By Mike Beas
Long before the first fuse is lit, the annual City of Lawrence 4th Fest will offer something for everyone.
What begins with a parade starting at Harrison Hill Elementary School concludes a little more than 12 1/2 hours later with a fireworks display guaranteed to light up the sky.
In-between will be the event’s customary assortment of food and entertainment choices.
“The whole thing is really geared toward the family,” said Cori Korn, deputy Chief of staff for the City of Lawrence. “Our Exchange Club distributes 4,500 flags, so it has a very patriotic feel throughout the day.”
Serving as this year’s grand marshal is former Lawrence North High School boys basketball coach Jack Keefer, who retired following the 2021-22 season. Keefer is the only boys basketball coach in LN history, compiling a 865-338 record and four state championships during his 46 seasons.
Keefer’s half a century diagramming plays (his first four seasons were at Oak Hill High School near Marion, his alma mater) allowed him to coach the likes of Derwin Webb, Todd Leary, Eric Montross, Greg Oden, Mike Conley and hundreds of other young men he would positively influence.
The parade starts at 10 a.m. and is expected to last an hour. More than 50 entries are expected.
The parade will be followed by the Classic Car Show, a Fish Fry and the Jeep Jamboree.
Registration for the car show is from 9 a.m. to noon. The fee is $15. Awards will be presented in the following categories: Top 20 Open Class, Best Street Rod, Best Muscle Car, Best Street Machine, Best Slammed Mini Truck, Best 4×4, Best Import, Best Rat Rod, Best 50s Custom, Best Military Vehicle, Mayor’s Pick and Best of Show.
Attendee can enter the park off Herbert Lord Road off E. 56th Street between Post and Franklin Road, or off 56th Street and Franklin Road. The park is about a quarter mile east of Franklin Road.
Jennifer Mlott, an award-winning singer-songwriter and choreographer from Indianapolis, takes the stage at 6 p.m. She’ll be followed by Big Roscoe & the Hammers, a party band scheduled to play until fireworks begin at 10 p.m.
Among the notable persons expected to take part are Lawrence Mayor Steve Collier, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Supt. of MSD of Lawrence Township Shawn Smith.
Those who attend are encouraged to wear their favorite combination of red, white and blue.
“It really is a citywide effort,” said Korn, who estimates last year’s 4th Fest attracted approximately 10,000 people during the course of the morning, afternoon and evening. “There’s a lot that goes into it besides the pre-planning of it. It’s truly a team effort.”