Whether you’re looking to catch a late-night fireworks display, participate in a patriotic race, or eat plenty of barbecue, East Central Indiana is home to plenty of Fourth of July festivities this year.
While COVID-19 put a limited capacity on events or canceled them altogether in 2020, many local cities and towns are gearing up to celebrate Independence Day this weekend, July 2-4.
Here’s a look at what’s planned:
Muncie to light up the sky with two fireworks displays
If you’re eagerly waiting for the boom of fireworks and bright lights to hit the sky, Muncie will be home to two displays over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The first is scheduled for 10 p.m. Saturday, July 3, at Prairie Creek Reservoir. Another show will be downtown at 10 p.m. Sunday, July 4, at Muncie Central High School, near the levy.
The shows will be put on by Melrose Pyrotechnics, based in Kingsbury, Ind. The Muncie Police and Fire departments will guide traffic before and after the downtown event. Wheeling Avenue will be closed from Wysor Street Minnetrista Boulevard in the late evening Sunday, before and after the event.
Before Sunday’s fireworks, America’s Hometown Band will present a concert, “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” at Canan Commons in downtown Muncie. The free performance will run 7-8 p.m., Sunday at the venue, 600 S. Walnut Street.
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“We’ve scheduled a one-hour program starting at 7 p.m., timing it to enhance family time after suppertime, and before the big overhead fireworks. There’s plenty of space to meet friends, light the sparklers, and sing our country’s praises along with the band,” AHB Musical Director, Roger McConnell said in a news release.
Cook-offs, cornhole and fireworks in Hartford City
From cornhole tournaments to jazz performances, Hartford City has plenty of activities planned to celebrate Fourth of July. Presented by the Hartford City Parks Department and the Hartford City Arts Council, “Saturday in the Park” will be 6 a.m.-10 p.m., Saturday at the Sigma Phi Gamma Founders Park.
The day begins at 6 a.m. with the Blackford Backyard BBQ Cook Off. While the cooking begins in the early morning hours, public serving begins at 4 p.m., when attendees can vote for their favorite.
A 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament is scheduled for 8 a.m.-noon. The tournament will be held on the basketball courts along Elm Street. Registration and waivers must be signed by each player. A vendor marketplace will take place 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the corner of Elm and Richmond Streets. The event also includes a farmers market with locally sourced fruits, vegetables and more, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., between the park entrances along Richmond Street.
A cornhole tournament will be 10 a.m.-2 p.m., just west of the enclosed shelter house. Registration begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, costing $20 for teams and $15 for singles. The doubles tournament is scheduled first, followed by singles. Disc golf was also be available to play throughout the day at the northwest corner of park.
Located in the area’s southern parking lot, a car show will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m. According to the parks department, registration starts at 10 a.m., with dashboard plaques going to the first 50 entries. The Top Ten awards will be announced at the end of the event.
Saturday in the Park will have activities for children throughout the day, including inflatables and “touch a truck,” which allows children to get up close to equipment from various city departments.
Several musical performances are scheduled towards the end of the evening, including the BCS Blue Felt Jazz Group 5:30-6:30 p.m., Erie Jazz Band 7-8 p.m. and the Mississinewa Valley Band 8:30-9:45 p.m. The night will end with fireworks around 10 p.m.
Portland’s Firecracker 5K and more
Jay County will kick off holiday festivities early with the Firecracker 5K Run. According to the Jay Community Center’s website, the race will begin at 8 a.m. Sunday at the Jay County Fairgrounds, 806 E Votaw St., Portland.
Race day registration begins at 7 a.m. with a $20 fee. The race has a capacity for 500 participants, and currently, only about 100 are registered. Early registration, which is open until Wednesday, June 30, can be done at jaycc.org/events. Prizes will be awarded to the first-, second- and third-place finishers for both male and female age groups.
Mayor John Boggs told The Star Press that a parade will be held after the race at noon, followed by plenty of activities and food throughout the afternoon at the fairgrounds.
Music and other entertainment will begin around 6 p.m., with a fireworks display beginning at dusk.
For more information about the race, contact 260-726-8079 or [email protected]
Head to Redkey for fireworks and baseball
To celebrate Independence Day, Redkey is inviting the public to attend a day full of baseball and fireworks.
On Saturday, youth baseball and softball tournaments will be held all day at the Redkey City Park. Around 10 p.m., the Redkey Fireworks Committee will put on its annual small town fireworks display.
Donations are still being accepted for the event at facebook.com/Redkey-Fireworks-Committee-123113871626014/.
Movies and fireworks return to Hummel Drive-In
Movies will be followed by a fireworks display at Winchester’s Hummel Drive-In to start the holiday weekend off.
Fireworks will begin at dusk, or around 10 p.m., Friday, July 2, at Hummel Drive-In, 2870 IN-32. Between the two screens, four movies will be played throughout the evening, including “Boss Baby 2,” “Jurassic Park” (1993), “F9: The Fast Saga,” and “Smokey and the Bandit” (1977).
Gates and concessions will open at 8 p.m. with films also starting around dusk. According to the drive-in’s Facebook page, admission is cash only and movies will play regardless of weather, unless otherwise indicated.
Following the Hummel Drive-In event, the area will showcase two more firework displays over the weekend.
According to the Winchester Community Cultural Preservation Committee Facebook page, one show will be Saturday July 3 at Harter Park in Union City. Another show will follow on Sunday July 4 at Goodrich Park in Winchester. Both shows will begin at dusk.
Patriotic Pops and Four for the Fourth planned in Yorktown
While Yorktown’s 10th annual Four for the Fourth run/walk had to be canceled last year due to COVID-19 pandemic, the four-mile race and walk is back.
Whether you’re walking, running or have a large group, registration for the race is still open through Friday at fourforthefourth.run/. Fees range from $15 to $30, depending on activity and group size. Those who registered for the 2020 race before it was canceled do not have to re-register for this year’s race.
Scheduled for 8 a.m. Sunday, the race will have a new start line now that Yorktown’s Civic Green is completed. According to the event’s website, a new festival space is located two blocks west of the previous Speedway Gas Station start line.
Along with starting the race at the Civic Green, participants will also stay on the trail in Morrow’s Meadow all the way around. With road closures, event planners urge all runners to arrive at the park by 7:30 a.m.
Everyone who finishes the event (Four Mile or Fun Run) will be offered a finisher medal, and runners that finish in the top three of their age groups in the four-mile event will receive an age group award. Awards will begin around 9:30 a.m.
For a full list of race instructions, visit fourforthefourth.run/race-instructions/
Later in the evening, community members can return to the area for a fireworks display and a free concert put on by the Muncie Symphony Orchestra.
Patriotic Pops will be 8-9 p.m. Sunday at the Civic Green, 9400 W. Smith St. According to a release, songs will include “America the Beautiful” and the “1812 Overture” and other fanfares and solos, featuring vocalists and well as instrumental music.
Fireworks will begin after the concert. Attendees are encouraged to take their own lawn chairs or blankets.
Scott Watkins, who became executive director of the MSO in February, said in a release that the goal of the concert is to bring to the community together and celebrate freedom, especially after last year.
“We have been cooped up in our homes for too long, and now is the time to celebrate our freedom in a new way,” Watkins said in the release. “Fireworks and live music help gather together and unite people; our hope is to enrich that experience.”
Charlotte Stefanski is a reporter at the Star Press. Contact her at 765-283-5543, [email protected] or follow her on twitter @CharStefanski.