Hilliard's Fourth of July parade route will be shorter this year because of construction near Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park, 3800 Veterans Memorial Drive.
The parade traditionally has ended in the school parking lots across the street from the park's entrance, but this year the parade will end in the parking lot of Hilliard United Methodist Church, 5445 Scioto Darby Road, at the southwest corner of Scioto Darby and Main Street. Veterans Memorial Drive, which is the park's primary access road, closed April 30 for construction of a roundabout at Scioto Darby.
The parade will step off at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 4, from its usual starting point at the Franklin County Fairgrounds, 4100 Columbia St.
It will proceed southwest on Main Street, southeast on Norwich Street, west on Cemetery Road and south on Main Street.
The grand marshals will be family members of Tom McNutt, a longtime Hilliard resident who died in December 2017 at the age of 84. He was known as a gardening expert on local TV and was a member and past executive director of the Ohio Agricultural Council, a member of the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame and a professor emeritus at Ohio State University.
The Independence Day celebration will continue with a concert and fireworks display at the park, which will be open from noon to 11 p.m., but no carnival will be held this year.
"We decided to try a change this year," said Beth Simon, interim director of the Hilliard Parks and Recreation Department.
Instead, the city will offer family-friendly activities all day at the park, she said. They will include a digital scavenger hunt.
The Hilliard Family Aquatic Center also will be open from noon to 9 p.m., with special activities and games from 2 to 4 p.m., Simon said.
Food trucks will be available inside the park and county-rock band Nashville Cats will perform at 6 p.m.
The finale, a 30-minute fireworks display, is scheduled to begin at dusk.
Even without the carnival, parking likely will be in short supply because of the construction and the parking lots at Hilliard Darby High School not expected to be available, according to Anna Subler, communications administrator for Hilliard.
The city also is taking several initiatives to mitigate any potential traffic jams, said Letty Schamp, Hilliard's deputy city engineer.
The measures include temporary access for pedestrians along Veterans Memorial Drive and a shuttle service from parking lots at the fairgrounds.
Four 55-passenger buses and a 26-passenger bus will be used as shuttles, Simon said. Four stops are planned at the fairgrounds between Northwest Parkway and Columbia Street.
"We will have signs posted designating stops based on where you park," she said.
The shuttles are scheduled to run from 6 p.m. to midnight July 4, according to Simon.
Veterans Memorial Drive will remain closed to vehicles; vehicles currently access the park via a driveway just east of Cosgray Road, but it also will close prior to the fireworks.
"That entrance will be closed when that parking lot is full, which we expect will be relatively early, although there is no specific time," said Andrea Litchfield, a spokeswoman for the Hilliard Division of Police. "The city is encouraging the public to park at the Franklin County Fairgrounds and take advantage of the shuttle services."
For more details, go to hilliardohio.gov.