For the first time in more than 30 years, the annual July 4th Family Fun Fair will not take place at Stephenville City Park.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty to do on a day when families across the country gather to celebrate America’s birthday.
Still scheduled is a festive parade that will wind down Washington Street in the morning while the evening will be capped off with a summer concert featuring country music singer Marty Stewart, followed by a fireworks display.
The decision to scale back on the July 4th festivities was not an easy one to make, according to Director of Community Services Drew Wells, but it was one prompted by a waning citizen interest to join the Fun Fair committee.
“In the last couple of years we’ve had a hard time recruiting committee members to serve,” Wells said. “And last year it was particularly tough. That’s when we began considering the idea of eliminating the event.”
In the past, 30 members of the citizen-based committee would serve a three-year term, with members rotating off in different years. But once it became difficult to recruit new members, the decision was made to lessen the restrictions on the volunteers by forming a 20-member committee that served a two-year term.
But even that wasn’t enough to convince people to sign up and serve, which prompted city officials to make the tough decision to eliminate the event.
Wells said that while he is sad to see the event come to an end, he is excited about other large-scale celebrations such as the summer concert series, DairyFest and Movie in the Park the city is now offering to its citizens.
“There are a lot of really great things happening in our community,” Wells said, adding that July 4th will still boast plenty of family fun.
At least nine food vendors will be on hand at City Park July 4th selling everything from funnel cakes to bratwurst during the evening concert and fireworks show.
“It will still be a great day with plenty for families to do,” Wells said. “The city is putting a lot more money into the evening entertainment and fireworks display to make the night special.”
SARA VANDEN BERGE covers courts, law enforcement, and business and political issues for the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her work number is 968-2379, ext. 240.