Last updated: August 25. 2013 2:49AM - 292 Views

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LIMA — It’s been two decades of celebrating freedom at Faurot Park, and this year there’s even more to do at the annual day-long Star Spangled Spectacular.

“As always, we’ve got a full day of activities planned,” said Ric Stolly, one of six co-chairmen for the annual event.

New this year will be a family-friendly Freedom Fun Ride cycling event. “It’s not a race, but a tour that leaves from the Central Services Building and travels south and west on the River Walk to Heritage Park. Riders answers a series of historical questions along the way, and those who get the answers correct have their name put in a drawing for a new bike from Crankers Cycling,” Stolly said.

Also new to this year’s festivities will be the Lima Area Concert Band, which will perform some of their patriotic favorites at 5 p.m. And, the popular country group, Nashville Crush, will take the stage at 7 p.m., then perform again at 8 p.m. with the Lima Symphony Orchestra.

“And, we’re trying something a little new with Nashville Crush after the fireworks. We’ve got some low-level lighting we’re going to throw on the stage, then turn on the lights and Nashville Crush will perform again, after the fireworks. We thought that would be something a little different, and it even might help us in the traffic flow after the fireworks. Some people will stay and continue listening while others will leave,” Stolly said.

Naturally, there are the staples that are always crowd-pleasers, including tournaments, the Abilities League baseball game, and kids rides. And, the always popular Freedom 5K Run/Walk will bring in the masses. “Last year we had about 1,100 sign up for that, but I think maybe more will come out this year because July 4th is a Thursday and a lot of people are taking Friday off, so we might see more than normal for the run,” Stolly said.

His hope is that people can take part in all the fun and all the activities they can pack in a 14-hour day. “We staggered as many events as we could so that people can do as much as possible,” Stolly said.

Naturally, the granddaddy of all events is the firework display that begins at 10 p.m. “The Zambelli’s have set up our fireworks every year for the last 20, and they’re ready to go again. They always find a way to add a surprise to the show, and knowing this is our 20th anniversary, I’m guessing they’ll give us something special,” Stolly said.

“And the fireworks are what people come out to enjoy,” Stolly said.

However, the Star Spangled Spectacular is more than just a 35-minute pyrotechnic extravaganza.

“The nice thing about the Star Spangled Spectacular is that it truly is about family and fun, as well as fireworks. This has become a tradition in the area. We have found a lot of people who plan a part of their vacation to come to this, and just enjoy a day with their friends and family. One family gathers every year for this and goes to the same spot on a hill in the park to watch the fireworks. They’ve been there every year of the 20 this has been going on. Like anybody who comes to the Star Spangled Spectacular, it’s to enjoy the whole Fourth of July experience,” Stolly said.

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