What started as a community service project has blossomed into a patriotic tradition.
The Worthington Family Picnic and Fireworks Celebration will mark 10 years Thursday, July 4, as families gather on the lawn of Thomas Worthington High School for food, music, Supergames and a finale that will light up the night sky.
"We've been able to maintain the celebration with a lot of support from the community," city spokeswoman Anne Brown said. "The first family picnic was part of the city's bicentennial celebration in 2003 and it's something that's been carried on over the years."
The first Family Picnic was organized by the Worthington Bicentennial Committee, with a group of students from Leadership Worthington deciding to pursue it as a project to continue to event. They did it for a couple of years and then it was taken on by the Rotary Club of Dublin-Worthington.
Established in 1989, Leadership Worthington is a nonprofit organization that offers programs to those who live or work within the Worthington City School District in an effort to create a better community.
The festivities at the high school begin at 4 p.m. where those who show up can also purchase food. A DJ will provide music starting at 4 p.m. at the picnic, with another DJ providing music at 8 p.m. at the football stadium. The fireworks, which can be viewed from the picnic location in front of the high school or at the football stadium, go off at 10 p.m.
The city has spent $9,900 for the fireworks, Brown said.
"We have thousands of people who come out and during that first hour, the lawn really starts to fill up," Brown said. "We do like to caution people that parking is a big issue. The high school parking lots fill up very early so if you're coming in last-minute, be prepared to walk."
The municipal lots downtown will be available. Bike racks will be set up at the east end of the school.
There will be street parking restrictions in areas where signs will be posted:
•Medick Way, both sides.
•Tucker Drive, north side only.
•Tucker North West, both sides.
•Farrington Drive, north side only.
•Seabury Drive, west side only.
•Sinsbury Drive North, north side only.
•Blanford Drive, north side only.
•Sanbridge Circle, north side only.
•West New England Avenue, north side only, west of Oxford.
•Evening Street, both sides from West New England Avenue to state Route 161.
•Granville Service roads, both sides.
•West Granville Road, both sides from Evening Street to the Olentangy River Road bridge.
•North Street, both sides.
Parking restrictions will be lifted following the event.
All city offices will be closed July 4. Trash collection will be moved from Friday, July 5, to Saturday, July 6.