Independence Day Extravaganza at hand
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
We know it as the Fourth of July and Independence Day, and assume that it has always been a holiday. But July 4th has only been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941. Any child who has taken an elementary school social studies module, however, will remind us that the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution, 1775–83.
In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies, fighting in the revolutionary struggle, weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.
On Wednesday, July 4, folks from all over the Big Walnut area will gather in Sunbury for their own version of the annual holiday, the 2012 Sunbury Independence Day Extravaganza.
The day begins early, with the 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Flea Market on the Square. Vendors from around the State of Ohio with sell antiques, crafts and everything in between, with plenty of food and beverage vendors serving thirsty and hungry browsers. The Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors the flea market. There will be a $1 flea market admission charge to help pay for community fireworks later in the evening; children under 10 are admitted free of charge.
At 9 a.m. the 13th Annual Memorial Volleyball Tournament gets underway at Big Walnut High School. The fundraising tournament, played outdoors on grass courts, is in memory of Cory Lehman and Steve Morgenstern and in honor of Erin Smith.
Sunbury’s 10 a.m. Independence Day Parade, Read, Write & Bloom, is sponsored by Vision Concept Technology and Indco Electrical Contractors. This year’s parade grand marshal will be Community Library director and chamber board Chauncey Montgomery. The parade is organized by the Sunbury/Galena Rotary Club and will feature more than 75 entries.
Just for children age 10 and under there will be an 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. KidZone on the Square (southwest quad, gazebo corner) sponsored by Ohio Health. The KidZone will feature free bounce house fun, fun frolics games with prizes hosted by Walnut 4-Hers, face painting, corn-hole tournaments and more. Adults must accompany children at all times; adults must pay the $1 square admission charge.
Following the parade at approximately 11 a.m. there will be a Football Skills Punt, Pass & Kick Contest at JR Smith Park hosted by members of the Big Walnut Youth Athletic Association. Sign-ups will be held at the park just prior to the start of competition, and prizes will be awarded. For additional information call Eric Montgomery at 740–965-9594.
As always, late in the day activities move to Big Walnut High School for the 6 to 10 p.m. Sizzling July Fireworks Spectacular, this year sponsored by Mount Carmel St. Ann’s.
New this year, the high school’s senior parking lot will come alive with four hours of live, on-stage entertainment to enjoy before the fireworks show. Bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy the sounds of YESS Youth Entertainment, Dori-Kay Strom, Simba Jordan, the high school’s 15 Minutes of Fame winners, PopArazzi, NylonPink, and maybe an act or two more.
There will also be concession vendors, the Big Walnut Athletic Booster concessions on the visitor side of the high school stadium will be open, and there will be free bounce houses for kids.
For pop and patriotic music, don’t forget to attend the 8 p.m. Big Walnut Community Chorus performance in the Big Walnut High School Auditorium. The concert will feature tunes such as Elvis’ Don’t Be Cruel, ABBA’s Dancing Queen, tunes by Irving Berlin, and, in keeping with the occasion, patriotic favorites such as America, the Beautiful, My Country ‘Tis of Thee, and The Battle Hymn of the Republic. While the concert will be offered free of charge, a free-will offering will be taken to help offset concert costs.
When it’s dark enough, at approximately 10 p.m., the event everyone has been waiting for begins, the Big Walnut area’s Community Fireworks display.
Event organizers remind drivers that community celebrations are pedestrian heavy events. They ask everyone to drive carefully to do their part to provide an accident-free Fourth of July.
The 2012 Independence Day Community Fireworks are sponsored by the Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce, the Village of Sunbury, Sunbury Chiropractic Center, Vision Concept Technology, American Showa, Ultimate Technology & Security Solutions, Immediate Health Associates/Sunbury Urgent Care, Feazel Roofing Company, Jackson Farms, Cellar Lumber & Roofing Supply, Mudflats Bar & Grill, Eagle Auto Repair, Forman Mini-Storage, BST&G Firefighters Association, Molly’s Flowers & More, Journey Fellowship, DeVore/Snyder Funeral Homes and Sunbury VFW Post 8736.
Event organizers said fireworks sponsors are still needed to help enlarge and extend the display. For additional information about the Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Fourth of July Celebration, or to become a fireworks sponsor, contact the Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce office at 740–965-2860.