Music, fun and fireworks planned for Independence Day celebrations in Evart

EVART — It's nearly time to bust out the sparklers, glow necklaces and items that smoke, crackle and pop.

Residents and visitors from miles away will try to find the best seat at the Osceola County 4-H FFA Fairgrounds this year for the annual July 4 Celebration. The event brings thousands of people each year to enjoy some of the best family fun in the area.

Celebrations will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 3, with free musical entertainment by The Rock Show, a Journey tribute and '80s rock band. The band will perform as part of the Downtown Development Authority’s Evart Concert Series.

"Everybody loves Journey," said Al Weinberg, DDA director, with a laugh. "Over the years we've been getting bands that appeal to younger audiences and The Rock Show had great reviews and recommendations. So we thought we should book them."

He said he already is receiving emails from people far outside the county inquiring about the concert and Independence Day celebration events.

"We're hoping it'll be a really good show," Weinberg added. "I think the holiday falling on the weekend will give more people the opportunity to come and stay at the hotel or take advantage of the campgrounds we have in Evart."

Fireworks, hosted by the Evart Area Chamber of Commerce, will begin at about 10 p.m., with a 30- to 40-minute show expected to thrill both children and adults. Attendees can bring lawn chairs or choose to sit on the bleachers under the grandstand.

"We're the best show in town," Weinberg said.

Chamber president Dan Joyce agreed.

"This year's fireworks will again compete with many far larger areas displays," Joyce said. "Holding ours on July 3 lets many come see just how great they are. I haven't heard anyone say they were let down in any way. Most find they enjoy the Evart display more than others."

Saturday, July 4, features more holiday entertainment in Evart, with a Fourth of July 5K Walk/Run. The race, organized by Evart Public Schools track coach Ken Willems, begins at 8:30 a.m. at Evart High School and follows a selected route through the city, ending back at the high school.

Pre-registration is $20 for adults and $10 for participants younger than 18. After Friday, June 26, the registration fee will increase by $5. The fee will include a t-shirt and goody bag.

"I would absolutely love to see five or six guys finish the 5K at the 15:30 mark," Willems said. "It'd be nice to have a group who wants to race fast and compete a little bit."

Willems said he has medals for all children 8 years old and younger, and medals for those in first through third place within different age groups. Also, to make the competition more interesting, he has a plaque for the participant with the best patriotic costume.

Last year, the 5K raised about $6,000 for EPS. All proceeds from this year's event also will benefit the school district.

The Independence Day parade will begin at 11 a.m. It will travel down Main Street and attendees can line the way to view floats, the school marching band, local organizations and more. Those interested in entering the parade must pre-register by calling Weinberg at (231) 734-0185.

Starting at noon, the annual Party in the Park will take place at West Riverside Park and feature county and pop music from the Kari Lynch Band, also part of the summer Evart Concert Series.

"She's fun and has a lot of energy," Weinberg said.

Inflatables, games, a sprinkler park, a dunk tank, pony rides, a mechanical bull, oversized dart board and more also will be available for attendees. In addition, members of the Evart Lions Club will host a chicken barbecue and the Evart Fire Department will offer a super Slip 'N' Slide. Party in the Park will run until 3 p.m.

"It is a great time to relax and enjoy the day," said organizer Eric Schmidt. "Every year it gets bigger. I expect about 2,000 people or more."