By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport knows how to throw a party on the Fourth of July.
The city’s annual Fourth of July celebration will feature the traditional parade, fireworks and more.
“Our festival has a special hometown feel. There’s a closeness to it,” said Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp. “We are ‘Central Ohio’s Hometown.’”
The parade and grand marshal
The celebration will take place on July 4 and begins with the parade at 11 a.m. The parade starts at the Groveport Recreation Center and then goes west on Main Street, then north on Hendron Road and ending at Glendening Elementary.
Westcamp said the parade is one of his favorite things about the festival.
“It’s a chance to see a lot of people who have moved away, but who return to town for the parade,” said Westcamp. “People always come back home.”
Westcamp said the 121st Air Refueling Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard, located at Rickenbacker International Airport, is this year’s grand marshal for the city’s Fourth of July Parade.
Colonel Mark Auer, the commander of the wing, will represent his unit’s 1,200 airmen and women in the parade.
The 121st’s mission is to deliver worldwide air refueling, disaster relief and combat support. Its official designation was received in November 1950. Since then, the unit has supported a number of missions, including the Korean Conflict, Berlin Crises, Gulf War, and Operation Enduring Freedom after 9/11.
Considered one of the premier units in the Air National Guard and Air Force, its men and women are dedicated to continuing their record of outstanding service to the nation, state and community. The unit has received four Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards.
In October 2017, a KC-135 Stratotanker, the “Pride of Groveport,” was dedicated in honor of Groveport.
Westcamp said he is proud of Groveport’s relationship with the 121st, and hopes the unit considers the city its “Hometown.”
Activities & music
Following the parade there will be a variety of activities along Wirt Road from 1-5 p.m. These include free children’s activities, bounce houses, inflatables, and kids’ games. There will be food vendors. Prize giveaways will be held every hour.
From 1-5 p.m. singer, songwriter, and guitarist Larry Carter will perform. The Gas Pump Jockeys will take the stage from 5-7 p.m. and Agent 99 will perform from 7:35 to dusk.
Fireworks begin at dusk on July 4 accompanied by patriotic music. Tune into 88.3 FM on your radio to hear patriotic background music for the fireworks. Anyone within a two mile radius of the festival will be able to pick up the coordinated music.
“The radio connection will make the fireworks even better,” said Westcamp. “It’s going to be unbelievable.”
(The rain date for the fireworks is July 7, at dusk.)
Red, White, and Kids Celebration
The Groveport Red, White, and Kids Celebration will be held July 3 from 5-7 p.m. at the Farmers’ Market near Ace Hardware on Main Street. A kids parade will be held from 6:30-7 p.m. Kids can decorate their bikes, wagons, scooters, and strollers for the kids’ parade. The event also features face painting, crafts, prizes, and treats.
Other celebration news
•No animals will be permitted in the event area at any time during the festival.
•Handicapped parking will be available at the Myers-Woodyard Funeral Home parking lot on Main Street.
•No vehicles will be allowed to come in or leave the festival area on Wirt Road beginning at noon on July 4.
•The Groveport Aquatic Center will open at 1 p.m. on July 4. The Groveport Recreation Center will be closed July 4.
Major sponsors for the Groveport Fourth of July celebration are: Berwick Glass & Mirror Inc.; Dynamix Energy Services Co. LLC; 1st Service Federal Credit Union; Local Waste Services, LTD; and TurnPoint Church.
For information about the Fourth of July festivities, call Groveport Town Hall at 614-836-3333.
Groveport Fourth of July Celebration Schedule of Events
•11 a.m. – Main Street parade. The parade will start at the Groveport Recreation Center and travel west down Main Street, then north on Hendron Road and ending at Glendening Elementary. All activities after the parade will be held along Wirt Road.
•1-5 p.m. – Music on the main stage with singer/guitarist Larry Carter. Free children’s activities along Wirt Road, including: bounce houses, inflatables, and kids games. There will be food vendors. Prize giveaways every hour.
•5-7 p.m. – Music by the Gas Pump Jockeys.
•7:35 – dusk – Music by Agent 99.
•Dusk – Fireworks accompanied by patriotic music. Tune into 88.3 FM on your radio to hear patriotic background music for the fireworks. (Rain date for the fireworks is July 7 at dusk.)