Westerville is gearing up for its annual Independence Day festivities, scheduled for Saturday, July 3.

Westerville is gearing up for its annual Independence Day festivities, scheduled for Saturday, July 3.

"We kick it off great with our Rotary 5K Run and Walk," said Bill Tompos, past president of the Rotary Club of Westerville and a member of the club's Independence Day celebration committee.

Registration for the 5K run/walk begins at 6:30 a.m., with the event starting at 8 a.m. at Alum Creek North Park, 221 W. Main St. The course starts and finishes at the park, running counter-clockwise from Main Street to Collegeview to Cooper and Schrock roads, back along the bike path to the park.

The children's run, which includes a 400-yard and an 800-yard dash, begins at 9:15 a.m, Tompos said.

Registration costs $30 for adults and $15 for children. Proceeds benefit the Rotary Club of Westerville. Applications can be downloaded on the Rotary Club website, rotaryclubofwesterville.org.

The activities continue with the Independence Day parade at 1 p.m., also sponsored by the Rotary Club of Westerville. The 2010 parade theme is "Freedom the Best Gift of All," suggested by Hanby Elementary School fourth-grader Mitchell Whittaker. Westerville Area Resource Ministry president Scott Marier is this year's grand marshal, Tompos said.

"(The parade) is going to start at Heatherdown and Huber Village Boulevard and come north on State Street through Uptown to St. Paul's Church on State," said Christa Dickey, city spokeswoman.

Tompos said nearly 20,000 people attend the parade each year.

"It's just a great, fun day," he said.

Festivities conclude with a free concert by the Westerville Symphony, directed by Peter Stafford Wilson, at 9 p.m. at the Westerville Sports Complex, 325 N. Cleveland Ave. "The Sounds of Freedom" concert will include a selection of patriotic music and feature "A Lincoln Portrait," narrated by Cabot Rea.

Immediately following the concert, fireworks will light up the sky over Alum Creek Park South.

"We generally advise that the sports complex is a good place to watch those," Dickey said.