local marching bands.

Food vendors will begin serving at 5 p.m. Options will include Pratt’s Real Pit Barbecue, Beach Hut, Vito’s, Shabby Allie’s, Slammin’ Sammy’s Sandwiches and TK’s Big Dog Hot Dogs.

Before the parade, Fleet Feet will sponsor the Red, White, & BOOM! 4-miler. The race will start at 7:45 with runners beginning in Church Circle, looping around Kingsport’s downtown area and ending back at Church Circle. The event will also feature a 2-mile walk. Afterward there will be a pancake breakfast hosted at First Broad Street United Methodist Church. Registration will continue up to the day of the race and costs $28.

Rogersville

Rogersville will host its festivities Friday and Saturday. The celebration will begin Friday at 4 p.m. with a parade. The parade will include a cruise-in, allowing people to follow the route in their cars for a guided tour of historic downtown Rogersville.

Saturday will start with a 5K race at 7 a.m. and a three-on-three basketball tournament.

The main festival will begin at noon Saturday in Rogersville City Park with food and crafts. The event will also feature customary attractions like the Kid Zone, Water Wars, a variety of inflatables and a giant fireworks show at the end of the concert. Musicians will include contemporary Christian artist Matthew West and country music star Dustin Lynch. Visitors will not be charged admission.

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