By BRAD KELLAR
There will be plenty of red, white and blue in Greenville Thursday, as the city’s residents celebrate Independence Day with a race, two parades, music and fireworks.
— The day begins with a bang at 6 a.m., with registration for the Firecracker 5K. The race starts at 7 a.m. in the Park Street Baptist Church parking lot, with the first 100 registrants receiving a commemorative Firecracker 5K T-shirt. The race will follow the route outlined by the flags along Park Street and both sides of the Audie Murphy Overpass downtown. Racers will be timed using Texas Race timing systems and prizes will be awarded for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in the men’s, women’s and kid’s divisions. Registration is $25 per participant. Those wanting more information can contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 903-457-2994
— James Evans, Place 2 representative on the Greenville City Council and a Buena Vista Drive resident, will be the grand marshal of the 18th annual Buena Vista/Chapman Fourth of July Parade. Participants are asked to gather at 8:15 a.m., Thursday at the fountain area on Villa Fontana, just off Terrell Road. Following the Pledge of Allegiance, the parade starts at 8:30 a.m. and will proceed out of Villa Fontana onto Royal Lane, circle onto Chapman Drive, continue to Buena Vista, turn north to Royal Lane and return to Villa Fontana for refreshments.
— Mike Spaight, a longtime Park Street resident and former Park Street Historical Association committee member has been chosen as the grand marshal for the 17th annual Park Street Fourth of July Parade and Patriotic Program on Thursday. Activities begin with a free pancake breakfast at Park Street Baptist Church from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Donations will be accepted. Parade participants will line up at the east end of Park Street, starting at 9 a.m. and the parade itself begins at 10 a.m. Thursday and proceed west to Kavanaugh United Methodist Church. Presented by the Kavanaugh United Methodist Church Community Enrichment Series and the Park Street Historical Association, the parade traditionally has spectators lining both sides of Park Street to watch marching bands, floats, veterans groups and more. An entry fee of $25 will be accepted for any campaigning politicians or commercial organizations in the parade.
— The Patriotic Program in the Kavanaugh church sanctuary immediately follows the parade. After the program, Kavanaugh’s Young Adult Class will host a free watermelon picnic for the audience on the east side of the church building. Watermelons will be donated by Brookshire’s Food Store.
— The Greenville Parks and Recreation Department and L-3 Communications Mission Integration Division are hosting the Greenville Patriotic Picnic 2013 at the Greenville SportsPark, 3601 Leo Hackney Boulevard. Visitors can bring their outdoor games, lawn chairs, sunscreen and their appetite for an evening of family-friendly entertainment, including food, live music and kid’s zone packed with bounce houses and slides and a pie-eating contest, all capped by a fireworks grand finale. The gates to the event are scheduled to open at 5:30 p.m., with Nate Compton providing the live musical entertainment. There are approximately 1300 parking spots available at the following locations: SportsPark Parking Lot, Greenville High School (Lark Street entrance), Greenville High School Football Stadium (Lion’s Lair entrance), Lowe’s (Free Shuttle). Due to the popularity of the event, traffic congestion is expected. Arrive early for the best access to available parking. When the event is over, the Greenville Police Department will implement a Traffic Control Plan to facilitate the most efficient exit possible from the venue. Those wanting more information about the Patriotic Picnic can contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 903-457-2994.
— Many people will get at least one day off toward the end of the work week to celebrate Independence Day, as government offices will be closed for July 4. All federal, State of Texas, Hunt County and City of Greenville offices will be closed Thursday, including the Ja-Lu Park Municipal Swimming Pool and the W. Walworth Harrison Public Library. Hunt County offices and the Ja-Lu Pool will also be closed Friday of this week. IESI will not collect residential garbage or recycling on Thursday. Thursday commercial roll-off customers will receive collection on Friday and Friday commercial roll-off customers will receive collection on Saturday. Garbage collection for Thursday customers will be collected on the next regularly scheduled day. Thursday residential recycling collection will be collected on Friday, and Friday residential recycling collection will be collected on Saturday. For more information, contact IESI at 903-450-8282. The offices of Senior Center Resources and Public Transit will be closed, as will the administration offices of the Greenville Independent School District. Post offices will be closed and there will be no mail delivery. Most banks will be closed for the federal holiday. The business offices of the Herald-Banner will also be closed Thursday.