Whitehall will mark July Fourth and celebrate its past and future with an entire week packed with festivities.

Whitehall will mark July Fourth and celebrate its past and future with an entire week packed with festivities.

"Old Traditions; New Opportunities" is the theme of Whitehall's Fourth of July celebration for 2013.

The city's seven days of activities celebrating America's independence begin Friday, June 28, with the first of several competitions, and concludes next Thursday, July 4, with a morning parade and an afternoon of live music and amusement rides at John Bishop Park.

However, the city's fireworks will be held at 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, at John Bishop Park, on the same evening as Columbus' Red, White & Boom!

Whitehall-Yearling High School's wrestling team will serve as the grand marshal of the parade, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. July 4. The team was chosen in recognition of its success at state tournaments earlier this year.

The parade route has changed for 2013. The parade will conclude as usual at John Bishop Park, but will use Etna Road instead of Langley Avenue to arrive at its terminus.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. July 4 at East Broad Street and South Yearling Road, then proceed south on South Yearling Road to Etna Road, finally wending east on Etna Road to the north end of John Bishop Park.

In previous years, the parade route had followed Langley Avenue, rather than Etna Road, to arrive at a different area at John Bishop Park.

Leo Knoblauch, president of the Whitehall Community Celebration Association, the sponsor of the city's Independence Day activities, said the change in the parade route stemmed from a number of factors, including demolition work at the former Rosemore Middle School, as well as the fewer number of cross-streets on Etna Road, compared to Langley Avenue.

"We will see how (the new route) goes," but unless there are unforeseen problems, the new route likely will stay in place. The new route actually was the original parade route, Knoblauch said.

The city's Fourth of July activities begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 28, with the Whitehall's Got Talent variety show.

The entry fee for the contest is $5.

Three pageants will be held Saturday, June 29, each at the band shell at the John LaCorte Amphitheater inside John Bishop Park.

The Beautiful Baby contest will be held at 10 a.m.; the Little Miss Whitehall pageant will start at 4 p.m.; and the Junior Miss Whitehall contest will be held at 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 30, will feature a car show from 4 to 7 p.m. at John Bishop Park.

The entry fee is $8; the first 50 participants will receive dash plaques. Registration is from 4 to 5 p.m. and judging is from 5 to 6 p.m. An awards ceremony will be held at 6:30 p.m.

Amusement rides at Bishop Park open Monday, July 1, and run through July 4.

The midway will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. July 1 and Tuesday, July 2. Unlimited-ride bracelets may be purchased for $20 on July 1 and 2.

The Young Miss Whitehall pageant will be held at 7 p.m. July 1 at the band shell. The Miss Whitehall pageant will be held at 7 p.m. July 2 at the band shell.

Amusement rides will be open from 1 to 11 p.m. Wednesday, July 3.

Heindog & Stadz will provide live music from 7 to 9:55 p.m. July 3, followed by Kennedy Farrow performing the national anthem.

Whitehall's fireworks show will begin at 10 p.m. July 3.

The Fourth of July parade will start at 10 a.m. July 4, followed by a Picnic in the Park event from 2 to 6 p.m. at Bishop Park.

The family event is new this year.

"We're still planning things as we go along, attempting to accommodate ideas as they develop," Knoblauch said June 21.

Among possible new activities is a pizza-eating contest, Knoblauch said.

The city's celebration no longer will include the Taste of Whitehall contest once held among Whitehall pizzerias, because of a lack of participation, Knoblauch said.

In its place could be a pizza-eating contest, which would be quantity-based as oppose to quality-based, Knoblauch said.

Picnic in the Park will feature live music by Radio Surfers and a disc jockey.

"Together, the music should appeal to everyone," said Knoblauch, with the live band catering to adults and the DJ playing music more familiar to children and teens.

A chili cook-off will be held during the four-hour event. Games and crafts also will be featured.

Amusement rides will be open from 1 to 6 p.m. July 4.

Murray Brothers will provide the amusement rides and midway entertainment.