Although not always celebrated July 4, Independence Day festivities are good for bringing residents together through food, entertainment and fireworks.
In the Twin Counties, residents will have multiple options to experience the festivities.
“We are proud of our country and glad we can celebrate another birthday,” Castalia Mayor Ellene Leonard said. “It is good to have freedom, and it is good to celebrate it.”
Castalia is just one of the communities in the area that will have an Independence Day celebration. Others include Rocky Mount and Tarboro.
The town’s celebrations begins with a car show at 9 a.m. Friday at the Castalia Volunteer Fire Department and continues with a service honoring veterans at 11 a.m. at the store Small Town U.S.A., Leonard said.
“Then we are having a parade at 2,” she said. “Food and vendors will be available starting at 11, and entertainment starts at about 5 p.m. and runs until the fireworks start at around 9.”
The entertainment will be provided through music from groups such as Ronnie Ezzell, The Happy Land Singers and TAZZ, Leonard said, and will be behind the Castalia Baptist Church.
The fireworks will be launched at dusk from the park across from the church, Leonard said.
Castalia has no plans to reschedule the event if the weather gets too bad, Leonard said.
“We will just have to deal with it as it happens,” she said.
Instead of holding its celebrations Friday, like most communities, Rocky Mount is celebrating today, as it traditionally does, Recreation Superintendent Joel Dunn said.
The event’s activities start at 6 p.m. at the Rocky Mount Sports Complex, and will feature food vendors and kids activities, Dunn said.
“That includes inflatables, a rock climbing wall and the Army Extreme Truck, which includes two gaming stations and a pushup and pull-up station,” he said.
Music from the Backyard Groove Band
begins at the same time, followed by The Tams later in the evening, Dunn said.
Admission is free, and the fireworks are expected to begin about 9:15 p.m., Dunn said.
The event is expected to go on regardless of the weather, city Public Affairs Manager Tameka Kenan-Norman said, but the city should have a better idea later in the day.
In Tarboro, the events will kick off at 6 p.m. at Braswell Park, event coordinator Morgan Whitehurst said. The free event will feature inflatables for the kids and a variety of food and vendors.
“We are trying to make this specific event an annual event,” she said.
This is the first time the town is offering more than just the fireworks, Whitehurst said.
“We are trying to offer a lot of things,” she said. “It is an area where people are going to be watching fireworks anyway, so it makes sense. The goal is to add to it and make it bigger each year.”
Events like the Independence Day celebrations gives towns like Tarboro a way to show their gratitude to its residents, Whitehurst said.
“Giving the community something to do and supporting them by giving them a yearly event for their families,” she said.
If it rains, the city does not have a backup date scheduled for the festivities, so everyone is hoping for it to stay dry, Whitehurst said.
Of course, the celebrations are not limited to just city sponsored events.
Englewood Baptist Church is holding its own event, starting at 5 p.m. Friday.
The decision whether weather will delay the event will not be made until Friday afternoon, said Dianna Shepherd, special assistant to the senior pastor. If it is canceled, the church will look at rescheduling the event around Labor Day.
There will be music and food, inflatables for the children and a family friendly environment, said the Rev. Michael Cloer, senior pastor at the church.
“I think it is good to have a family friendly environment,” Cloer said. “There is no alcohol. It is a Christian environment.”