Canceled last year because of road construction, the Orange Township Independence Day parade will return July 4.

Canceled last year because of road construction, the Orange Township Independence Day parade will return July 4.

The celebration will begin at 8 a.m. Monday, July 4, with registration for the Freedom 4 Miler race, which starts at 9 a.m. The parade will start at 10 a.m.

The race and the parade routes have changed slightly from previous years. The race will begin and end at Little Bear Golf Club, 1940 Little Bear Loop. The parade will start at Glen Oak Elementary School, 7300 Blue Holly Drive, head south to Orange Road, then east to Old State Road, then south to Little Bear Club.

Olentangy Local School District superintendent Wade Lucas will serve as parade grand marshal.

"Olentangy school district is such a huge part of the Orange Township community that we felt it would be nice to have him as grand marshal. He'll head the parade as our guest of honor," said Debbie Taranto, of Taranto's Pizzeria, one of the event organizers.

The Olentangy High School and Olentangy Orange High School bands will march in the parade.

The parade also includes more than 50 entries from businesses, churches and government representatives including U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Genoa Township).

The U.S. Air Force will do a flyover, Taranto said.

Around 5,000 spectators are expected, she said.

Taranto started the parade eight years ago.

"I came from Pickerington and I would walk down the parade route (there) and I knew every second or third person," Taranto said. "And when I moved here 12 years ago, I didn't know people. The way you get to know people is by having a community event like that. And I went to Jim Agan a (township) trustee at the time. I asked him if it was possible and he jumped on the bandwagon for me. We were forming the business association at the time and we thought it was a good thing for us to do as a new group."

Taranto said that people from the city of Powell, especially Shea Alltmont, who was the city's public relations and events coordinator at the time, helped them learn the ropes of putting on a parade. The city stages the Memorial Day parade and shared information with Orange Township Business Association members, Taranto said.

"It's all about being part of a community. I love the community I live in," Taranto said.

The cost of participating in the Freedom 4 Miler is $30 through race day.

For more information, visit the Orange Township Business Association website at www. otba.net. For more information on the Freedom 4 Miler race, visit www.greenswell.com.

bbutcher@thisweeknews.com

www.ThisWeekNews.com