Pickerington, Violet Township to mark July 4 with parade, fireworks, park activities
The Pickerington-Violet Township community will celebrate Independence Day with events that include a fireworks display and a parade on consecutive days.
The festivities, put on by the city of Pickerington and Violet Township, with assistance from the Pickerington Lions Club, will kick off with fireworks July 2 that will be launched from Pickerington High School Center, 300 Opportunity Way, about 10 p.m.
At 10 a.m. July 3, the Pickerington Parks and Recreation Department will host the return of the community's Independence Day parade. The parade was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two-day event is in line with the community's celebration in 2019 when city and township officials elected to depart from a single-day celebration July 4 that incorporated both a parade and fireworks; the change was made after several years of incidents stemming from large and, at times, unruly crowds in Victory Park.
"We were not in alignment with Columbus' (July 3) Red, White & Boom and fireworks for some of the local communities around Columbus," Pickerington Mayor Lee Gray said. "We found that people were moving to where the fireworks were being held.
"This year, Columbus canceled Red, White & Boom, but we're still having our fireworks on the same night as Reynoldsburg and Whitehall. The hope is people get to enjoy the Fourth of July celebration and fireworks in their communities."
Although the scheduling changes have been made to reduce fireworks crowds, Gray said he's hoping for a large turnout for the parade July 3.
"It will be nice to be able to get back to normal, where people can start enjoying family and friends and seeing their faces and smiles," he said.
The roughly two-mile parade will take its traditional route, starting from PHS Central before heading north on Lockville Road past Victory Park. It then will proceed west on Columbus Street through Olde Pickerington Village before turning south on Hill Road and ending at Pickerington Ridgeview Junior High School.
"Anybody that wants to participate can call the city and get a spot," Gray said. "Saturday is a good day for a morning parade."
The registration deadline to be in the parade is June 25. Those wishing to participate can call the Pickerington Parks and Rec Department at 614-833-2211.
A parade registration form also is available at https://tinyurl.com/wj67h7kz
In conjunction with the parade, the Pickerington Lions Club will celebrate the holiday and the club's 75th anniversary with activities in Victory Park.
"We're doing what we like to call the 'Parade After Party,'" said Brian Fox, Pickerington Lions Club past president. "We're going to have some food trucks down in Victory Park that will be available during the parade and for a couple hours afterwards."
"We'll have between four and six food trucks," club President Dave King said. "We are planning to have a dunk tank there, we are planning to have a DJ there. We also are planning to have a raffle with prizes."
As of June 8, the club still was seeking to confirm participants.
King said the Lions Club, which typically takes part in the community's July 4 celebration and annual hosts a Labor Day parade and fish fry in Victory Park, wanted to provide activities in conjunction with this year's parade as part of the club's ongoing commitment to service.
"We heard about the city's plans for this year, and we saw this was an opportunity to serve," King said. "The Lions Club has been serving Pickerington for 75 years, and we're always looking for ways to give back to the community. We want to serve the community and be more visible as a group."
Gray said the Lions Club participation will help add to this year's celebration.
"Because the Fourth of July is on a Sunday, a lot of people will have a holiday on Monday," he said. "We'll have the fireworks and a parade, and then you'll actually have a couple more days for people to have cookouts and celebrations."