The Whitehall Community Celebration Association will recognize the efforts of the Whitehall divisions of fire and police on Independence Day, collectively naming them as grand marshals of Whitehall's Fourth of July parade.

The theme of this year's parade is "Keeping Whitehall Safe," said Karen Conison, president of the association.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. July 4 at East Broad Street and South Yearling Road.

The parade will march south on South Yearling Road to Etna Road and then turn west on Etna Road to John Bishop Park, where it will conclude.

The grand marshals were chosen because of the fire department's efforts to reduce overdoses through its SAFE Station and the police department's "A Safer Whitehall" initiative and town-hall events, Knoblauch said.

A Safer Whitehall, which was started in 2017, has used public gatherings to target crime, with meetings focusing on such topics as domestic violence, drugs, school-resource officers and the police department's K-9 units.

The SAFE Station at the fire department offers a place for those experiencing drug overdose to receive treatment -- typically a dose of naloxone that reverses the effects of an opiate overdose -- and referrals for addiction-treatment centers.

As is typical in Whitehall, the July Fourth parade will cap off a long string of events celebrating the holiday.

The earliest is the Whitehall Community Celebration Association's Cruise-In, set Saturday, June 22, at the Whitehall Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 8794, 4100 E. Main St.

Registration begins at 10 a.m. and awards will be presented at 3 p.m.

The event is open to all vehicles. Registration is $10.

The first 50 registrants receive dash plaques, and more than 20 trophies will be awarded.

A decades-long tradition of Whitehall's Fourth of July celebration has been the WCCA's pageants, including those for Miss Whitehall, Junior Miss Whitehall and Little Miss Whitehall.

But after the number of contestants fell in recent years, the WCCA is restructuring pageants, said Leo Knoblauch, a past president of the association.

"We are trying something new," he said.

Previous pageants were for girls only, but this year will mark the first Ambassador Pageant, which is open to boys and girls, Knoblauch said.

The new pageant is set for noon June 29 at the band shell at John Bishop Park.

However, as of June 14, no one had registered via the WCCA Facebook page "Whitehall Pageants," Knoblauch said.

For more information about the requirements of the Ambassador Pageant and the Baby Pageant, which begins at 10 a.m. June 29 and is open to boys and girls no older than 3 years, visit the Facebook page.

The deadline for pageant entries is June 22.

Entries also will be accepted at the cruise-in, Knoblauch said.

Whitehall's fireworks celebration is set from 6 to 10 p.m. July 3 at Whitehall-Yearling High School, 675 S. Yearling Road, with fireworks beginning at dark.

Wristbands are required to enter and are available during business hours through June 28 at Whitehall City Hall, 360 S. Yearling Road, said Kaitlin King, community affairs manager for Whitehall.

If any wristbands remain available after June 28, only those with proof of residency in Whitehall -- a driver's license, utility bill or other acceptable identification -- may receive wristbands for entry at the event, King said.

Unlike last year, there will be no July Fourth carnival this year at John Bishop Park, King said.

This is the third year the fireworks show will be held at the high school stadium.

Prior to 2017, the city's fireworks were launched at John Bishop Park at the conclusion of a multiday carnival, but after a series of incidents that included arrests for several consecutive years though 2016, city leaders moved the fireworks to the high school.

The expanses of the park made crowd control difficult, city officials said at the time, but the new policy and venue have ended any similar problems, officials said after the change.

The multiday carnival continued at John Bishop Park in 2017 and 2018 even after the fireworks were relocated, but ended July 2 each year.

There will be no live music at the high school this year, King said, but a Ferris wheel and food trucks will be available and residents will be allowed to bring food into the stadium.

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