INDIANAPOLIS – If you’re ready for a change from your backyard barbeque or your hometown’s firework’s show, here is a list of five fun events in five different places in Indiana for your Independence Day festivities:
Pekin Fourth of July Celebration
The small town New Pekin will be celebrating its 184th year as the state’s longest running 4th of July celebration on Thursday at the Pekin Park.
Anita Temple, the president of the Pekin Community Betterment Organization, said that the festivities begin at 4 p.m. on Thursday with the opening of the food vendors. Evening concerts showcasing local music will start at 6:30 p.m.
Every year, attendees try to break their own Guinness World Record for largest ensemble playing the spoons. The fireworks show will start at 10 p.m., Thursday.
A parade will take place at 10 a.m. Friday. The rest of the afternoon and evening includes the Pekin Idol competition, the annual prince and princess contests followed by the queen contest, bluegrass music and horseshoe pitching in the park.
The city of Madison will host the Madison Regatta, a three-day hydroplane racing event and festival that kicks off Thursday. This year marks the 64th anniversary of the event.
Kim Washer, a spokeswoman for the event, said that – in addition to racing – there will be 25 different kinds of food, drink, and craft vendors.
The fireworks show will start at 10 p.m. on Saturday. The fireworks will be shot out from a barge in the middle of the Ohio River. Guests can view the show from the riverfront. Access to the event and fireworks will be free, but you can purchase buttons and wristbands for other events during the festival.
The events include music on the river, a twilight air show performed by acrobatic pilot Brett Hunter, and a 10-kilometer walk.
LaPorte 4th of July Parade and Fireworks
LaPorte will again be the “capitol of Indiana” for the day on Thursday.
Amy Bishop, president of the LaPorte Jaycees, said that since 1942, the Indiana governor has declared LaPorte the capitol for the day. LaPorte celebrates with the largest Independence Day parade in Indiana – starting at 10 a.m. This year will be the city’s 68th year for the parade.
This year’s theme is “Our Heroes: We can because they do.” A portion of the parade will include “Indiana Fallen Heroes” entry that allows people to carry pictures of anyone from Indiana who has died in the line of duty.
Fireworks and other festivities begin at 7 p.m. at Fox Park with fireworks at about 9:30 p.m. over Clear Lake. Park admission is $5/car load at the gate $1/person for walk-ins.
Franklin Firecracker Festival
Franklin will hold its annual Franklin Firecracker Festival on Thursday at the Indiana Masonic home starting at 6:30 p.m. and ending at 10:30 p.m. Food vendors open at 6 p.m. and close shortly before the fireworks show begins at approximately 10:10 p.m.
The festival is child and family friendly, with bounce houses for the kids at 6:30 to 9 p.m., the annual “Fastest Kid in Town Race” at 7:15 p.m., and a free outdoor concert featuring the band “Tastes Like Chicken” at 7:30 p.m.
Holly Johnston, the community events and programs director for Franklin, says that the festival is a tradition for families. She encourages arriving early to get a good spot for the fireworks show. A new event for the festival will be horse wagon rides from 5:30 to 9 p.m.
Old-Fashioned Independence Day
Spring Mill State Park in Mitchell will host the Old-Fashioned Independence Day celebration in its Pioneer Village from Thursday to Sunday. The weekend will include activities, games and crafts across the village.
Visitors can enjoy a “traditional celebration” of the holiday with period craft demonstrations and hands-on crafts. Visitors to the Lakeview Activity Center can play a fishing game using real rods, participate in an Ice Age dig and stop by craft tables to create “patriotic crafts.”
Park admission during the event is $5 per vehicle for in-state residents and $7 for out-of-state residents.
Jess Seabolt is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.