The city of Delaware's Fourth of July and corresponding bicentennial celebration will be so big this year, organizers said, it will require two days of festivities.

The city of Delaware's Fourth of July and corresponding bicentennial celebration will be so big this year, organizers said, it will require two days of festivities.

The Central Ohio Symphony's annual Independence Day concert, slated for 8 p.m. July Fourth, and Delaware's fireworks display that night will kick off local Fourth of July activities.

They won't stop there, however, as July 5 will feature a full slate of events geared toward celebrating the nation's independence and the city of Delaware's and Delaware County's 200th birthdays.

"This is a weekend that's literally been 200 years in the making," said Lee Yoakum, Delaware's community-affairs coordinator. We have events on July Fourth and 5th we're calling our 'signature' events for the bicentennial.

"These will be the icing on the birthday cake."

Immediately following the symphony's July 4 performance (see related article on this page), the city will launch its largest-ever fireworks display. Delaware City Council -- aided by donations from local businesses -- approved a $28,000 expenditure for the "Bicentennial Boom" display this year, up about $3,000 from recent years.

"There's going to be about 250 more shells in the show this year," said Delaware firefighter Charlie Cooperider, who administers the city's fireworks display. "The entire show is going to be based on the typical Fourth of July celebration and the 200th birthday celebrations."

Cooperider said the display will feature 20 "salutes" this year. The "bright-light booms in the sky," he said, will mark each decade the city and county have existed.

"It's just going to be a lot better show," he said.

The next morning, the Independence Day and bicentennial celebrations will resume at 7:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at St. Mary School. It will be followed by 9 and 10 a.m. walking tours throughout downtown Delaware, which will begin at The Mean Bean Caffeine Lounge at the corner of Sandusky and William streets.

Additionally, historic walking tours of the Ohio Wesleyan University and downtown will begin at 9 and 10 a.m. Those tours will start at the Rutherford B. Hayes Memorial on William Street in front of the BP gas station.

"There are some Independence Day traditions in Delaware that include the concert and fireworks," Yoakum said. "We wanted to keep them on July Fourth, but we also wanted the entire county to have a chance to join in the bicentennial celebration.

"There are some truly amazing historical events that happened in the county seat that probably only a few of our citizens are aware of."

From 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., bicentennial events will be staged at National City Bank, 664 W. Central Ave. They will include the crowning of the bicentennial beard-growing contest winner, a performance by the Buckeye Valley Alumni Band and refreshments.

At 1 p.m., the "5th of July Bicentennial Parade" will begin at the Delaware County Fairgrounds and proceed throughout downtown Delaware.

"The two-day activities allow us to have a celebration downtown with the parade as the focal point," Yoakum said. "It works well this year with the Fourth of July taking place on Friday.

"It makes for a nice weekend of events."

Additional information regarding the weekend's festivities, including parking restrictions and planned road closures, is available at www.delawareco200.com.