For the first time, a nonprofit group will organize the Independence Day activities, but residents shouldn't notice many changes.

For the first time, a nonprofit group will organize the Independence Day activities, but residents shouldn't notice many changes.

New Albany Community Events Inc. is handling this year's celebration independent of the village.

Festivities will include a parade -- with a few new entries -- at 11 a.m., with music and fireworks Friday night.

Check-in for the parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday at New Albany Middle School, where the parade starts.

Parade organizer Jodi Boals said the parade will head east on Dublin-Granville Road, followed by a right on U.S. Route 62 and another right down Market Street, where the grandstand will be. From there, the parade will head right, down Dublin-Granville Road, and return to the starting point at the middle school.

"It works very well. We've done it like this for a few years," Boals said. "The police like it because they don't have to close many roads."

As of last week, the parade had 35 entries, but Boals expects more.

"In 2004, when we started, there were 41 (entries)," she said. "The last couple of years we've been hovering around 50."

Boals said she would prefer that all entries be submitted prior to the parade but said she wouldn't reject latecomers.

"We're taking entries up until the day of (the parade)," she said. "We get people driving up the morning of. I prefer to do it beforehand for the sake of Bob Nunally, our emcee. He likes to have the information on everyone in the parade, so it's nice to give that to him in advance."

Those lined up along the parade route will see a few new entries this year. Boals said Nationwide Children's Hospital is taking over the bike parade and a pet parade has been added.

"There are lots of interesting people doing the parade that haven't before. It should be fun," she said.

Ron Kendle, festival organizer, said the Reaganomics, a Columbus-based '80s band, will kick off festival entertainment at 7 p.m. and play until 9. Fireworks will follow.

"The fireworks start at dark, usually at 9:45," Kendle said. "The show usually lasts about 24 minutes."

Entertainment will begin at 7 p.m., with food vendors setting up at 6 p.m., Kendle said.

"We'll have Route 62 Barbeque, Belafino's, New Albany Grille, a kettle-corn company, snow cones," he said.

Children's activities also will be part of the event.

"Balloon artists are going to be there. Clearview Church will have face-painting; we'll have tattoos, coloring, a lot of that stuff," Kendle said.

Because New Albany Community Events is in its first year of organizing the event as an independent group, funding has been a challenge, Kendle said.

"It's just hard to raise money. It seems like everybody in the community goes after the same people," he said. "But this year, Fifth Third Bank really came through, and they're sponsoring our band."

Boals said the parade will be funded through entry fees, but the board is being careful with money.

"We're watching our funds very carefully because we want to keep doing the festivals we do," she said. "The only big difference with being a nonprofit is, we're really pushing the sponsorship area now. We really want local businesses to help us out.

"These are our events in New Albany, and we want a lot of our own support," Boals said. "But there haven't been any problems. Everyone's been great, especially with the support of Plain Township, the village, the police department and even the schools. We're one big happy family."