Kiwanis host July 4 festival
The 49th annual Independence Day Festival in downtown St. Marys is an event packed with runs, a parade, music, entertainment, vendor displays, food and fireworks.
Sponsored by the St. Marys Kiwanis Club and the City of St. Marys, this festival’s theme is celebrating America’s Armed Forces.
Arts and crafts vendors will be set up in downtown St. Marys from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Festival organizers are urging residents to leave dogs and other pets home from the festival and fireworks to protect them from the hot pavement, high temperatures and loud noises.
“When the temperature is very high, don’t let your dog linger on hot asphalt,” according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “Being so close to the ground, your pooch’s body can heat up quickly and sensitive paw pads can burn.”
5K, 10K runs
Kiwanis and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes kick off the festival early with a 1-mile fun run for kids 14 and younger at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 1, at St. Marys Elementary School. Registration will be from 8 to 8:45 a.m. at the school. The entry fee for kids is $15 and includes a festival T-shirt for those who pre-register. For adults, the entry fee is $20 with a T-shirt and free without a T-shirt. Parents are welcome to join their kids. The school with the most participants will receive a trophy to display at the school.
The top boy and girl overall and the first three boys and girls in the 6-and-younger, 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14 age groups will receive awards.
The 5K and 10K races start at 7 a.m. Tuesday, July 4, in downtown St. Marys at the waterfront. Both races start along Ready Street and end at the waterfront on Osborne Street.
The registration fee is $25 and includes a festival T-shirt. Participants can sign up and pick up their packets from 6:15 to 6:45 a.m. Tuesday at the waterfront pavilion. Packets can also be picked up from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Marys Elementary School.
The top male and female runners overall and the first three male and female finishers in seven categories will receive awards.
The parade starts at 10 a.m. and will travel down Osborne Street. The theme is honoring all branches of America’s Armed Forces. Applications are available online at www.smkiwanis.com. Awards will be given for the top three entries.
Participants will begin lining up at 8 a.m. at the corner of Osborne and Meeting streets.
There will be a variety of music and performances from 11 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. on the main stage at the intersection of St. Marys and Osborne streets.
• 11 a.m. Lisa Allen's Dance Works
• 11:30 a.m. Camden County Community Band
• 12:30 p.m. Grimsley Martial Arts
• 1:30 p.m. Fiesta Fitness Zumba demonstration
• 2:30 p.m. Artistic Minds dance crew
• 3 p.m. Sisters in Step Dance Fitness
• 4 to 4:30 p.m. Miss Rocky Boogie Time with Gracie Rassi
• 5 p.m. The Heirs
• 6 to 8 p.m. Friese Studio of Music
• 8 p.m. Harbor band
There will also be music in Howard Gilman Memorial Park from 10 a.m. to 9:15 p.m.
• 10 a.m. Sounds of the River Music
• 11 a.m. Becka Moreno
• noon Jermaine Johnson
• 1 p.m. Prayer Warriors
• 2 p.m. Friese Studio of Music
• 3 p.m. Three Rivers Church
• 4 p.m. Jermaine Johnson
• 5 p.m. Southeast Community worship band
• 6 p.m. Wilder Hearts
• 7 p.m. Brian Weaver
• 8 p.m. Three Rivers worship
Patriotic Express train rides will run Tuesday, July 4, during the festival at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $14 for children younger than 12 years old. Children 2 and younger ride free.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.stmarysrailroad.com or by calling (912) 200-5235. Groups of 10 or more may call (912) 729-1103 for a group discount code. The train departs from Theatre by the Trax in downtown St. Marys.
The celebration culminates with a fireworks display at about 9:30 p.m.
A river cruise is available for those who want to watch from the river. The boat leaves at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the St. Marys and Kingsland welcome centers.
Crooked River State Park also offers a boat cruise from 8 to 10:30 p.m. on the St. Marys River to watch the fireworks. Space is limited and registration by 8 p.m. Monday, July 3, is required. Tickets are $40 a person. To register, call the park office at (912) 882-5256.