Pickerington's Independence Day festivities annually bring thousands of folks to the heart of the city to celebrate America's birthday.

Live music, games, food, a parade and, of course, fireworks are on the agenda for the free event co-sponsored by the city of Pickerington and Violet Township.

"It's a very similar deal to what's gone on years past," said Greg Pearce, a coordinator for the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department.

"It's a big deal and we expect several thousand people here," he said.

The celebration Tuesday, July 4, begins at 4 p.m. in Victory Park. The city's July Fourth parade will step off at 6 p.m.

"It's the same parade route," Pearce said.

The parade will start at Opportunity Way and work its way north on Lockville Road, west on Columbus Street and south on Hill Road, he said.

Although the deadline for organizations to secure a place in the parade has passed, Pearce said, late entries still will be accepted.

"We can probably fit them in, but they will be at the end of the parade," Pearce said.

Interested parties should register for free by calling the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department at 614-833-2211.

Opening ceremonies in Victory Park begin at 7:30 p.m., followed by music from Red Hot Rhythm Review, a Columbus-based dance band that plays a variety of rock and roll, funk and soul classics.

"The band will play until 10 p.m. and then the fireworks will be shot off from the same location as last year at Pickerington (High School) Central's practice field," Pearce said.

He said about 15 food vendors will be in Victory Park "with a variety of food and drinks."

"There will be a couple of business vendors as well," Pearce said.

The 2017 grand marshal of the parade is 2017 National Guard Military Child of the Year Molly Frey.

"This is a big honor right here in Pickerington," Mayor Lee Gray said.

Frey, a senior at Pickerington High School North, created an annual figure-skating show called "Tribute to the Troops," which collected donated items to send to deployed service members.

Frey also helped raise money for breast-cancer research the last five years through the Skate for Hope Program.

She plans to attend Capital University and major in biology after she graduates from North. Frey also plans to play golf for the Crusaders.

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