Groveport's annual July 4 festivities are all about making memories that last a lifetime for the community's children, according to Bob Garvin, a member of the organizing committee.
"Something (Councilman) Shawn Cleary said to me when I took this over a few years ago is that he cherished his memories of these events as a kid, and he challenged us to make that happen again for kids," Garvin said. "I think we're at that point where we've got the right combination of activities for making memories for the kids."
This year's event will kick off at 9 a.m. Friday, July 4, with a Kids and Pet Parade at Groveport Madison High School, followed by the Fourth of July parade through downtown, starting at 11 a.m. According to Garvin, the main parade will again include a musical prelude by Terri Christensen and cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse, Batman, Dora the Explorer and Diego, and others.
"Last year, something really popular was the characters walking the route, and this year we'll have even more of them," Garvin said. "We also have a juggling unicyclist and likely a bagpipe band, too."
Garvin said some of the characters will stick around after the parade to visit with children at Wirt Road, where the city is partnering with Turnpoint Apostolic Church to provide child-friendly activities, which will take place at the ballfields on Wirt Road..
"All afternoon we'll have free kids' activities," he said. "Turnpoint is bringing in a trailer full of video games along with 13 tents of other games, and they're bringing these kid-size hamster balls to run around the field in."
There also will be several bounce houses, a miniature golf green, food vendors and an appearance by the Balloon Lady. At 3 p.m., registration for the kiddie tractor pull will begin next to Kidspace, with the tractor pull itself taking place shortly thereafter.
At 5 p.m., musical entertainment will begin with Tom Bowman and the Dream Chasers, followed at 7:30 p.m. by the Ray Fuller Band. Fireworks will begin around 9 p.m.
This year's focus on bringing in more kid-friendly activities to fill the afternoon is possible in large part to the partnerships and sponsors, Garvin said, noting the event has already received nearly $12,000 in support.
"We're sending out a bigger postcard this year so we can list everything as well as include information about the Apple Butter Festival and a date for Santa, too," Garvin said. "I want to thank our business supporters and partners, and the city and council for all of their support. I think this is going to be a great event."