The city of Pickerington and Violet Township are collaborating once again to present Independence Day festivities Thursday, July 4.

The city of Pickerington and Violet Township are collaborating once again to present Independence Day festivities Thursday, July 4.

The entire celebration is free and open to the public.

It all starts at 4 p.m. with food and craft vendors and children's rides in Victory Park, located across from Pickerington City Hall on Lockville Road.

With a theme this year of "Only in America," the annual Fourth of July parade steps off at 6 p.m. at Pickerington High School Central, 300 Opportunity Way.

From there it will proceed north on Lockville Road, east on Columbus Street, and south on Hill Road. As is tradition, the parade will wrap up at Ridgeview Junior High School.

Victory Park will then host an Independence Day ceremony at 7:30 p.m. followed by the main stage appearance of popular Columbus-based 1980s dance and party band, The Reaganomics.

Fireworks blast off at 10 p.m. followed by another set of music by the Reaganomics at 10:30 p.m., with all festivities coming to a close at 11 p.m.

Violet Township and the city of Pickerington are not only splitting the cost of the fireworks celebration, tabbed at $30,000, but divvying up safety forces expenses as well.

"We're providing fire department services and Pickerington's providing police services," said Violet Township Trustee Gary Weltlich.

He said the successful partnership has been in place since 2009, when the event was in danger of being canceled because of funding issues.

"(Pickerington City Councilman) Brian Sauer and I sat down and worked it out," Weltlich said.

"It wasn't going to happen unless someone came to the table and we did," he said.

Weltlich said the governmental collaboration has made Pickerington's traditional Fourth of July festivities stronger and better than ever.

"It's one of the greatest turnouts by citizens in the area and they absolutely enjoy it," Weltlich said.

"In fact it attracts people from outside the community. It's a very long-standing tradition and people want it preserved," he said.

Violet Township Director of Operations Bill Yaple said each entity had to kick in about $2,500 more this year towards the total cost required to produce the event.

"They raised the number a little bit because fireworks are more expensive," Yaple said.

"It's the same local vendor and he gives us a pretty good break (on the price)," he said.

All of the Fourth of July activities are organized by the Pickerington Recreation and Parks Department, including the parade, which is expected to draw over 100 units.

Organizers said those wishing to participate in the parade can still register up until the day of the event.

Parks and Recreation Director Rebecca Medinger said members of the Pickerington Christian Ministerial Association and its Food Pantry were collectively designated as the parade's "grand marshal" this year.

"The July Fourth celebration is a great summer event filled with family, friends, parades, music, entertainment, food, games, fireworks and more to celebrate the history and traditions in the U.S. with one another," Medinger said.

For more information about Pickerington's Fourth of July festivities or to register for the parade, call the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department at 614-833-2211.