Groveport is preparing to celebrate the nation's birthday, family style, in what's become a hometown event.

From the parade to kids' games, food vendors and, of course, fireworks at dusk, the free celebration Tuesday, July 4, is expected to draw a crowd to Heritage Park, 551 Wirt Road, near the historic log cabin.

"People usually start coming in around 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. to find their favorite spot and have a family picnic," Groveport Community Affairs Director Patty Storts said.

Construction will have an impact on this year's parade, which steps off at 11 a.m. from the Groveport Recreation Center, 7370 Groveport Road, then heads west on Main Street toward state Route 317 and ends at Tallman Street.

The reconstruction of Hendron Road forced the city to reverse the parade route, Storts said.

This year's parade grand marshal is Terri Christensen, executive director of the Southeast Franklin County Chamber of Commerce.

She was selected for her contributions to the community, Storts said.

She said Christiensen is a member of the Groveport Madison CommUNITY Choir, which raises money for nonprofit groups.

Following the parade, children's activities, including inflatables and carnival games, will be open on Wirt Road, near Cherry Street, from 12:30 to 4 p.m.

The day's activities also include the state-sanctioned Buckeye State Pedal Pull at 3 p.m. with registration at 2 p.m.

"Winners of this will go to compete at the state level at the Ohio State Fair. From there, they go to nationals," Storts said. "We did have somebody go to nationals two years ago. The kids just love it."

Food will be available for purchase from vendors, including Italian sausage, hamburgers, french fries, hot dogs, bratwurst sandwiches and many other favorites, Storts said.

This year's entertainment in Heritage Park will include Rider Band beginning at 5 p.m. and Agent 99 at 7:30 p.m., leading up to the city-sponsored fireworks display expected to last 20 to 25 minutes.

"It's always been a great show, but this year it's going to be better," Storts said. "It will be accompanied by patriotic music."

The soundtrack for the fireworks has been prerecorded and will be played during the show at the park

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