Pickerington's July Fourth celebration will include a parade, live music, fireworks, as well as recognition of three state championship teams from Pickerington High School Central.

Pickerington and Violet Township have long been known for putting community pride on full display for the Fourth of July, and next week's Independence Day celebration will be no different.

The day's festivities, sponsored by the city of Pickerington and Violet Township, are free and begin at 4 p.m., Wednesday, July 4, when the celebration begins in Victory Park, 100 Lockville Road.

From there, folks will gear up for the annual parade, which this year will step off at 6 p.m.

It will be presided over by Central's state champion teams: the 2017 football team, 2017-18 girls basketball team and 2018 boys track and field team. All the teams are serving as grand marshals.

Team members will ride in trucks and walk the parade route.

"It's an exceptional feat for a school to win a state championship, but it's unheard of for a school to win three in one year," said Lee Gray, Pickerington mayor.

"This is an opportunity to celebrate these young men and women and their accomplishments.

"They're the future of this country and what better opportunity to recognize them with this honor than on the Fourth of July."

The parade will step off from Opportunity Way and Lockville Road. It will head north on Lockville past Victory Park, west on Columbus Street and south on Hill Road before ending at Ridgeview Junior High School, 130 Hill Road South.

July Fourth revelers and others planning to travel in the area of Olde Pickerington Village should be aware Lockville Road will be closed from 5:45 p.m. to 11 p.m. Covered Bridge Lane also will be closed.

"Typically ( the Lockville Road closure) has just been for the parade, but it will be for the whole event," said Becca Medinger, Pickerington Parks and Recreation director. "Lockville Road will be closed from Opportunity Way to Columbus Street.

"The July Fourth celebration brings in a lot of people to the area to celebrate with the community," she said.

"Please be mindful and cautious when driving as there is additional vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the area. This may also result in longer drive times and delays as our goal is to make sure everyone is safe."

Once the parade concludes, the party returns to Victory Park, where local singer Anna Thompson will kick off the opening ceremonies by performing "The Star Spangled Banner" at 7:30 p.m.

The band Scarlet Fever also is slated to play at the main stage at 8 p.m.

After sundown, party organizers will start gearing up for the annual fireworks display.

Medinger noted additional light towers will be placed throughout Victory Park.

The move comes after several teens last year caused panic by yelling "run" during the celebration, leading to an exodus from the park. There were reports of people suffering minor bruises and scrapes in the chaos.

There also will be a fence installed around the playground in the park, and only children 12 and under and accompanied by an adult will be permitted access.

Medinger noted parking won't be permitted at Pickerington City Hall, across from the park. Only event vendors and city staff will be allowed to use the lot.

As for fireworks, they're scheduled for approximately 10 p.m. and will be launched from Central, 300 Opportunity Way.

After that, Victory Park will close at 11 p.m.

"Growing up in America, everyone knows the Fourth of July is special," Gray said. "It's a special time for families and for events celebrating the greatest country in the world.

"We have great tradition here in Pickerington with our parade, the events at Victory Park and the incredible fireworks display at the end of the night."

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