The Lewis Center Business Association has big plans for celebrating Independence Day this year! With the help and support of many local groups and businesses such as: The Polaris Community Fund, radio station Mix 107.9, AutoMax, The Goddard School, the Primrose School of Lewis Center, Rivers Insurance Group, The Ride, and the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (CarePoint Lewis Center) just to name a few, the Olentangy Fourth of July Celebration is well on its way to being a huge success.
The LCBA has expanded its means of getting the word out about this big Fourth of July event. “In the past it’s been more word-of-mouth, but now there’s a marketing piece to it. This is the first year where we’ve got radio involved, Mix 107.9. They’re going to be doing ads on the air for the two weeks leading up to the event. Andre Styles, one of their DJs, is going to be out at the beach, as well,” Ryan Rivers of the Rivers Insurance Group said.
To begin Independence Day on a good note, both the Olentangy Braves and Olentangy Orange cheer squads are accepting requests to perform wake-up calls (between 7AM and 9AM) complete with various cheers, jumps, and smiles at the house of your choice! The deadline for the wake-up call requests is Monday, June 30, and all of the proceeds will go to the Orange Pioneers and Olentangy Braves cheer boosters.
The day kicks off at 8AM with the Freedom 4Miler Run, which is presented by Ohio State’s CarePoint Lewis Center. A brand-new feature that will be put into effect for the 4Miler race this year is drone photography coverage, courtesy of Michael Cairns of Infinite Impact. A drone will be out at the run with an aerial view, while an HD screen is placed at the start/finish line. Viewers who are interested in the race will be able to watch the runners on the HD screen and see where they’re at in the run. The drone will also be at the parade and Beach Bash in order to take pictures and create a two-minute Beach Bash video that will later be posted on the LCBA Youtube channel.
With regards to runner participation in 2014, the amount of sign-ups has doubled in numbers since last year. This year, there’s projected to be over 500 runners.
After the 4Miler Run, there will be two Kids Firecracker Runs. The first run starts at 9AM, and will be a full lap for kids ages five and up, while the other run will be a quarter lap that starts at 9:10AM for children ages 2-5. Both races will take place at the Orange Middle School track.
The parade theme for this year is American Spirit, and is set to begin at 10AM. The parade is presented by the Primrose School of Lewis Center, this year. “This will be the ninth year for the parade,” according to Rivers, “Last year it was a little wet, so hopefully the weather cooperates this year,” he said.
The third and final main event of the Olentangy Fourth of July Celebration will be the Beach Bash and fireworks at Alum Creek, which will be presented by the Lewis Center Business Association and Darlene Schaefer, CRS, HER Realtors. This will be the second year that the LCBA has put together a beach party and fireworks component of their Fourth of July Celebration. “Having the fireworks out at the beach has definitely changed the landscape of the event, and for the Beach Bash, we’ve added a lot of polish to it from last year,” Rivers said.
The additions – or upgrades – for this year are the Orange Drumline, which will be stationed at the opening gate, and playing from 5:30-6PM.
A feature that is sure to bring in a lot of laughs and amusement will be the two dunk tanks set up in the Family Area on the beach: one from Olentangy Orange High School and the other from Olentangy High School. On the Orange High side, Principal Todd Meyer, Athletic Director John Betz, Journalism Advisor Brian Nicola, and Basketball Coach Anthony Calo are some of the faculty members that will be featured. And for the Olentangy Braves tank, Athletic Director Jay Wolfe and Girls Basketball Coach John Feasel are some of the staff members that will participate.
“There’s a lot more involvement from the schools this year. And being that it’s a family event, that to us just made the most sense as we’re trying to connect to the local families. What better way to connect with our local young folks and families than through our school system?,” Rivers said.
As far as food goes, “we’ve got several food vendors, so any type of food you can think of will be out there,” according to Rivers. But, in addition to the various vendors and trucks, there will also be a Jet’s Pizza beach bar, where one side will be open and available to the community ages 21 and over. The other side will have private family tables of six open to purchase, and access to the VIP parking area in which a golf cart will transport to and from.
Around 7:30PM, there will be live entertainment from The Websters, and at 9:45PM the fireworks show is set to take place.
To put together a day as extensive as the Olentangy Fourth of July Celebration is proving to be, a lot of careful planning, coordination, production, and time has gone into ensuring that the event will be successful. The Lewis Center Business Association which includes all of the different businesses in the area, raises all the money and funding, and will raise over $50,000 to cover the cost for this year’s event.
Along with the LCBA, there are a ton of volunteers that have dedicated their efforts and time into making sure that the entire celebration is possible! Some of those committee members are: Event Organizers Ryan Rivers (Rivers Insurance Group) and Kris Neff (The Ride); Director of Volunteers Darin Finch (US Lawns of Columbus); Director of Communication Laurie Zinn (Line by Line); Director of Finance Andrew Ziegler (Huntington Bank); Parade Director Steve Powell (The Goddard School of Westerville/Polaris); and Event Distribution by John Cummings (Postnet).
“[The Olentangy Fourth of July Celebration] is a way for our local business community to give back to our local communities. We use all resources here in the area to pull this off,” Rivers said, “I think this year with where were at now, we’ve got a great foundation going forward. This is something that’s going to be here every year. Put it on your calendar; it’s something you can count on and look forward to!”