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Dover Post
  • Organizers gear up for the Fourth of July in Dover

  • Several years ago, Dover’s Fourth of July celebrations almost fell apart, due to a lack of funding and organizational snags. But after a couple of rocky years, the festivities regained their footing. And now, after a couple of good years, the Fourth of July Celebration Committee, the City of Dover and American Legion Walter L. Fox Post 2 are gearing up for another Independence Day packed with family fun.
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  • Several years ago, Dover’s Fourth of July celebrations almost fell apart, due to a lack of funding and organizational snags. But after a couple of rocky years, the festivities regained their footing. And now, after a couple of good years, the Fourth of July Celebration Committee, the City of Dover and American Legion Walter L. Fox Post 2 are gearing up for another Independence Day packed with family fun.
    All of the tried and true traditions will be in place again this year, said Greg Patterson, the president of the committee that’s been organizing the event since 1976.
    Friday’s celebration will kick off with tours of historical sites and games for kids, followed by the American Legion’s annual parade in the evening and, finally, the night will be capped off with fireworks.
    The fireworks show draws an estimated 15,000 people to the Legislative Mall, with roughly 30,000 to 50,000 people spreading out across the downtown area, from the Blue Hen Corporate Center on Bay Road to Holy Cross Catholic Church on State Street, Patterson said.
    “People have their own traditions and their own spots that they pick out all around downtown,” he said. “It’s just a really neat thing to be a part of that.”
    One thing that sets the Dover Fourth of July celebration apart from other towns’ events are their scale, said Kay Dietz-Sass, the public affairs director for the City of Dover.
    “The size of our parade is unique from other areas,” she said. “The involvement of different groups in the community, all of the vendors and then of course, we have a great fireworks show.”
    Organizing the large festivities takes a lot of advance planning. The Celebration Committee begins holding meetings in February to plan and prepare for the festivities, Patterson said. Fox Post #2 also has to submit their permits for the parade and coordinate participants, while the city’s public works department has to coordinate road closures.
    As in years past, the parade will step off at Hazel Road and head down State Street before continuing to The Green. Starting at 4 p.m., Mary Street, Hazel Road and Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed to allow the parade participants to line up. At 5:30 p.m., State Street will close as the parade gets underway.
    Throughout the day, streets that surround Legislative Mall will be closed to vehicle traffic, including Federal Street, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Legislative Avenue. When the fireworks begin, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard will be closed from U.S. Route 13 to the Legislative Mall, Patterson said.
    One of the key components of planning the festivities for the committee is picking out a theme for the music that will accompany Dover’s bombastic fireworks show.
    Page 2 of 2 - This year’s theme is “Music from the Mouse Movies,” which will feature various songs from Disney movies.
    “For those younger folks in the crowd, and probably for their parents as well, it could turn into a big sing along,” Patterson said.
    That family atmosphere is one of the things that make the Dover Fourth of July festivities great, Dietz-Sass said.
    “It’s very community oriented and family oriented,” she said. “Everyone is welcome. At no time do you have to say this isn’t a family-friendly event. It’s fun for all of us, kids of all ages.”
    The community gets involved both by participating in or watching the American Legion parade and by sponsoring fireworks for the display, Dietz-Sass said.
    Those interested in sponsoring fireworks can visit dover4thofjuly.com through Thursday, click on the tab that says “Adopt a Firework,” and for $17.76 they will receive a certificate that assigns their donation to a numbered firework.
    Those who wish to participate in the American Legion’s parade can still sign up. Local organizations can register at 4 p.m. Friday at the American Legion’s booth Hazel Road.
    Neither the city nor the Fourth of July Celebration Committee has changed or added anything for this year’s festivities.
    “I think this is such a long-standing tradition that people are so familiar with how its run,” Dietz-Sass said. “When something runs this well, you don’t want to make changes.”
     

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