Rutherford County will be decked out in red, white and blue this weekend as citizens celebrate the Fourth of July.
Celebrations and fireworks are scheduled across the county. The Town of Rutherfordton promises its July Fourth Freedom Fest is "the kind of small town celebration that even Norman Rockwell would approve of."
According to Rutherford Town Revitalization Director Cindy Adair, this year's Freedom Fest will begin at 4 p.m. on July 4 with a traditional walking parade.
"There will be buntings in the shop windows welcoming all to our wonderful town," she said. "The kids are riding in wagons, strollers, bicycles and tricycles strewn with red, white and blue streamers."
Uncle Sam, veterans and members of law enforcement and fire departments will also march in the parade. All non-motorized modes of transportation and leashed pets are also welcome. The parade line up will begin on Main Street at 3:30 p.m.
"For many of our residents, the walking parade is their favorite part of the day and it's guaranteed to bring a tear even to the most stalwart eye," Adair added.
Following the walking parade, there will be watermelon and pie eating contests and traditional competitions like a three-legged race, balloon toss and corn hole. There will also be inflatables, face painting and other activities for kids of all ages.
Children won't be the only one having fun. Rutherfordton's adult-only soapbox derby - the only one of its kind in the region - begins at 5 p.m. on Main Street. Two equally matched cars, chosen by race organizers, will compete in side by side heats until a winner is declared.
Food vendors will be on hand with smoothies, hot dogs, barbecue, kettle corn and more. For those who want to beat the heat, local restaurants will also be open to serve. Local shops, Adair continued, will have great specials in celebration of the holiday as well. And, there's music - Blues Underground and Shotgun Fox will begin playing at 6:30 p.m.
This year's fireworks display will begin at dusk, and Adair assured there will be plenty of vantage points throughout downtown for viewing them, including the courthouse lawn and Toms Street.
"We encourage you to come early to participate in all the day's activities and secure your place to watch the show," Adair said. "We would also like to thank all our sponsors. Without them, this wouldn't be possible."
For more information about Rutherfordton's Freedom Fest, call Rutherford Town Revitalization at 828-287-2071 or visit rutherfordtown.com/july-4th-freedom-fest.
Here's other July 4th events for you to take part in as well:
Fireworks after the Owls game, sponsored by Rutherford County Chamber, July 3: Come out and enjoy the ultimate American pastime when the Forest City Owls take on the High Point-Thomasville HiToms. Following the game will be fireworks.
Fourth of July Weekend Family Discovery Programs at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park, July 3-5: Meet some of Grady the Groundhog's live woodland friends or possibly some of the park's birds of prey, a red-tailed hawk or Great Horned Owl. Visitors can also take part in one free climb per person the Park's climbing tower, which will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Programs vary, and are included in the cost of admission.
Community Appreciation Day, July 3, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Carolina Insurance will have music by Alton Greene, food from SpudCluckers and a bouncy house by Jump Crazy Moonwalks.
Independence Day Celebration in the Hickory Nut Gorge, July 3, Morse Park: Fireworks can be seen from Morse Park Meadows or the beach at Lake Lure (the beach will open at 8 p.m. for fireworks.) The Chamber of Hickory Nut Gorge will be selling patriotic goodies for kids as well as baked goods and snacks next to the welcome center. There will also be ice cream, snow cones and funnel cakes for sale in the food court in front of the Arcade building, across the street from the beach entrance.
July 4th Barbecue, presented by Bat Cave Fire & Rescue, July 4, 5 to 7:30 p.m.: Held at the firehouse, barbecue plates and homemade desserts will be for sale. Proceeds from the barbecue will go toward purchasing much-needed equipment for the department.
Town of Mooresboro July 4th celebration: Begins July 4 at 6 p.m. with burgers, barbecue and ice cream. Entertainment for children and adults and music by Butch Cook and the Golden Valley Crusaders. Fireworks begin at dusk.