Updated Sun, Jun 29, 2014 5:34 am
Athens County is preparing to ring in Independence Day with a bang.
The festivities begin with the Athens Fabulous Fourth celebration on Thursday, which is organized by The Plains Lions Club.
Returning for the second year will be the Fabulous Fourth Senior King and Queen contest at the Athens Community Center at 3 p.m. The pageant is open to those age 55 and older. Clyde Baker, one of the organizers for the events, said that eight people have registered for the contest so far, but participants will be accepted up until the contest begins. Votes cost $1 and proceeds go to Athens County food pantries. Crowning of the winners will be held at 6 p.m.
At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, there will be a car cruise-in at the Athens Community Center. Children’s games and a bouncy house will be open from 6:30-9 p.m. near the pool.
A flag raising at the Veteran’s Memorial Park (behind the city pool) will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday with Athens County Auditor Jill Thompson speaking. Also at 7 p.m. on Thursday will be a teen pool party.
Athens’ fireworks display will take place at 10 p.m. on Thursday on East State Street with accompanying music provided by WATH/WXTQ. Food donations will be collected through the Fabulous Fourth events.
On Friday at 9:30 a.m. will be the Fabulous Fourth Parade. Lineup begins on East Washington and College Streets near Athens City Hall at 8:30 a.m. Anyone interested in participating in the parade can lineup prior to the start of the parade. The parade route will follow College Street, turn left onto East Washington, right onto Court Street, right onto Carpenter Street, left onto East State, right onto Morris Avenue, left onto May Avenue and will end at the Athens Public Library on Home Street.
The Athens City Pool will be open for free to the public on both Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In Nelsonville, the 19th annual Thunder in the Valley festivities will kick off on Friday with the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway 4th of July trains at noon and 2:30 p.m. In the evening, the train will serve as a shuttle from the railroad depot on Canal Street to Hocking College to see the fireworks. The shuttle will depart the depot at 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Vehicles can park at the depot and the Rocky Shoe and Boot Outlet. Cost for the shuttle is $4 per person.
At 8 p.m. on Friday, the public is invited to the Hocking College campus to set up for the fireworks display and enjoy food from vendors on site. Guests are permitted to bring their own food too, however grills and alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
The Thunder in the Valley fireworks display is being presented by the Nelsonville Area Chamber of Commerce and is promised to be at least 25 minutes long. The show will be accompanied by music on WATH/WXTQ. Parking is available at Hocking College and seating is available on the fields and lots. No parking will be allowed on Hocking Parkway or Route 691.
For information about the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway 4th of July trains, visit www.hvsry.org.