When crowds gather to watch the Independence Day parade in Bexley at 9:30 a.m. July 4, they might notice a slight difference.
This year's route has been reconfigured to reduce pauses, according to Bexley city officials.
"Year after year, we receive feedback that the gaps (at East Broad and East Main streets) cause the parade to not be as exciting because they think it's over. Then they look up and see more of the parade coming," said Sam Metcalf, a city spokesman and a representative with Bexley Celebrations, which coordinates the Independence Day festivities.
The 2.8-mile parade route will begin at the intersection of Maryland Avenue and North Remington Road. Instead of proceeding up Pleasant Ridge Avenue off East Mound Street as in years past, this year's parade will turn right (north) on Euclaire Avenue, turn left (west) on East Main Street, continuing north on South Dawson and ending at the Bexley High School parking lot on South Cassingham Road.
In addition to the route change, the city also will enforce temporary road closures on East Broad and East Main streets on the morning of the parade, Metcalf said.
The theme of this year's parade is "Land that I Love," which organizers said is a nod to environmental initiatives in Bexley such as the food-waste recycling program and the ban on single-use plastics that is scheduled to go into effect in January 2020
In that spirit, organizers have cut in half the number of flyers outlining the parade route -- from 10,000 to 5,000, Metcalf said. Those who don't receive flyers can look up the route at bexley.org/fourth.
"We'll make a focus of handing (flyers) out to older people who don't have access to the website or don't want to be on their phones," Metcalf said.
In addition to the parade, the day's festivities will include the annual John Barr 5K, which will begin at 8 a.m. at Jeffrey Mansion, 165 N. Parkview Ave. The community celebration will begin at 6 p.m. on Capital University's East Main Street lawn, with live entertainment, games and food vendors.
At 10 p.m., fireworks will be launched from the field between College Avenue and Pleasant Ridge Avenue.
Several viewing areas will be available around Capital's Campus Center off Pleasant Ridge Avenue.
"The Fourth of July festivities, from the 5K run, to the parade, to block parties and open houses, to the community celebration on Capital's lawn, to the fantastic fireworks display, brings the community together year over year, with a volume of attendance and participation that makes it the biggest event on Bexley's community calendar every year," Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler said.
"The parade and evening activities tend to draw not just Bexley residents but celebrants from surrounding communities and from throughout central Ohio."
The Independence Day celebration is a community focal point, council President Lori Ann Feibel said.
"The people of Bexley have an amazing talent for creating events in our city that bring our citizens together in a fun, festive, welcoming way," she said. "Whether family members who kick off our day at our John Barr 5K, alumni who join former classmates on their reunion parade float, or friends who party-hop from one block to the next prior to walking over to the fireworks, our community loves to be together and create shared memories."
For more information about Independence Day events, visit bexley.org/fourth.