Organizers of Upper Arlington's annual Fourth of July celebration this year are hailing the community's vibrancy and bright future while promising the time-tested traditions of the local Independence Day will continue.
At this point in Upper Arlington's 101-year history, about the only people who don't know how things work on the celebration are newbies.
This year marks the 86th consecutive year the Upper Arlington Civic Association has run the community event and, at least in recent memory, there haven't been many tweaks to what's widely considered Upper Arlington's signature event.
"We're going to continue the wonderful tradition of the Fourth of July here in Arlington," said Jim Stair, who along with his wife, Annie, are overseeing the 2019 event as general chairs.
So, few should be surprised to hear not-so-vague traces of reveling starting at 7 a.m., when UACA volunteers cruise the city with bullhorns, delivering customized wake-up calls to residents whose "friends" or family members have requested them. It's said to be an homage to Paul Revere's midnight ride in April 1775 alerting colonial American militia's to the approach of British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord, but with a playful twist.
From there, it's on to the intersection of Northwest Boulevard and Zollinger Road, where the parade steps off at 9 a.m. As always, the parade will run south, crossing Lane Avenue and ending at the intersection of Northwest and North Star Road.
"We have, hopefully, a couple surprises at the beginning of the parade," Stair said. "We have over 70 entrants in the parade."
The theme for this year's parade is "The Best is Yet to Come," which, Stair said, acknowledges Upper Arlington's history, as well as anticipated enhancements to the community via the reconstruction and renovation of Upper Arlington High School and five elementary buildings, continued upgrades to local roadways and infrastructure, as well ongoing economic development.
"We have so much to look forward to in our community," Stair said.
The parade will be presided over by Upper Arlington Schools Superintendent Paul Imhoff, who's the grand marshal.
Last month, Imhoff said he was honored to be chosen and looked forward to sharing in the celebration with his family.
"The Fourth of July is such an important day in Upper Arlington -- we feel really lucky to be part of this great tradition in this amazing community as we pause to honor our country and celebrate our freedom," he said.
Stair said Imhoff is being recognized for the "tireless efforts of he and his team" to improve local education and the future of UA schools.
"We're honoring a wonderful individual who's helping effect the future of our schools," he said.
After the parade, the crowd makes its ways to neighborhood gatherings before the throng matriculates to Northam Park, 2070 Northam Road, for Party in the Park, which opens at 5:30 p.m., with Conspiracy Band taking the stage at 6 p.m.
"This year was the fastest on record," Stair said. "We sold out the tables in the park in six hours, which was two days faster than last year."
Party in the Park will feature food trucks and vendors, the singing of the National Anthem by Kate Glazer, and a special performance from UA Schools elementary and high school students who will join Conspiracy Band on stage.
"Once again, we'll be offering catering at Party in the Park from City Barbeque (and Catering)," Stair said. "All pre-ordering must be done by July 1. The link can be found on the UACA website and through UACA social media."
Among the festivities at Party in the Park will be the annual table-decorating contest. This year's winner will receive a free table at next year's event.
Fireworks are scheduled for 10 p.m.
"The one deviation from last year is that at the conclusion of the fireworks, at 10:30, everything will be over.
"We're just looking forward to a great, fun, safe, family atmosphere because in Upper Arlington 'The Best is Yet to Come.' "