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Independence Day event grows in 2014

By Brandon Mattingly

A fixture in downtown Springfield each summer — weather permitting — has been the annual Independence Day event, and the 14th installment of the celebration could do more than ever to get local residents involved.

The event will be held on Thursday in Springfield, maintaining the tradition of hosting the event on the evening prior to the 4th of July holiday. Though the rain, or lack thereof, has forced it to be rescheduled in recent years, all indications are that this year’s event will be free of interruption.

That’s a relief to event organizers, as plenty of entertainment is on tap this year.

For starters, Nell Haydon, Main Street executive director, said the additional fireworks that the city of Springfield and Springfield Tourism approved for purchase earlier this year will make the 2014 version of the show the biggest yet.

“The extra fireworks are going to be put to use this year. I told our fireworks guy that we wanted to have the best fireworks show in central Kentucky, so there’s a lot of pressure on him,” Haydon joked.

There will also be a change in venue, as the food vendors and local artists will set up shop at 6 p.m. in the parking lot behind the Washington County Judicial Center. Past events have been hosted along Main Street, but Haydon said the change will provide guests with a better view of the fireworks show, while also making vendors and other entertainment more accessible.

County officials approved electrical upgrades around the parking lot in preparation for last October’s Jim Beam BBQ Showdown, and Haydon said the improvements will benefit other events, such as the Independence Day celebration.

“It’s just a great venue, and we’ll be one of the first — other than the BBQ festival — to use that area for a downtown event,” she said.

Also providing entertainment will be the Five Below Band out of Lexington, which will be performing from 7-10 p.m. Springfield Presbyterian Church has provided space behind its facility to accommodate three to four local artists to set up booths to put their work on display.

The Central Kentucky Community Theatre is getting in on the action, as the Youth Actors will offer an area for face painting, and boosters from the Washington County Marching Band will be selling items to support their fundraising efforts as well.

Haydon said this Thursday’s event will provide everything guests are looking for, so they should come prepared for another good turnout.

“We always have a great crowd, and we will have some chairs and picnic tables available, but I suggest that people bring lawn chairs and blankets,” she said.

Springfield’s Independence Day event will start at 6 p.m., with the fireworks show taking place at dark.