(WKBN) – Fourth of July festivities are in full swing across the Valley.
A full slate of free fun is happening at Firestone Park in Columbiana, including a cornhole tournament and free hotdogs. Later, there will be an ice cream eating contest and a watermelon eating contest and then a pie eating contest. A pizza contest is also scheduled for tonight.
Skydivers will jump in around 5 p.m. and country music star Chris Higbee hits the stage at 8 p.m.
Fireworks are scheduled for 10 p.m.
“It’s important because my kids have come here since they were a baby, and I came here since I was a kid. It’s just something that’s always been a Fourth of July tradition for our family as well as many other families in town. So we just felt it was something that needed to remain here and we hope to continue it for many years down the road,” said Tim Spiker, president of Fireworks at Firestone.
In Howland, people lined Market Street for their annual parade. Members of Howland’s fire and police departments and the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office were some of many throwing candy. Howland High School’s marching band also performed.
There was even a flyover that kicked off the parade.
It was the first time in two years since hosting the parade.
There were plenty of activities for the day, including food trucks for people to enjoy.
In Austintown, a parade brought families and the community together, too. The event has grown even bigger since the pandemic.
“We’re bouncing back, and we have over 85 participants. As you see, a beautiful, sunny 90-degree day. We’re extremely excited,” said Bruce Shepas, parade chairman.
Shepas said they expect 8,000 people at the parade.
In Canfield, the holiday kicked off with a four-mile fun run and then a parade. This year’s theme was “Celebrate America.”
The 48th annual Firecracker 4 Mile Run was sponsored by the Canfield Fourth of July committee.
Runners took off from the Canfield United Methodist Church and finished through the Canfield Village Green.
Families and friends gathered around the finish line to cheer on their runners.
“It’s a tough race. The hill at mile three is so long and I always forget how tough it is, but it’s more of a tradition and it’s just the best way to start the Fourth of July,” said runner Jennifer Trimble.
Many of the participants had been training for this run.
Then, families gathered around the downtown streets to watch the parade, enjoy food and games, and celebrate Independence Day.
“Being together and celebrating this wonderful country and everything it stands for, and this just epitomizes America — small town, unity, community. It doesn’t get better than this,” said Martha Dyer, of Canfield.
Going to the Canfield parade is a tradition for many. Mark Whitmore said the whole family gets involved.
“Traditions are very important for our family. I’ve got four daughters and four sons-in-law and 12 grandkids and we try to take in the parade and the race,” he said.
Ashley Hamilton likes having the opportunity to be around friends and the community.
“Canfield is an awesome community and it’s just great to get together with all our friends and see our family in the parade,” she said.
Members of the Canfield band and Canfield police and fire departments were a part of the parade. While candy was tossed, flags were waved and families enjoyed each other’s company. Many people reflected on what this day means to them.
“You think about all the people that gave the ultimate sacrifice for us to be able to be here today and appreciate what we have,” said Ken Bagwell.
“Family and loved ones are here and to know you are always together to celebrate the ones who aren’t here,” said Marissa Landers.
“Just being with family and celebrating independence,” said Recce Hull.
The grand marshall this year was Canfield native Sam Boak. He’s the founder and president of Boak & Sons.
Tons of festivities are taking place across the Valley. We’ve put together a list of events for you.