Westerville will celebrate the Fourth of July in its traditional way, with a day full of events sponsored by the Rotary Club of Westerville.
"Between the 5K in the morning, the parade in the afternoon and the fireworks at night, this is Westerville's biggest event," said Whitney Smith, first-time Rotary Fourth of July Committee chairwoman.
"We start planning this event in January, and with the guidance of past Rotary President Bill Tompos, the Independence Day Celebration in Westerville is the best around," Smith said.
The Fourth of July celebration will begin with the 5K walk and run at 8 a.m. at Alum Creek Park North, 221 W. Main St. Registration will be from 6:30 to 7:45 a.m. There will be 400- and 800-yard children's dashes at 9:15 a.m.
The awards ceremony will be at 9:25 a.m.
The annual Fourth of July parade will begin at 1 p.m. and will travel north on State Street, from Heatherdown Boulevard to St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, 313 N. State St.
As always, food donations for the Westerville Area Resource Ministry will be collected along the parade route.
The parade theme, selected from 600 submissions by students in Westerville's elementary schools, will be "Celebrate the Gift of Freedom."
The theme was submitted by St. Paul's fourth-grader Julia Kraus, who received a $100 check for her winning theme.
John Mowder will serve as parade grand marshal. Mowder, a retired Westerville schools administrator, has been a Rotary member for 52 years.
He served two years as president and 23 years as secretary for the club. He twice was elected Rotarian of the Year.
The annual fireworks display will begin at 10 p.m.
The shells will be launched from Alum Creek Park South, 535 Park Meadow Road, the fireworks are visible from throughout Westerville.
WMNI-FM (103.9 FM) will broadcast music synced to the fireworks display.
The rain date for the fireworks is 10 p.m. July 5.
Smith said it takes the hard work of many Rotary members to orchestrate the city's Fourth of July events.
"Thanks to everyone in Rotary who volunteers their time to make this event possible," Smith said.