Two fireworks shows, a pair of parades, a campout at the Highland County Fairgrounds and the Festival of the Bells should give local residents plenty of options around the Fourth of July weekend.
Fireworks displays will take place Wednesday, July 3 at the fairgrounds in Hillsboro and Saturday, July 6 at Rocky Fork State Park.
There will be two separate parades on Thursday, July 4. The first one is a new event at Rocky Fork that will start at 10 a.m. and the second will kick off the Festival of the Bells at 5:30 p.m.
The Highland County Fairgrounds will host a campout July 3-7 and those taking part will have a front row seat for the Wednesday fireworks. The cost for four nights of camping with water and electric hookup is $150. Fair board member Wayne Bowman said if someone does not want to camp all four nights, the cost will be $40 per night.
He said there will be kids games and raffles for things like VIP tickets to the Festival of Bells concerts.
“It’s just a place to camp out close to the Festival of Bells,” Bowman said.
He said the fairgrounds plans to host another campout Oct. 11-13 with a Halloween theme and events like a costume parade and pumpkin decorating activities.
The fireworks display from the fairgrounds can best be viewed from the parking areas across Fairground Road from the fairgrounds. But they can be seen from several other locations including the former Hillsboro High School site off West Main Street.
This will be the fourth year for a fireworks display in Hillsboro after it had been absent from the city for nine years.
Prior to the 15- to 20-minute display by Rozzi Famous Fireworks, Scott Lewis, who helps organize the display with his brother Chris at Lewis Financial Group in Hillsboro, said sponsors are invited to a hospitality time at the Multipurpose Building on the fairgrounds starting at 7 p.m.
“I’m a veteran and I’m patriotic and it aggravated me that we didn’t have any fireworks in the city, so we decided to bring them back. I think it’s a great thing,” Lewis said.
Scott Lewis said 4-H kids will be driving around the primary viewing area selling ice cream as a fundraiser.
He said the fireworks are being held on July 3 because other places have them on July 4 and there is a Festival of the Bells Christian concert on July 4 that they didn’t want to interfere with.
Sponsors that make the fireworks possible include the city of Hillsboro, Highland County Fairboard, Amatha Farrens State Farm Insurance, S&K Dairy Cup, Mark Edenfield Inc., Bear Mechanical, Chuck Emery, Irvin Hill Enterprises, Frog Blasters Entertainment, Weastec, Jerry Haag Motors, First State Bank, Southern Hills Bank, Merchants National Bank, Rick’s Home TV & Appliance, Edgington Funeral Homes, Osler Medical Center, Brad Williams Farms, Lewis Financial Group, Shelton Realty, T&S Mechanical and Abbott Image Solutions.
The July 6 Poppin’ & Rockin’ at the Lake celebration put on by the Rocky Fork Community Alliance (RFCA) runs from 5-11 p.m. It is based in the North Beach area and includes a cookout starting at 5 p.m. with hot dogs, chips, cookies and bottled water while supplies last; a flag raising at 5 p.m.; music; and other food vendors. The fireworks begin at dusk.
Members of the RFCA did not return phone calls and messages seeking more information.
The July 4 parade at the lake is a new event open to anyone wanting to participate. Lineup will begin at 9 a.m. at the parking lot at Beechwood Pizza on North Shore Drive. The parade will travel down North Shore Drive to North Beach Road and end at the new playground area at North Beach.
Sarah Roe, a local resident helping organize the parade, said Monday that there were 13 to 14 entries at the time.
“I grew up with a large Fourth of July parade at a lake and I want to raise our children that way,” said Roe, originally from Indian River, Mich. with Mirror Lake nearby. “In our hometown it was a really big deal with people handing out free ice cream and things like that.”
Roe said she and those helping her tried to get the RFCA involved, but it was busy with its July 4 celebration, so they decided to organize a parade on their own. Anyone wanting more information can contact Roe at 937-218-1699.
The Festival of the Bells Parade was dropped last year when the event moved to Southern State Community College. But it is being brought back this year.
The theme for this year’s parade is “Faith, Family and Freedom.” The parade will line up at the Hobart parking lot at 3:30 p.m. and will march up Carl Smith Drive, through the roundabout and conclude at Lowe’s.
All organizations, churches, businesses, and interested individuals are invited and encouraged to participate. No preregistration is necessary. Information will be taken at the lineup. Judging will begin at 4:30 p.m. for floats. The parade will begin at 5:30 p.m.
Awards will be given in the following categories: Best Theme, Most Patriotic, Best Religious, and Most Humorous.
The Festival of Bells runs July 4-6. It features Christian musician Ryan Stevenson with special guest Lindsay Huggins at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, July 4; country artist Tyler Rich at 9 p.m. Friday, July 5; and country artist Devin Dawson at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 6. Local group Blue Steel will be the warmup act from 6-8 p.m. Friday. There will not be a warmup act Saturday.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.