4th Fest, other celebrations ready

Kids got their creativity on at the bike decorating party at Holmes-Foster Park for Thursday’s Kids on Wheels parade.

More than two dozen kids dressed their bikes Wednesday in patriotic decorations, and red, white and blue streamers for the race that will begin 9:30 a.m. at the corner of Locust Lane and Foster Avenue.

“It’s a birthday tomorrow,” said 4-year-old Cora Bierry about the Fourth of July. She was decorating her two-wheel bike with her brother Nate Bierry, 5.

The event, sponsored by the Centre Region Parks & Recreation department, began in 1976 by the Junior Women’s Club. CRPR Special Events Coordinator June Brown said about 100 kids will be present for the parade.

Brown said the Kids on Wheels Parade is a “family friendly event” that is separate from the 4th Fest heroes parade, and allows kids and their families to embrace events that celebrate Independence Day with live entertainment, a “Happy Birthday” and national anthem sing-along and other events following the parade to Friedman Park.

On Wednesday, 4th Fest co-chairman of pyrotechnics Matt Lindenberg said fireworks set up was “ahead of schedule.”

“We’re just doing last minute details,” he said. That included making sure all fireworks were properly placed and keeping Pyrotechnics Management Inc. — the company that rents out their system — in the loop.

“We worked really hard to get everything done,” Lindenberg said.

In the last decade, Lindenberg said, they switched how the fireworks are operated. He said an electric switchboard sends a signal to the fireworks that sparks an ignition to blast the firework instead of using a match or lighter.

If it fails, 4th Fest volunteer Bryce Boyer said volunteers will wait at least a half hour after the show, look for fireworks that did not electronically ignite properly and manually light the firework with a match or lighter so there are no unpredicted explosions.

Lindenberg said the firework cases and switchboards are rainproof, but if something were to fail, a generator is nearby.

This fireworks display, he said, costs about $350,000.

“This is no small task,” Lindenberg said as he explained there are about 100 volunteers setting up for the show.

The fireworks will occur Thursday, rain or shine, Lindenberg said. The event will include numerous activities including a 4K race, a parade, lumberjack show, other live entertainment and more.

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