Charles City, IA – Four great days of fun, food, drink and music are on tap as Charles City gets set for its annual July 4 Celebration. From kids activities to a Beatles tribute band, bed races to a car show and BBQ competition, various tournaments, a youth talent show and, of course, the big Independence Day Parade and fireworks show, there should be something for everyone to enjoy July 3-6.
The fun kicks off Thursday, July 3, with Kids Day in Central Park. Registration for the Kids Parade begins at 10 a.m. at the band shell, with the parade itself at 10:30 a.m. KCHA’s Chris Berg will be the emcee. Decorate your bikes, scooters, etc., for the holiday and be sure to register for the prize drawings at the band shell after the parade. Free kids games and activities in the park will follow from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., as well as Lunch in the Park offered by McDonald’s for only $1.50. The Charles City Cheerleaders will be performing at 11:15 a.m., and at noon be sure to catch the magic show featuring none other than Ronald McDonald himself.
Other Kids Day activities throughout town that day include discounted games at both Bayou Bend Mini Golf and The Comet Bowl, free swimming at Lion’s Field Pool from 1-3 p.m., along with the Penny Dive at the pool at 4 p.m. – again with special guest Ronald McDonald.
Then from 5-11 p.m., Central Park is the place to be again for the Uncle Sam Jam, featuring the live music of Beatles tribute band Rubber Soul. From the early days of 1964 through Sgt. Pepper’s, Abby Road and the solo careers of all of the original Fab Four, Rubber Soul has been recreating the Beatles sound throughout the Midwest now for more than 10 years. The opening act that night will be local favorite PV & the Phantoms. There is no charge to come and enjoy the music, just bring your own lawn chair or blanket to sit on.
Uncle Sam Jam will also include food, drink and game vendors, along with the return of the Amazing (Bed) Race on North Jackson Street in front of the Arts Center. Grab four of your friends or co-workers and sign up for this hilarious competition. Entry fee is $25 ($5 per person) and all participants must be at least 16 years old, 100 pounds or more and wear sneakers – no open-toe shoes please. There will be Charles City Cash prizes for first and second place, along with a special award for the “Most Spirited Team.”
There’s a full day of fun and excitement set for Friday, July 4, beginning bright and early with the Firecracker 5 Run/Walk at 7:30 a.m. from the high school. The Independence Day Parade will head down North Main Street at 10:30 a.m. to the bridge and back up North Jackson Street. Once again this year, KCHA’s Erik Hoefer will broadcast the parade live on KCHA-AM and FM and online at KCHAnews.com beginning at 10:15am.
Following the parade, Central Park will be full of food, drink, family fun, the crowning of the 2014 Floyd County Fair Queen, presentation of the Charles City High School’s Master of Fine Arts and Fine Arts Hall of Fame awards, along with the live music of Charles City’s own Endless Summer.
There will be a Bean Bag Tournament in the park that day starting at 1 p.m., as well as a Volleyball Tournament (start time TBD) at the Comet Bowl Friday and Saturday. First Wesleyan Church will be hosting a Family Fun Fest from 1-5 p.m., and the 4th Annual Rubber Duck River Race along the Cedar River, which serves as a major fundraiser for the Caring Connections mentoring organization, will take place at 1:30 p.m. from the Main Street bridge.
Music will continue in Central Park from 4 p.m. to midnight, featuring My Uncle’s Band and Sterling Sound DJ, with the big Fireworks Show downtown around 10 p.m. to be launched from the riverbank by the Floyd County Courthouse parking lot.
Activities resume again at 7:15 a.m. on Saturday, July 5, with registration for the annual Charles City Bike Ride, which will depart from the First Security Bank & Trust lot at 8 a.m. The Charles City Farmers Market will also be taking place from 9 a.m. to noon adjacent to Central Park, with the 1st Annual Go Jump in the River Disc Golf Tournament for local amateur players taking place at Riverfront Park starting at 10 a.m.
The focus returns to Central Park at 2 p.m. with the live music of Marc Frana and registration for the City-Wide Pinewood Derby in the park, which will begin at 3 p.m.
A Cruise, Blues & BBQ Car Show open to all ages will take place near Central Park from 3-7 p.m., with registration beginning at 1 p.m. Entry fee per class is only $5. For more information visit facebook.com/cruisebluesbbq.
Then from 5-9 p.m., Central Park will play host to Red, White & Blues and BBQ, with the live blues music of The Jimmys, a powerhouse eight-piece band that has amassed international acclaim and guarantees to “make you shake a tail feather!” There will also be games, food and beverages. Be sure to get your BBQ competition voting ticket for $20, which entitles you to sample ribs from all of the participating grillers and cast your vote for the public’s favorite. New this year will also be the opportunity to sample three ribs from the competition, from any competitor of your choosing, for $5. A limited number of both voting tickets and sampling tickets will be sold on a first come-first served basis. Voting tickets are available prior to the event through the Chamber office and Fareway.
After all of that, sit down and relax on Sunday, July 6, at the Dad’s Belgian Waffle Breakfast from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Then check out some of the best young talent from around the region at 1 p.m. in the air-conditioned comfort of the Charles Theatre at the Bill Riley Talent Search competition. Admission is free and Bill Riley Jr. himself, whose father began what has become an Iowa State Fair tradition now for more than 50 years, will serve as the local master of ceremonies. The Charles City show is open to anyone ages 2-21, with cash prize payouts in both the Sprout and Senior divisions and a chance to qualify for the Iowa State Fair competition.
More information, sponsors and registration forms for the July 4 Celebration events are available online at www.charlescitychamber.com or at the Chamber office at 401 N. Main St. You can also call the Chamber at (641) 228-4234.
Major sponsors of the July 4 Celebration in Charles City this year are Allied Manatts Group LLC, Cambrex, Circle K Communications, C US Bank, Diversified Fastening Systems, Dean Jewlers, Fareway, Mike Molstead Motors and Mitas.