|July 2, 2014 - On Friday, the City of Knoxville's Festival on the 4th will once again bring families together for entertainment, activities and treats at the City's 30th annual Fourth of July celebration in World's Fair Park.
The events begin at 4 p.m., rain or shine. Festival goers will enjoy food, games and performances, including the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra's free Pilot Flying J Independence Day Concert. The free two-hour show starts at 8 p.m. and features a mix of patriotic and Americana pieces conducted by Musical Director Lucas Richman.
This year's firework display begins at 9:35 p.m. and will reflect the three-decade history of the event.
Judith Foltz, the City's Director of Special Events, said this year's festival promises to be a fitting tribute to the event's history.
"We have the Regal Kids Zone with free family activities, along with food vendors, music from the Coveralls and Brad Blackwell, and - at 5:45 p.m. - a repeat of last year's tug-of-war contest between the Police Department and Fire Department," Foltz said. KPD won the event last year, so look for the Fire Department to seek redemption.
Along with remembering the "old" will be "new" features that Foltz is excited about.
"The 'Freedom Express' is a miniature train that takes children for a ride around the park, complete with a caboose for adults. Paddle boats are available on the 'Lazy River' and as well as the Giant Slide that can be enjoyed by adults and children. We have a little something for everyone and hope that families will take part in all of the festivities available," shared Foltz.
Sponsors of the event include Pilot Flying J, Regal, the Knoxville News Sentinel, WBIR, Star 102.1, Hot 104.5, 93.1 WNOX, EarthFare, Home Depot and Cheerwine.
The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra has been part of the Festival on the Fourth since the event's beginning in 1984. It was a year of firsts: the first year for Festival on the Fourth, the first time using World's Fair Park since the 1982 World's Fair, and the first big event for Knoxville City Event Director Sue Clancy.
"It poured that first year," said Clancy. "We ended up moving the symphony into the amphitheater."
Over the years, Clancy and her team added new elements and themes to keep the event fresh - ranging from a "free car" contest hosted by the Knoxville Journal to a World War II Anniversary salute to veterans, complete with era-specific music and old war tanks. "It's always just been such a fun community event," said Clancy.
Other Festival on the Fourth memories from the past include skydivers bringing the American flag, cannon fire at the end of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra playing the 1812 Overture, speeches from congressmen and mayors, remote-control boat races, and the year Clancy's team accidentally handed out American flags that were made in China.
"Our faces were red," laughed Clancy. "It was so embarrassing!"
For more information about the Festival on the 4th event please visit www.cityofknoxville.org/4th.