By Whitney Vickers
FAIRBORN — The city of Fairborn’s Fourth of July celebrations go beyond a simple firework display — Citizens are invited to enjoy live entertainment, a variety of booths and food vendors, pony and amusement rides, a guided historical tour, one of the longest parades in southwest Ohio, and, yes, a sparkly exhibit to light the night sky.
Fourth of July Committee officials describe the celebrations are family-friendly and are sure to select food vendors who can offer attendees are variety of options.
“We have so many ways that we celebrate,” Fourth of July Committee Co-Chair Linda Hall said. “This is a big red, white and blue celebration here in Fairborn.”
Starting 3 p.m. Sunday, July 3, citizens are invited to enjoy the city’s annual block party along Main Street. The American Legion Post 526 will perform the opening ceremony, followed by performances by the Fairborn Civic Band, Forsaken, Rock it 88 and Southbound, the Fourth of July Block Party Headliner. The block party event also includes the Little Miss and Little Mr. Fairborn contest, 30-35 vendors, as well as pony and amusement rides.
Forsaken, scheduled to perform 4:15-5:30 p.m., is described as a classic/modern rock band with a female lead singer. Forsaken is open to perform songs from bands such as Fleetwood Mac and Van Halen. Rock It 88, to take the stage 6-7:30 p.m., features hits from the 60s and early 70s.
Southbound, to rock the block party from 8-10 p.m., performed during the 2014 and 2015 Independence Day celebrations. Southbound is described as an energetic, southern-rock, family-friendly group who is open to playing bands such as The Eagles, Allman Brothers Band, Lynard Skynard, Marshall Tucker Band, The Doobie Brothers and Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers.
The Little Miss and Little Mr. Fairborn contest invites children enrolled in the Fairborn City School District and between 6-9 years old to take the stage at Actors Theatre, 23 E. Main St. Contest judges are not looking for physical appearance, as instead they are seeking confidence, stage presence and red, white and blue attire. The winners will receive crowns, sashes, plaques and a spot in the Fourth of July parade. They will also crown next year’s Little Miss and Little Mr. Fairborn winners. Registration takes place 5:15-6 p.m.; the contest starts at 6:15 p.m. The entry fee is $5 and parents must fill out an application form.
In recognition of Fairborn’s independence and history, the first log home built in the area will offer tours from 4-7 p.m. Block Party attendees can ride a hay wagon from Main Street to the Mercer-Smith Historic Log Home, located at First and Middle Streets in downtown Fairborn. Tours are free and will feature food vendors, music and local craftsman.
Fairborn’s Fourth of July parade includes more than 100 participants and is said to be the longest in southwest Ohio, according to Fourth of July Committee officials. Event organizers said some individuals will line Central Avenue with chairs as early as the night before the event takes place to guarantee their spot, rain or shine. Event officials plan to get to the sight in which the parade floats will gather at early as 6 a.m. However, judging doesn’t start until 8 a.m. and the parade won’t take the streets until 10 a.m.
A flyover by the Aero Club and Fourth of July Committee Member Paul Newman Sr. singing the National Anthem will signal the start of the annual Fairborn tradition. Former Fairborn Mayor and Active Greene County Citizen Joan Dautel will serve as the grand marshal.
“We are worried about children running out in the street to get candy from vehicles throwing the candy — we’ve had some close calls,” Hall said. “We want the children to have candy, that’s not the issue, but we want walkers to walk beside the curb and throw it there, not from a vehicle. We are afraid someone will get hurt.”
Parade judges are split between observing three factors. Roger Sloan, Timothy Russell and Pamela Russell will judge marching; Katie Mlod, Pastor Greg Trout and Colin Morrow will judge floats and Paul Mahan will judge equine.
Parade participants will gather at the Fairborn Plaza parking lot, located near Mary Help of Christians church, and will travel down Central Avenue, turning onto Main Street and wrapping up the procession at Main and Broad Streets.
Community Park, 691 E. Dayton-Yellow Springs Road, will house the continuing Fairborn celebrations — two bands will take the stage and fireworks will spark the night. Performing 5-7 p.m. is Wild Mustaings , described as veteran entertainers who play new and old country music. Inside Out, the fireworks headliner, will rock the celebration 7:30-9:45 p.m.
Fireworks will follow the Inside Out performance.
“It is fabulous,” Hall said. “Every year it’s better and better, and you think ‘they can’t beat that next year’ — but they do.”