Fun, affordable and patriotic. That is probably the best description of Wellman?s annual July 4 celebration, which falls on Wednesday this year.
?It?s Wellman?s biggest event of the year,? said Tom Buckwalter of the Wellman Chamber of Commerce. ?It brings a lot of people to town.?
The annual parade often features more than 150 entries and large crowds line the street from start to finish. The parade usually carries a patriotic theme.
As a way of saying ?thank you,? the Wellman Fire Department has been chosen as the parade?s Grand Marshal this year. It is celebrating its 125th Anniversary this year and is celebrating by hosting an open house at the fire station.
The fun starts downtown with a 9:30 a.m. kiddie parade and continues through the evening with a community firework show. Blastoff is set for dusk.
The kiddie parade is one of the most popular features of the day. Local children dress in costume and construct their own floats for a slow walk down the first couple of blocks of the parade route.
The main parade travels through downtown Wellman at 10 a.m. Longtime residents Sean Powell and Tracy Owens will use a public sound system to introduce the parade entries and provide entertaining commentary for the audience. As with most parades, there will be fire trucks, a color guard, classic cars, tractors, service groups and veterans in the parade.
For those interested in the history of the community, the Wellman Heritage Museum will be open in the morning and early afternoon. The museum is located at 228 Eighth Avenue.
After the parade, Federation Bank will sponsor a pedal tractor pull in downtown. At 1 p.m., a garden tractor pull will be conducted in South Park. From downtown, the fun shifts to Wellman?s North Park where D and B Carnival will set up its amusement rides.
Other activities at North Park include Bingo, pony rides, barrel rides, a horseshoe tournament, virtual adventures, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and food vendors. At 6:30 p.m., there will be live music at the band shell.
The Wellman Rotary Club will be serving a meal to raise funds for new equipment at the city?s South Park.
The firework display begins at sunset. The community credits the Wellman Fire Department?s hard work in making the show a success each year.
Wellman?s Fourth of July celebration has a long and rich history of not only providing affordable family fun, but honoring veterans and military families. ?Wellman?s Fourth of July event brings families together. Throughout the town on that day, you?ll see yard parties and backyard picnics,? Buckwalter said.
Wellman isn?t the only Washington County community planning a Fourth of July celebration. Listed below are Independence Day celebrations throughout the county:
After what the Washington City Council termed a ?lackluster? display last year, the City of Washington has spent more money in order to provide a show worth remember this Fourth of July. The city?s fireworks display will be held at the Washington County Fairgrounds beginning about 9:30 p.m.
The Independence Day mainstay of a celebration at the Shiloh Amphitheatre is canceled this year. A private event for only Shiloh?s Living Word Fellowship members and invited guests will be held. A message on the Amphitheater?s Facebook page says, ?The retired pyrotechnic ?Fireworks Spectacular? had a great run and marked the end of an era for Shiloh, and a now, a new ?compact yet patriotic? fireworks show opens for 2018 specifically for the amphitheater in Shiloh and Living Word church community family and friends.?
Events begin July 4 at 6:30 a.m. with a Lions Club breakfast that will be held at the Wayland Community Center. A 1.5 mile Freedom fun run/walk will leave from Central Park at 7:30 a.m. Registration and lineup for the parade begins at 9:30 a.m., with the parade beginning at 10:30 a.m. Midwest Memories-Wayland Museum will be open at various times throughout the day. Lunch will be served from noon to 1:30 p.m. in WACO High School, hosted by the girls basketball team. A town trivia event will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. in the community center. A scavenger hunt also will be held throughout Wayland. Fireworks will be held at dusk on the WACO football field.
Dave Hotle contributed to this story.