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Watervliet Independence Day Celebration July 5, 6 & 7:a weekend of summer fun, food and fireworks!

Watervliet is making preparations to roll out the red, white, and blue carpet for their annual Watervliet Independence Day Weekend Celebration. In six short weeks, Watervliet will celebrate the 4th of July, the most patriotic of holidays with parades, the Mudd Run, car shows, and many more activities over the weekend of July 5, 6 and 7, 2024. The longstanding festival has events for kids and adults, and continues to grow.

Friday – July 5

Festivities begin Friday night at 6 p.m. when the carnival opens up downtown. Watervliet will once again be hosting the Elkhart Garden Tractor Pull, on Pleasant Street. for

Line-up for the Kiddie Parade will be around 5:30 Friday afternoon in the Auto Value parking lot for a 6 o’clock parade. This year’s parade chairperson, Gerianne Bernard, plans to head this group of children north to the new Oasis Park for awards.

The Main Stage will be at Arclight Brewery parking lot for some of the events and some of the festival’s events will take place at Oasis Park.

The engines and exhaust pipes will be heard for miles with the 3rd annual Open Header Car Show and Cruise-in at Watervliet Fire Department. Please plan on bringing your pride and joy cars to the WFD at 6:30 p.m. The Cruise-in will begin at 7:30 and head to Coloma. All interested should reach out to Chief Whitney with any questions, 269-757-4293.

Watervliet Idol singing competition will grace the stage at Oasis Park at 6:30 p.m. Contestants that have auditioned at WFD on June 7 & 8 will compete before the judges. The finale will be Saturday, July 6 at 2 p.m. at Oasis Park. This year the contest has been opened up to anyone 20 and younger in the Tri-City Area. For more information contact Karlianne Loshbough at 269-861-2075.

If you have a golf cart or a side by side and an artistic eye, get ready for the decorated golf cart parade. The parade begins this year at Watervliet Airport, north of town, at 8:00 p.m., and ends at the Main Street Stage at Arclight. Led by the Watervliet Fire Department and last year’s winners, Buffy and Pete Mannino 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! Remember to stick around at Arclight to see who will be this year’s winner, with a top prize of $50 at stake.

The final event of the evening on Friday will be the Parking Lot Party at Arclight beginning at 9 p.m. This should be an awesome night of dancing outside and under the stars. Party-goers will be able to head inside of Arclight to taste their specialties and come back out and dance the night away.

Saturday – July 6

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

The 20th annual, ever popular 4th of July car show, which honors veterans, will be in the Jot Liquor parking lot and down Church Street again this year. This show is a crowd pleaser with around 120 cars participating. The show is open 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Car enthusiasts with questions should call Les Fairbanks, 269-463-5260.

The 2024 Little Miss and Mr. Firecracker Crowning will take place on the Main Stage at Arclight at 11 a.m. on July 6. Voting boxing will be out in the community from June 1 through June 29.

Be ready at 1 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. Parade lineup will begin at 11:30 a.m. on the corner of Main Street and Red Arrow Highway with the parade beginning at 1 p.m. sharp! All questions concerning the parade should be directed to Parade Chairperson Chana Kniebes at 269-757-2457. There are parade applications at the Tri-City Record office.

If mud-slinging, tire spinning, motor revving action is your thing, stop by the old paper mill property north of town on M-140, across from the county park, starting at 3 p.m. for the annual Mudd Run. Registration for this event is prior to racing, the cost is $30. Trophies will be presented in each category present and the winning truck will receive a $500 cash prize. For more information please contact Bill Loshbough, 269-208-4051.

The Kid Zone will also be at the old paper mill site with five attractions from Vertical Edge Entertainment. This year there will be a Splash Zone along with a train that can take kids downtown, and the ever popular Zip Line. Kid Zone is open from 2-7 p.m. and most of the attractions are free!

At 2:00 p.m. Watervliet Idol will take the Oasis Park’s stage. All entrants making it through round one and in the finals will have the opportunity to wow spectators one more time.

The Main Stage at Arclight will host All Niters at 9 p.m., and they will pick back up right after the fireworks!

During the break in live music entertainment, head to Hays Park with your blanket or chair and get ready for the oooh- and ahhh-inspiring fireworks. Food vendors will be on hand to satisfy the appetites of hungry firework watchers. The finale for Saturday is always a grand production to end the full day of 4th of July festival fun.

Sunday – July 7

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

Back this year will be the multi-denominational church service at the Oasis Park on Sunday, at noon. Please plan on worshipping downtown this year before you head to the final event of this year’s festival, 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 plastic ducks are set a-floating at 2 p.m. down Mill Creek. The first one into the chute wins a $500 grand prize for its lucky owner.

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 or give Amy Loshbough a call at 269-876-1326. Become part of the best 4th of July festival in our area.

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