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July 4th celebrations span full week

6/26/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

GREATER AKRON — Area Independence Day celebrations this year span a full week with festivals, food and fireworks from the Portage Lakes to Cleveland. Here are events for Akron and surrounding communities:


Rib, White and Blue, Akron’s National Rib Festival will open at 11 a.m. each day July 2-5 on South Main Street in front of Lock 3 in Downtown Akron. More than 10 vendors from six states will be serving up their best ribs as they vie for cash prizes and bragging rights. The Pierogi Lady, Hatties Bakery and other concessionaires will offer sausages, pierogies, funnel cakes, birch beer, roasted corn, lemonade and ice cream. Admission is free. The festival will close each night at 11 p.m.

Children’s inflatables and the Magic Train, which gives rides through the park and along the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath, will return this year. There is a charge for the inflatables and train ride.

Lock 3 will rock out every night of the festival with free concerts. On July 2, Zach and the Bright Lights (6 p.m.) will open for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band tribute group Bruce in the USA (8:30 p.m.). Roger Hoover and the Hurt (6 p.m.) will open July 3 for Hotel California, an Eagles tribute band (8:30 p.m.). Entertainment July 4 will start with Alex Bevan at 4 p.m. and continue with Brass Band of the Western Reserve at 6 p.m. and the Akron Symphony Orchestra performing a selection of American Classics at 8 p.m. Closing out the festival July 5 are The Brothers Gecht Band at 4 p.m., The Speedbumps at 6 p.m. and 1964 The Tribute (The Beatles) at 8:30 p.m.

Akron’s fireworks will light up the city skyline July 4 at 9:45 p.m. South Main Street will be closed between Exchange and Market streets for the fireworks display. Traffic should enter downtown via state Route 59, Dart Avenue, Bowery or Mill streets, according to city officials.

Parking for Fourth of July activities is free at all city-owned parking decks and lots and the Summit County parking deck on South High Street, city officials said. Handicapped parking is available at the State Street parking deck, which has an elevator to the Lock 3 level, or at Cascade Plaza by entering at Mill Street and following the ramp to parking level 2, Orange, officials said.


The Cleveland Orchestra’s Star Spangled Spectacular is set for July 2 at 9 p.m. in Downtown Cleveland’s Public Square. The orchestra’s 25th annual free community concert features popular American favorites, including “The Star Spangled Banner,” “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Superman March.” Gourmet food trucks will be in Public Square July 2 from 5 to 10 p.m. Beginning at 7 p.m., select “Make Music!” videos submitted by community members will be shown on the Public Square Jumbotron. Fireworks follow the orchestra concert, weather permitting, according to Cleveland Orchestra officials.

The Cleveland Indians will take on the Kansas City Royals at 7:05 p.m. July 4, followed by extended fireworks and a patriotic tribute. Those attending the game can take advantage of Sugardale Dollar Dog night, and the Rally Alley street fair will precede the game.


At Blossom Music Center, 1145 Steels Corners Road, the Cleveland Orchestra’s Blossom Festival Band will celebrate Independence Day with “A Salute to America” July 3-4. Conducted by Loras John Schissel, the program features music by Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin and John Philip Sousa. The explosive Tchaikovsky “1812 Overture” will be followed both nights by fireworks. Both concerts will begin at 8 p.m. and be followed by fireworks.

Pavilion seats are $23-$45. Lawn tickets are $23. Children 17 and younger can get a free lawn ticket when accompanied by a paying adult (lawn seating only). Additional children’s tickets are available for $10 on the lawn and in most pavilion sections. Tickets are available at www.clevelandorchestra.com.


FreedomFest is a two-day celebration of community and family at Boettler Park, 5300 Massillon Road. The festival opens today, June 27, at 5 p.m. with the Taste of Green and tethered hot air balloon rides by RE/MAX. Family-friendly comedian Matt Jernigan and Karri Fedore and Kerosene, a hillbilly blues band, will provide entertainment. On June 28, the festival will run from noon to 11 p.m. with family activities including paddle boats, stand-up paddle boards, Outback Ray’s Amazing Animal Show, Irish dancers and NASCAR simulators. At 8 p.m., skydivers will descend into the park with an American flag. Escape, a Journey tribute band, will perform at 8:30 p.m. The city fireworks display is set for 10:15 p.m. The rain date for fireworks is June 29. [For more information, see “Taste of Green, FreedomFest offering early start to holiday fun” in the June 20, 2014, issue or visit the archives at www.akron.com.]


The 39th annual Boat Parade is set for July 5 at 1 p.m. Boats will start at Kieffer Marine on East Reservoir and end at Portage Lakes State Park beach. Shown is a boat in last year’s parade.
The annual Portage Lakes fireworks display, shown last year, will take place July 5 at dusk.
Photos: Lew Stamp
The Portage Lakes Antique and Classic Boat Show will take place June 28 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Boats will be judged at On Tap at the Harbor, 562 Portage Lakes Drive, and Nicoletti’s at Park Place, 530 Portage Lakes Drive. The free event traditionally features more than 50 vintage boats and is hosted by the North Coast Chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society, according to society officials.

Later on June 28, the Portage Lakes Fireworks Association will sponsor Light Up the Lakes, a parade of lighted boats. The line-up will begin at 9:30 p.m. in front of the Akron Rotary Camp on Rex Lake. Cash prizes will be awarded at Dietz’s Landing following the parade. Boats can be registered online at www.plfa.net.

The 39th annual Boat Parade is set for July 5 at 1 p.m. Boats in the open-themed event will start at Kieffer Marine on East Reservoir and end at Portage Lakes State Park beach. Cash prizes will be awarded. Registration forms are available at Kieffer Marine, 252 Portage Lakes Drive. Following the boat parade, a sand castle building contest will take place on the beach from 2 to 4 p.m. at Portage Lakes State Park.

The annual Portage Lakes fireworks display will take place July 5 at dusk. The fireworks display will originate from Mason’s Point on Turkeyfoot Lake. The rain date is July 6. The Portage Lakes Fireworks Association accepts tax-deductible donations to fund the fireworks show. For more information, visit www.plfa.net.

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