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Community News

July 4 celebrations span two weekends

6/27/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

GREATER AKRON — Two weekends of activities will help Akron area residents celebrate summer as Independence Day events take place.

Festivals and fireworks are planned in Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, Fairlawn, the Portage Lakes and Cleveland.

Here are events happening in Akron and surrounding communities:


Akron will feature fireworks over Lock 3 Park on July 4 after a performance by the Akron Symphony Orchestra.
Photo courtesy of city of Akron
The Rib, White and Blue Festival returns to South Main Street in Downtown Akron July 3-6. This year, 10 barbecue vendors from Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee and New Jersey will man their grills on South Main Street between University and Bowery streets near Lock 3 Park for a chance at cash prizes and bragging rights. Other vendors will have summer food favorites like roasted corn and funnel cakes. The festival will be open each day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is free. Parking is free after 6 p.m. July 3 and 5 and all day July 4 and 6 in all city-owned parking decks and lots, as well as the Summit County Parking Deck on High Street.

All four days, children can enjoy the chance to bounce in inflatables and ride on the Magic Train. Tickets will be available at the festival for those activities.

Musical entertainment will be on stage at Lock 3 Park every evening. On July 3, local favorites The TwistOffs (6 p.m.) will open for Bruce Springsteen tribute artist Bruce in the U.S.A. (8:30 p.m.); on July 4, Alex Bevan (4 p.m.) and The University of Akron Steel Drum Band (6 p.m.) will warm up the crowd for the Akron Symphony Orchestra performance at 8 p.m.; on July 5, The Jim Gill Band (6 p.m.) will be followed by U2 tribute act Elevation (8:30 p.m.); and on July 6, The Joe Vitale Jr. Band (6 p.m.) will open for The Machine (8:30 p.m.), a Pink Floyd tribute act.

Akron’s fireworks, presented by the Downtown Akron Partnership, will light up downtown July 4 at 9:45 p.m. at Lock 3. City officials cautioned that South Main Street will be closed to traffic that night between Exchange and Market streets for the fireworks show. Traffic should enter downtown via state Route 59, Dart Avenue or Bowery or Mill streets.


The Castle Park neighborhood will host its annual parade on Castle Boulevard July 4 at 10:30 a.m. The parade steps off at the intersection of Dartmouth Avenue and Castle. Registration will be held from 10 to 10:25 a.m. There is a $1 registration fee for participants. Certificates and prizes will be awarded for the most patriotically creative in the categories of Bikes and Trikes; Wagons and Strollers; Walkers and Rollerbladers; and Best Dressed Pet. All Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and U.S. veterans are also invited to march in the parade. Neighborhood residents are encouraged to line the sidewalk between Dartmouth and Garman Road to view the parade. The parade will not march past Dartmouth.


The Star-Spangled Spectacular with the Cleveland Orchestra will take place July 1 at 9 p.m. at Public Square in Downtown Cleveland. The orchestra, led by William Eddins, will celebrate the nation’s founding with a free concert event, ending with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and fireworks. Other selections will include the “Superman March” by John Williams in honor of the superhero’s 75th birthday, and Randy Newman’s “Toy Story” music in honor of his induction into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame. Starting at 5 p.m., food trucks will be at the site.

On July 4, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, 3900 Wildlife Way, invites visitors to have a “Red, White & Zoo” holiday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Throughout the day, animal keepers will prepare red, white and blue treats for some of the zoo’s animals. Enrichment activities also are scheduled between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Admission is $12.25, or $8.25 for ages 2-11 and free for children younger than 2 and zoo members. Parking is free. For details, visit www.clemetzoo.com or call 216-661-6500.

Also, Progressive Field, 2401 Ontario St., will feature a patriotic fireworks show after the July 5 Cleveland Indians game. The Indians will take on the Detroit Tigers at 7:05 p.m. For details, go to www.cleveland.indians.mlb.com.


At Blossom Music Center, 1145 Steels Corners Road, the Cleveland Orchestra will begin its season of outdoor concerts with Independence Day events. The Blossom Festival Band concerts July 3-4, titled “A Salute to America,” will be conducted by Loras John Schissel with a performance of popular favorites by Gershwin and Sousa, as well as Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” followed by fireworks, weather permitting.

This year, the orchestra once again is offering free lawn tickets for concert-goers younger than 18. Tickets may be picked up at the Blossom Box Office or obtained through the website at www.clevelandorchestra.com. There is a limit of two children’s tickets per adult ticket purchased. For details, call 216-231-1111 or 800-686-1141.


The Fairlawn Community Foundation and the city of Fairlawn are hosting this year’s Fourth of July celebration June 30 at Bicentennial Park, located on South Smith Road. The annual free outdoor concert will feature a two-hour performance by the Brass Band of the Western Reserve beginning at 8 p.m., followed by fireworks. City officials said that depending on the weather, fireworks may begin any time between 7:30 and 10:30 p.m.

The Peterman Bus Co. will provide free shuttles between Summit Mall and Bicentennial Park to ease parking and traffic. The shuttle may be picked up beginning at 7 p.m. in the east parking lot of Dillard’s.

The holiday activities will continue with the city’s Fourth of July Parade stepping off at 6:30 p.m. July 4 in front of Fairlawn Town Centre. The parade route heads west on West Market Street to Ghent Road and ends in the Dillard’s parking lot at Summit Mall, where trophies will be handed out to organizers of floats, marching units, bands and novelty units. This year, the parade, sponsored by the Fairlawn Area Chamber of Commerce, will honor 50 years of business and community in Fairlawn.

Donations to support the costs of the events are being accepted by the Fairlawn Community Foundation, P.O. Box 5304, Fairlawn, OH 44334. For details, call 330-668-9503.


The 38th annual Portage Lakes Boat Parade is scheduled for July 6 at 1 p.m. Shown above is a boat from last year’s parade.
Photo: Lew Stamp
The holiday celebration begins at the Lakes with the 38th annual Antique and Classic Boat Show June 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the docks at On Tap at the Harbor, 562 Portage Lakes Drive, and Nicoletti’s at Park Place, 530 Portage Lakes Drive. The free event features more than 50 vintage boats from the area and beyond.

That night, the Light up the Lakes event, organized by the Portage Lakes Fireworks Association, will feature an evening parade of lighted boats. Cash prizes will be awarded to the best entries. The parade will begin at Howie’s in Turkeyfoot Lake at 10 p.m. and conclude at Dietz’s Landing. Registration for boaters is required at www.portagelakes.com. Call 330-703-2732 for details.

The following weekend, activities will continue with the 38th annual Boat Parade, which will take place July 6 at 1 p.m., forming at Kieffer’s Marine on East Reservoir. The parade will end at Portage Lakes State Park Beach. Cash prizes will be awarded to the best-decorated boats. Following the parade, a sand castle building contest will take place on the beach from 2 to 4 p.m., with cash prizes awarded to the best creations.

The 28th annual Portage Lakes fireworks display will also take place July 6. Fireworks will be shot from Mason’s Point on Turkeyfoot Lake at 10 p.m. WONE will simulcast music to the event. The rain date is July 7. According to organizers, the Portage Lakes fireworks are the largest privately funded fireworks in the state. Donations can be sent to P.O. Box 26923, Akron, OH 44319, or made online at www.portagelakes.com. Donations also can be dropped off at George Ayers Insurance, Dano’s Lakeside Pub, Dusty’s Landing, Dietz’s Restaurant or Cole Industries.

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