Gahanna residents who show their patriotic spirit this Fourth of July could be rewarded with the inaugural Independence Day Mayor's Award.

"This holiday, I would like to encourage our residents, especially our youth, to get involved by decorating their bikes, wagons and four-legged friends or help build a float in our annual parade," Mayor Tom Kneeland said.

"During the parade, I will be passing out my first Independence Day Mayor's Award to participants who show their country pride and community spirit," he said.

Thanks to city staff and sponsors, Kneeland said, Gahanna is gearing up for another Independence Day celebration.

Residents can help celebrate the Fourth of July in Olde Gahanna, Creekside and the Gahanna Municipal Golf Course, according to Niel Jurist, city public information manager.

She said the celebration is poised to engage residents, community groups and businesses through community activities, volunteerism, hometown pride and fireworks.

Activities will kick off at 8:30 a.m. July 4 with the third annual Dash for a Splash 5K Run-Walk to benefit the Gahanna pools. It will begin at the Gahanna Swimming Pool, 150 Parkland Drive.

The event will include free admission to the Gahanna pools for the day, including early opening of the Gahanna Swimming Pool for run-walk participants only.

Registration costs $20 for those ages 12 and younger in advance, $25 on race day. Participants 13 and older will pay $30 in advance, $35 on race day.

To register or obtain more information, contact the Gahanna Parks & Recreation Department at 614-342-4250.

The Gahanna Lions Day Parade will step off at 10:30 a.m. from Clark Hall, traveling west on Granville Street and concluding at Royal Manor Plaza.

Chuck Rees, parade chairman, said residents are invited to enter a float, marching unit, vehicles and bicycles in the parade that features the theme "American Pride."

Ribbons will be awarded for the best entry in each category.

The parade grand marshal will be veteran and longtime Gahanna resident Joe Spanovich, who was Gahanna's first mayor.

To enter a float, volunteer or for more information, contact Rees at chuckrees1904@ gmail.com.

Creekside Family Day will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. at the plaza in Olde Gahanna.

Beth McCollam, Gahanna Parks & Recreation Department marketing coordinator, said country-rock band Simba Jordan will provide live music on the Rotary Stage from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. In addition, family activities are scheduled throughout Creekside Park and Olde Gahanna, including an activity area with Games2U inflatables, a game truck and "hamster" balls in the Lew Griffin Insurance Parking lot.

A wristband is required at a cost of $10 for one, $15 for two, $20 for three and $6 each for four or more youths.

Food trucks and vendors will be available and local businesses will be open, including Arepazo, Barrel & Boar, Cold Stone Creamery, Koko Cupcake & Tea Salon, Local Cantina, Old Bag of Nails, Pigskin Brewery and Somedays Bistro.

Ending the day will be the main event -- a 10 p.m. fireworks display, presented by KEMBA Financial Credit Union.

With the launch site at the traditional location near the Gahanna Golf Course, 220 Olde Ridenour Road, the viewing area at the golf course will open at 8 p.m.

Attendees are encouraged to use the trail connecting Creekside Park to the Gahanna Municipal Golf Course for fireworks viewing, McCollam said.

In case of bad weather, the fireworks rain date is July 5.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla