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It’s a blast!

Peabody makes ready for world-known fireworks display

Staff writer

People from several states and even foreign countries look forward to Peabody’s annual 4th Fest celebration of Independence Day.

This will be the 103rd edition of the longstanding fireworks display, originally begun by the chamber of commerce, 4th Fest committee chairman Jay Gfeller said.

Festivities will kick off July 3 with a dance and karaoke show at the American Legion to benefit the Alumni Association. A $5 cover charge goes toward a scholarship fund. The event will be from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Attendees must be 21 or older.

Registration for a horseshoe tournament will begin at 7:30 a.m. July 4 and the tournament will begin at 8:15 a.m. at a horseshoe pit at City Park. Cost will be $20 per team.

Pease Family Farm will sponsor turtle races south of the entrance to City Park. Activities will begin at 8 a.m. July 4 and races will be at 9 a.m. Prizes, goodie bags, and turtle tattoos will be part of the fun. Competitors must bring their own turtles. No snapping turtles will be allowed.

Registration for a cornhole tournament at City Park will begin at 10 a.m. July 4. Cost will be $40 a team. The tournament begins at 11 a.m.

Peabody Recreation Commission will sponsor kids’ games at the park beginning at 10 a.m.

Free swimming at the city pool will begin at 1 p.m.

Peabody Historical Society will sponsor an ice cream social from 2 to 4 p.m. north of Vintage Bank.

The 4th Fest parade will begin at 5 p.m. The parade will go down Walnut St. from 8th to 1st Sts. Lineup will be at 4 p.m. at the high school parking lot.

Music and vendors will be at the park from 5 p.m. until the fireworks show.

Vendors will include Wings and Tails Barbecue, Salisbury Sweets, Kona Ice. Carlsons’ Barbecue, and Fun Times Concessions.

“It’s great that we’ve been able to keep it a family friendly event,” Gfeller said. “We try to make sure we have events that fit into that as well. We have stuff for adults, but we have stuff for kids, too.”

Besides Gfeller, 4th Fest committee members include Ben Eldridge, Ryan Gaines, Mike Gfeller, Melissa Johnson, Terry Johnson, and Jim Rippe.

Fireworks will include ground displays and aerials and the traditional “Battle of New Orleans” finale.

“I’ve got around 15 ground displays this year, including the Battle of New Orleans finale,” Gfeller said.

A dozen volunteers have been working Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to get things ready.

Admission buttons cost $5 and are available at numerous businesses or at the gate. Ages 3 and younger are admitted free.

“When it’s during a weekday, usually around 5,000 people show up,” Gfeller said. “I’ve known people from overseas who have come because they have friends or family in the area. One year, I met a group from Germany who came.”

Asked how long he’d been involved with 4th Fest, Gfeller said: “Too long.”

“At least 15 years in various capacities,” he said. “I think this will be my fifth year as chairman.”

In addition to committee members, it takes many more volunteers to pull off the festival.

“It takes a ton of people,” Gfeller said. “My family was involved in it, and as a kid I grew up helping in it. I became the chairman. Now all my family still works on it.”

He thinks the ground displays are a huge part of the festival’s popularity because ground displays are now fairly uncommon.

Gfeller likes being part of the festival.

“My next favorite thing is the next day, when everything is cleaned up,” he said.

Last modified June 26, 2024

 

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