Preparations are in the final stages for this year’s July Fourth festivities in downtown Lincolnton, with organizers still looking for additional parade entries.
The July Fourth Celebration Committee, made up of city of Lincolnton and Lincoln County officials, as well as representatives from various local organizations, met Tuesday afternoon to hammer out remaining details.
“I really think it sounds like we’re in good shape,” said City Manager Jeff Emory, who also serves as the committee chair.
The schedule of events for this year’s celebration, which is in honor of all veterans of World War II, will follow those from past years. Lineup for the parade will take place between 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. July 4 at Fifth Third Bank, with the procession beginning its march down East Main Street at 8 p.m.
A roughly 20-minute program will follow at the Lincolnton High School football stadium, the parade’s endpoint. Fireworks are then to begin at around 9:35 p.m.
Preceding the parade and ceremony, children’s activities will be offered from 6-8 p.m. at the stadium.
Emory stressed that there is no rain date, with festivities going on rain or shine.
“It’s something people really look forward to,” Mayor John Gilleland said of the annual event.
Those interested in entering the parade may do so by filling out an entry form, available at City Hall, by July 1 or on-site the day of the parade. There is no charge to participate, and people may enter a vehicle, float, marching unit and more.
All entries must carry or display the American flag. Throwing candy or small items to the public is prohibited, as is dressing up in any Halloween-type costumes. One group chose to dress up as zombies last year, and organizers are hoping to prevent a similar occurrence this year.
Though few changes will be seen from previous years’ events, one particular aspect that has presented some challenges for organizers this year is parking. Since Lincolnton High School has been in the process of repairing its track, no vehicles will be allowed to park in certain areas around the field.
As such, officials are working out a system for parking involving passes and drop-off sites. Emory noted that the issue should be a “one-year problem,” given that the track repairs won’t likely factor into the picture next year.
The keynote speaker for the program is Lincolnton High School Assistant Principal Robbie Robbins, a colonel in the United States Army Reserve. He plans to retire after 30 years in the military, five of which were on active duty, this time next year.
He was nominated by the committee and asked to be the event’s grand marshal, something he believes will make for a perfect exit after all his years of service.
“It’s an honor for me to do this,” he said, adding that it could be the last time he wears his uniform, other than for weddings or funerals.
He was honored last month with the Legion of Merit Award, the second-highest military-service award. He received the recognition for his role working with wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
He said his speech will include quotes from past presidents and focus on bravery, not just of those in the military but also of the men who boldly risked much by signing the Declaration of Independence.
While he said July Fourth is certainly a day for fun and celebration, he noted that it should also be a time for remembering the founding of the nation and a revolution that sought not just the changing of the law, but the changing of government.
For more information about this year’s celebrations or to enter the parade, call (704) 736-8980.