Country-music artist Rodney Atkins will headline a concert ahead of the annual fireworks display July 4 at Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park in Hilliard.

The free concert will be part of the city’s first Freedom Fest.

Angela Zody, a Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department aide, and Jill Gerschutz, who works for the Credit Union of Ohio, announced Atkins’ appearance June 6 on stage during Hilliard’s first Celebration at the Station event of the summer at Hilliard’s Station Park.

Atkins is scheduled to perform from 8:15 to 9:45 p.m., concluding a schedule of other live entertainment and leading into the fireworks display. Parade awards will be from 6:15 to 6:30 p.m., and Simba Jordan will perform from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Hilliard leaders announced the city was securing a “nationally known headlining act” in early May when they announced Freedom Fest as the new name for its Fourth of July festivities.

“We are excited to bring country star Rodney Atkins to Hilliard’s Freedom Fest on July 4,” said Ed Merritt, director of the Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department. “This is a great opportunity to elevate an already fantastic event for our residents.”

Planning for the summer concert began early this year, said David Ball, director of communications for Hilliard.

“We worked with a booking agent that provides possible available acts based on the organization’s goals and resources for the event,” he said. “Rodney Atkins seemed like a good fit for Hilliard’s Freedom Fest, so we entered into negotiations.”

Atkins’ hit singles include “Farmer’s Daughter,” “Take a Back Road,” “It’s America,” “Watching You” and “These Are My People.”

Several sponsors, including the Credit Union of Ohio, will contribute to the overall operating costs of the event, Ball said. The city budgeted $86,000 for the event, he said.

A shuttle service will be available from 3 p.m. to midnight July 4 from the Franklin County Fairgrounds, 4100 Columbia St., to Heritage Middle School, 5670 Scioto Darby Road.

Limited parking also will be available at Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park, 3800 Veterans Memorial Drive, and at Hilliard Darby High School, 4200 Leppert Road.

The name for Freedom Fest evolved from an internal planning group consisting of the city’s communications and recreation and parks staff members, Ball said.

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekCorvo

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