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July 4 celebrations span two weekends

6/27/2013 - South 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.

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 annual 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.


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 concertgoers 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 city will host activities for FreedomFest June 29 from noon to 11 p.m. at Boettler Park, 5300 Massillon Road. The event will feature children’s activities, food, live music and fireworks. The Danny Milan Band will perform its tribute to the music of Billy Joel at 6 p.m., followed by 7 Bridges, an Eagles tribute act, at 8:30 p.m. Skydivers will descend into the park at 8:15 p.m., and fireworks are expected to light up the sky at about 10:15 p.m. Admission and parking are free. For more information, call 330-896-6621. The rain date for fireworks is June 30.


The 28th annual Portage Lakes fireworks display will take place July 6 at 10 p.m. Fireworks will be shot from Mason’s Point on Turkeyfoot Lake. Part of last year’s display is shown.
Photo: Lew Stamp
The 38th annual Portage Lakes Boat Parade is scheduled for July 6 at 1 p.m., forming at Kieffer’s Marine and ending at Portage Lakes State Park Beach. Shown 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 more information.

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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