Anticipation is building for the Upper Arlington Civic Association's Fourth of July celebration. This year's theme is "Bring Your A Game."

Anticipation is building for the Upper Arlington Civic Association's Fourth of July celebration. This year's theme is "Bring Your A Game."

The Fourth of July continues to be a tradition that current and former residents plan class and family reunions around, bringing together people who don't see each other at other times of the year, said Andy Weeks, who with his wife, Carolyn, is co-chair of the UACA's Fourth of July committee.

"We have several class reunion floats," he said. "I believe all the (Upper Arlington High School) reunion classes are having activities Fourth of July weekend. That tradition is continuing strong."

The parade begins at 9 a.m. along Northwest Boulevard, led by grand marshals Bill and Marci Ingram and Lisa and Greg Guy. The Ingrams have local ties. Bill Ingram is CEO of White Castle, Marci is his wife, and they raised their family in Upper Arlington. Lisa is their daughter, who is married to Guy, and they live in Upper Arlington.

Parade attendees can expect to see inventive floats with a variety of themes, said Drew Wade, who co-chairs the UACA's float committee with his wife, Lissa.

"A lot of the floats, they don't tell us what they're going to do, they kind of keep it a little bit of a secret," Drew Wade said. "We don't know what exactly what we're going to see until right before the Fourth."

At least one thing is for certain: There won't be any commercial or political interests represented in the parade.

"We're proud of the fact that the parade is 100 percent non-commercial, non-political," Wade said. "You're not going to see anybody campaigning for or against any issues. July Fourth is a day that we should all come together and feel unified as a community."

One float in particular that is designed to bring people together will commemorate the 40th anniversary of progressive education in Upper Arlington.

"That is a combination of teachers from that program, current students, former students and parents, tying together a couple of different schools," Wade said. "That's a neat effort that's sort of unique this year."

The parade will once again feature marching bands from around central Ohio.

"We have a lot of good music," Wade said. "The Ohio Alumni Marching Band is returning this year. We have the Grove City Marching Band, after being away for two years."

Float entries will be judged and 10 awards will be handed out: overall Best of Parade; Most Representative; Most Patriotic; Best Design and Craftsmanship; Most Entertaining; Best Class Reunion; Best Youth Group; Best Service Group; Best First-time Entry; Best Neighborhood.

"We're excited that the Kingsdale Shopping Center, where we stage the parade, is largely put back together after a lot of construction last year," Wade said. "It's going to be much easier to stage the parade and arrange all the parade entries before it starts."

After the morning's parade festivities, the annual Party in the Park will begin at 5 p.m. in Northam Park. The UAHS band boosters will sell beverages; food vendors include Donato's, Dave's Dogs & More and Graeter's Ice Cream. Local band Shucking Bubba will provide entertainment.

"They're a cover band," Andy Weeks said. "They play popular music that appeals to all ages."

Before the fireworks begin at 10 p.m., Party in the Park goers can check out a new attraction.

"We're going to have the Nationwide Insurance NASCAR car that will be on display in the parking lot of the library," Andy Weeks said.

While the UACA's celebration has traditionally been a focal point of local residents' Fourth of July plans, organizers anticipate increased participation since the holiday falls on a Monday, Carolyn Weeks said.

"Any time it would fall in the middle of the week, you get less participation, especially from the class reunions," she said. "Absolutely it helps having the three-day weekend."

For more information about UACA's Fourth of July activities, call (614) 305-5136 or visit www.uaca.org.