By Rick Palsgrove
The city of Groveport’s annual Fourth of July celebration embraces the community’s small town roots and atmosphere.
“The event is a great way to showcase Groveport and its beautiful Main Street and community,” said Groveport Fourth of July Committee Chairman Bob Garvin. “A lot of people come to town for the parade and fireworks and they see what the town has to offer.”
Garvin said the small town feel of the event is genuine.
“It’s what it’s all supposed to be about,” said Garvin. “It’s relaxed and pleasant. It’s about a community coming together. It’s a day for neighbors to get together and celebrate. It’s also a chance for folks to visit with people who no longer live in the area and who come back for the celebration. It’s a chance to have a good old conversation with friends old and new.”
Fireworks show bigger this year
Garvin said a highlight of this year’s event is that the fireworks display on July 4 will be larger than in previous years and it will be complemented with music.
The city of Groveport budgeted $20,000 for this year’s fireworks, which is the same amount the city spent in 2014, but this year the city is getting more bang for its buck.
“We were able to change vendors and receive a much larger fireworks show – about double the number of shells and with accompanying coordinated music – for the same amount of money,” said Groveport City Administrator Marsha Hall. “The new vendor provides fireworks for the Cincinnati Reds’ ball games and is also the vendor for this year’s city of Gahanna fireworks displays.”
Madison Township Fire Chief Robert Bates said the fireworks display will last about the same amount of time as usual, but with no down time between the firing of the skyrockets.
“The shells will be fired electronically instead of by hand as in the past,” said Bates.
Activities and parades
The celebration on July 4 also features kids games and activities, food vendors, live entertainment and more.
“The activities are all free to the public, except for the food vendors,” said Garvin. “There’s something going on all day long.”
This year the children’s parade will be moved from Main Street to Wirt Road for safety reasons, according to Garvin.
The traditional Main Street parade will feature floats, costumed cartoon characters, the Groveport Madison High School Marching Band and more.
According to Garvin, the Marching Cruisers will be the only high school marching band in the parade.
“We searched far and wide to get more marching bands, but some were already committed to other parades and other bands are not active in the summer these days,” said Garvin.
Garvin said the Groveport Fourth of July celebration is a popular event.
“We had a nice crowd last year and we’re expecting the same this year,” said Garvin. “It’s going to be a nice event.”
Schedule of events
Here is the schedule of activities for Groveport’s Fourth of July celebration, which will be centered in and around Wirt Road and the parking lot south of Main Street on July 4:
•9:30 a.m. – Children’s parade begins near the log house at Heritage Park, 551 Wirt Road.
•11 a.m. – Main Street parade begins at Glendening Drive, then proceeds south on Hendron Road and then east on Main Street.
•Noon to 4:30 p.m. – Kids’ games and activities along with inflatables and bounce houses along Wirt Road and the Groveport Elementary playground.
•2 p.m. – Patriotic Painting presentation on the main stage on Wirt Road.
•3 p.m. – Buckeye State sanctioned kiddie pedal tractor pull on Wirt Road.
•5-6 p.m. – Selections from “The Wizard of Oz” performed by the Groveport Madison High School drama club on the main stage on Wirt Road.
•7:45-9:45 p.m. – The Beatles tribute band, Hard Day’s Night, will perform on the main stage on Wirt Road.
•Dusk – Fireworks set off from Palm Pond in Heritage Park.
Parade grand marshal
This year’s parade grand marshal is the Groveport Lions Club, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
The club formed in 1940 and has been active in community service and projects throughout its history including: purchasing and installing the town’s first street signs; planting trees on both sides of Main Street; numbering all the houses in town with help from Boy Scout Troop 71; purchasing and stalling the Christmas lights over and along Main Street for many years; holding the Halloween parade and sponsoring the Halloween block party; organizing the Fourth of July parade for many years; purchasing and installing the World War II memorial stone and Roll of Honor located at Groveport Elementary; paying for testing and eyeglasses for the community’s children; contributing to Greater Groveport Human Needs and the Greater Groveport Food Pantry; and more.
Sponsors for the Groveport Fourth of July celebration are: the city of Groveport, 1st Service Federal Credit Union, Petermann Transportation, Groveport Madison Schools, Dynamix Energy Service, Paper Barn, Imagine Groveport Community School, Kendra’s Kiddie Kare, Brensco Automotive, Norm’s Market, Groveport Dairy Queen, Lovell’s Grille, TMC School of Dance, Groveport Canal Animal Hospital, and TurnPoint Church.