05-25-2017 Get ready to celebrate the 4th of July with Watervliet with classic events plus Pro Wrest

Get ready to celebrate the 4th of July with Watervliet with classic events plus Pro Wrestling,

4-wheeler mudd runs and golf cart parade

By Kristy Noack

Watervliet is making preparations to roll out the red, white, and blue carpet for their annual Watervliet Independence Day Celebration. In six short weeks, Watervliet will celebrate the 4th of July, the most patriotic of holidays with parades, a vintage baseball game, car show, and many more activities over the June 30 through July 2 weekend.

The longstanding festival has events for kids and adults and continues to grow yet again this year.

Festivities begin Friday, June 30 at 4:00 p.m. as the Watervliet Municipal Airport welcomes aviators and campers alike with their 40C Fly-in Camp-in. The airport will host enthusiasts who fly-in for the entire weekend. Entertainment and a nightly bonfire are in the works. The cost is $25 per plane and includes shower facilities, one meal, and use of restrooms. The charge covers two campers per plane. Additional campers pay only $5. The airport is located at 8560 Airport Drive, just north of town.

If airplanes aren’t your thing but you dig tractors, head to Pleasant Street for the Elkhart Garden Tractor Pull. This is the inaugural event for this group at the festival, so be sure to join in the fun as tractors from 850 lbs. to 1350 lbs. make their way down Pleasant Street. This event will take place from 6:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

If you have a golf cart and an artistic eye, get ready for the decorated golf cart and scooter parade.  The parade begins at North Elementary School, located at 287 Baldwin Avenue, and ends at the Main Street stage located downtown. Led by the Watervliet Fire Department this event should be fun for all. A parade route will be released closer to the start so all residents can enjoy these decorated carts as they roll by! Judging begins at 6:00 p.m. with a top prize of $50 at stake.

One final event takes place Friday as the rough and tumble – and based on last year’s crowd size – fan favorite IPW (Independence Pro Wrestling) feature begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Main Stage. Get ready for some arm bars, flips off the top rope, and plenty of body slamming. This full event will include ladder matches, triple threat and much more. With the championship match on Saturday after the parade!

Lace up your sneakers for Saturday’s first event of the day, the Gene Bednarowski 5K run and walk. The race kicks off at North Elementary School with registration opening at 6:45 a.m. Preregistration is open now!

Get your fill of pancakes and help the Watervliet Fire Department from 7:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. as they host their largest fund-raiser of the year – their pancake breakfast.

Another new event making its debut this year is Chalk Our Block. Artists of all ages have the opportunity to show off their skills by creating works of art on cement. Local businesses are sponsoring this inaugural event, which begins at 7:00 a.m. July 1. The winning work of art will be announced Sunday, July 2. Get registered today! All proceeds from the voting will go to Watervliet Public Schools Art Program.

On the Main Stage at 9:00 a.m. is a K-9 demonstration. Dog handlers will be around following the demonstration for a Q & A time.  Stop by to see top dogs in action.

The Kids Zone play area opens at 10:00 a.m. in Library Park with inflatables, games, and face painting for the little sparklers.

The 14th annual, ever popular 4th of July car show, which honors veterans, will once again be hosted by Arclight Brewery. The show is open until 2:00 p.m.

The 2017 Little Miss and Mr. Firecracker will be crowned at 11:00 a.m. on the Main Stage.

If your stomach is rumbling, be sure to swing by the airport for their annual Steak Fry starting at 11 a.m. The delicious food won’t last long, so get there before 4:00 p.m.

Be ready at 1:00 p.m. with your American flags flying as the 4th of July Grand Parade travels down Main Street. Colorful community floats, masterful musicians from area bands, and community groups are just a few of the entries into this glorious display of American pride. The awards presentation follows the parade.

Crowns, sashes, and smiles, oh my! Don’t miss your opportunity to meet local royalty from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. Miss and Mr. Blossomtime will be on hand downtown  for photo opportunities and will be joined with the Coloma, Hartford, and Watervliet Courts of Honor. Miss Blossomtime this year is Watervliet’s own Kaylee Chapin!

From 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Flaherty Park will be the place to see some precision action as the Mid-America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team showcase their skills. You can also meet and greet with the riders and their rides during the demonstration.

Championship IPW turns up the heat for the final bought on the Main Stage ring at 2:00 p.m.

If mud-slinging, tire spinning, motor revving action is your thing, stop by the old mill property north of town along Main Street starting at 3:00 p.m. for the second annual Mudd Run. The run will have three race features: stock power wheels at 3:00, 4×4 quad race at 4:30, and stock trucks or jeeps at 6:30. All three events are open registration prior to event day. Please register at the Tri-City Record office.

Healthy to the Core takes to the Main Stage at 4:00 p.m. to amaze you with their cardio drumming skills. Stop by and catch their beat or join in!

While you’re checking out the drumming, be sure to watch the corn hole tournament across from the Main Stage. For only a $25 registration fee, your team could toss your way to first place winning tickets to University of Michigan/Ohio State game. This double elimination 64 team tournament is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Boards and bags will be provided by the WBA and rules for the event will be posted!  Swing by the Tri-City Record office at 138 N. Main Street and sign your team up now.

If you’re in the mood for a little music, the band Frizzle Fried will hit the Main Stage from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.; get your seat at the tent early to enjoy sounds from the Rush- and Pink Floyd-inspired musicians.

Your hometown Hooterville Hitters will take on the House of David Echoes in a vintage baseball game at 6:00 p.m. in Hays Park. In the crowd will be the Memory Lane quartet. The foursome will kick off the game by singing the National Anthem and will then stroll through the crowd delighting fans and players alike with their music.  Pride Care Ambulance will also be on hand offering tours of their ambulances for kids.

C&S Delivery takes the Main Stage at 8:30 p.m. The two-piece group plays a mix of music, including folk.

After the concert, head back to Hays Park with your blanket or chair and get ready for the ahhh- and ohhh-inspiring fireworks. The final event of Saturday is always a grand production to end the full day of 4th of July festival fun.

Sunday, July 2, is the final day of the Independence Day Celebration. The airport hosts another fly-in and offers a delicious breakfast from 7:00 a.m. to noon.

Gather at the Main Stage at 11:00 a.m. for a community worship service.

Back at the airport, the ping pong ball drop will launch from the sky at 1:00 p.m. Kids are invited out to gather as many ping pong balls as they can. Local businesses sponsor the balls, which have a discount or free item written on them and can be redeemed at that business. It is recommended the children bring a bag with them to the drop.

The final event of this year’s festival is the duck race at Mill Creek in Flaherty Park. For those who have never experienced the duck race, it is a sight to behold as a thousand rubber ducks are set a-floating down Mill Creek. The first one into the chute wins a $1,000 grand prize for its lucky owner.

Duck race raffle tickets are now on sale and can be found in many locations throughout town. Stop by and purchase yours today!

Volunteers are working diligently on this year’s festival. If you are interested in helping or learning more details about each and every event, check out the Watervliet Business Association Festival page.  Become part of the best 4th of July festival in our area. Come visit Watervliet

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