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Fourth of July Festivities Offer Wide Range of Family Fun

by on July 03, 2013 2:55 PM

It's time to celebrate the nation's independence and the birth of the United States! Whether you're a runner, a parade-goer or want to spend some quality time with your family, the Central Pennsylvania Fourth Fest is set to fill your day with fun.

The Firecracker 4K Race starts at 9 a.m. on Penn State's campus (a map is available here). In 2012, 1,100 people registered for the race and now 4th Fest organizers are hoping to top 1,300 registered participants this year. 

Runners and walkers of all ages and skill sets are encouraged to sign up. Winners in various age categories will be awarded prizes. More information and a link to the race's registration is available here.

The first parade of the day kicks off at 10 a.m. with the Kids on Wheels Parade! Come out and show your patriotism! Bring your bike, wagon, scooter, stroller or skateboard and meet at 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Foster Avenue and Locust Lane. The parade ends at the Friedman Parklet where participants will celebrate by singing "Happy Birthday to US" and eating watermelon. And it's free to all!

New to Fourth Fest this year is the Parade of Heroes. Fourteen local heroes, who have served in various wars, will be in the parade as a tribute to their service to our nation. When the parade begins, area churches will ring their bells in remembrance of the freedoms we enjoy in America. The parade starts at 2 p.m. in front of the Municipal Building, 243 S. Allen St. The parade ends at the Penn State Intramural Building and will take the following route:

  • North on South Allen Street to East College Avenue
  • East on East College Avenue to Shortlidge Road
  • North on Shortlidge Road to Pollock Road
  • East Pollock Road to Bigler Road
  • North on Bigler Road to Curtin Road
  • East on Curtin Road and ending near University Drive

The parade route will be closed to vehicle traffic from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., the State College Police say, and parking along the route will be restricted.

In case it's raining, you can still celebrate and stay dry! Catch 1776 at The State Theatre at 4:30 p.m. A film version of the Broadway musical of the same name, "1776" was nominated for both an Oscar for Best Cinematography and Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture in 1973, and received recognition as a Top Ten Film by the National Board of Review Award in 1972.

Hurry up to Beaver Stadium, because starting at 2 p.m. there will be family activities going on all afternoon until the fireworks show at night! There are carnival rides, and games for all ages, a military equipment display, and an Operation Thank-You tent, where you can sign a card for the brave men and women serving our country. 

How about a pie making contest? You've got it! Pie entries will be accepted between 3:30 and 5 p.m. After the winners are announced from the Towne Square Stage at 6:55 p.m., attendees can buy slices of the delicious pies! Download the rules and entry information.

At 4 p.m. 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., Fourth Fest volunteers will put on a pyrotechnics demonstration to show carnival-goers what it takes to put on the third-best fireworks show in the nation. It's also a sneak peek at what's going to happen at the night's fireworks show!

Another new addition to Fourth Fest is the lumberjacks competition. Three lumberjack shows go on at 4:30, 6 and 7 p.m. Then at 5, 6:30 and 8 p.m., there's a lumberjack "camp" where anyone can learn how to log roll.

Weather permitting, between 5 and 9 p.m. Sky's the Limit Ballooning is offering tethered hot air balloon rides. Sign-ups are at the balloon.

Hungry yet? Giant provides a 14-foot long American flag cake and the line forms in the Stadium West at 5:30 p.m. and around 6 p.m., "Happy Birthday" will be sung to America and the cake will be cut and served.

The rest of the food and drink vendors will be open at 3 p.m. at various locations around the stadium. 

Then, it's time for fireworks. They begin around 9 p.m. at Beaver Stadium. You don't want to miss any of the show, but especially not the Grand Finale. Fireworks will be launched at an amazing rate; up to 45 shells a second. Need another place to watch? Check out Alternative Places to Watch 4th Fest Fireworks!

Check out even more to do with StateCollege.com's Fourth of July guide. Have a happy and safe holiday!



Laura Nichols is a StateCollege.com news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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