Upper Arlington Civic Association plans traditional July 4 celebration

Nate Ellis
ThisWeek group

The Fourth of July is back in Upper Arlington, according to event organizations. 

The Upper Arlington Civic Association has announced its plan to provide its full complement of annual Independence Day festivities this year, including a parade down Northwest Boulevard, Party in the Park and fireworks. 

The Upper Arlington Civic Association's "We're Back & We're 4thin' For Good!" logo

"Our plan is to go back to a more traditional celebration," said Stacy McIntire, who, along with her husband, Brandon, is general chair in charge of organizing this year's celebration. "We are monitoring state, county and city guidelines for outdoor events, but we are moving forward with plans for the parade, Party in the Park and fireworks all on Sunday, July 4." 

The announcement comes after the COVID-19 pandemic initially appeared as though it might scuttle any form of the UACA's 87th Independence Day celebration in 2020. Instead, leaders of the citizen-run group held a scaled-back rendition of the celebration.

The annual party in Northam Park and fireworks were scrapped, but the UACA formed two parade processions that wound through various neighborhoods in the community.

In signaling plans to return the full event this year, the UACA on April 13 released the 2021 July 4 theme, "We're Back & We're 4thin' For Good!" as well as its corresponding logo.  

"Last year was a tough year for all, but we're back, and we're planning for a full Fourth of July," McIntire said. The 4thin' is really a verb for the UA community and July 4, she said. 

"We're bringing back the tradition and the sense of community," she said. "We're really hoping to bring out the good in the community and have that carry us forward." 

In addition to the theme and logo, the UACA announced that current Upper Arlington City Council Vice President Kip Greenhill has been chosen for this year's parade grand marshal.

Upper Arlington City Council Vice President Kip Greenhill

Greenhill is in the final year of his second full term on council. He served as council president and the city's mayor from January 2018 to December 2020. 

Prior to that, he was Upper Arlington High School principal for 17 years. 

"We wanted to honor someone that not only meets the expectations of what a grand marshal should represent but also someone that has truly inspired the good in the community," Stacy and Brandon McIntire said in a joint statement. "Our grand marshal for 2021 has UA pride and spirit that runs deep."

The McIntires said under Greenhill's leadership on council, community input and collaboration are "now part of the framework for how decisions are made within the city" and that his influence "extends far beyond the city limits."

"He has influenced over 7,000 students through his 17 years as UAHS principal by ensuring superior educational experiences and achievements in a safe and learning-focused environment," the couple stated. "We feel his focus on civility, community engagement and openness embody the good in our community. We are honored to have Kip and his wife, Katy, participating in our 4th of July celebration."

Greenhill said he was "completely surprised" by his selection. 

"There's so much talent and people who have given so much to this community," he said. "For me to be selected is truly humbling.

"I've had the opportunity to work in this community with incredible school and city administrators, exceptional teachers and exceptionally dedicated and smart City Council colleagues." 

Greenhill said he's hopeful the UACA celebration is able to return in full this year. He said it would be a thrill to preside over the parade, particularly due to the unusual circumstances surrounding it and the ongoing pandemic. 

"I think it's just great to be able to bring the community back together," he said. "I hope it's safe to do so. We need this. As human beings, we need this. I'm looking forward to it." 

Stacy McIntire said updates regarding the celebration and any pandemic-related restrictions or guidelines would be posted to the UACA website at uaca.org as the festivities approach. 

Additionally, she said, information is expected to be provided through the UACA's and city of Upper Arlington's social-media accounts.

Information about the event and float-building guidelines currently are available on the UACA website.  

"Because we have been a little more closed off, I think people are really missing the sense of community," she said. "That's exactly what the Fourth of July celebration in Upper Arlington brings. We're really excited about it. Last year, we did the best we could with what we were able to do. People are hungry to get back to the traditional Fourth of July celebration." 

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate