Gallia activities light up July 4 weekend

Contestants take part in a watermelon-eating content during last year’s River Recreational Festival in Gallipolis City Park.

The fireworks display will conclude the weekend’s activities at 10 p.m. Saturday night at Gallipolis City Park.

OHIO VALLEY — There won’t be a shortage of activities associated with the Fourth of July holiday weekend as festivals, parades, music and fireworks displays are planned at many venues throughout the region on both sides of the Ohio River.

Meigs County features a plethora of parades and fireworks displays, while Point Pleasant’s Sternwheel Regatta and Gallipolis’ 50th annual River Recreation Festival is each set to entertain thousands of visitors, respectively.

The following are activities, times and locations of events planned for this weekend throughout the Ohio Valley:

Gallia County

The 50th annual Gallipolis River Recreation Festival officially opens Thursday night and continues through Saturday, concluding with a fireworks display at 10 p.m. The three-day event includes contests, pageants, entertainment, artisan booths, exhibitors, food and other vendors, and Kids Night, with multiple activities and prizes.

It all begins Thursday with the the Lil’ Miss and Mister Firecracker Pageant at 5:45 p.m., Queen’s Parade at 7 p.m. and Queen’s Pageant at 8:30 p.m. Friday kicks off with Gospel Day from noon to 6 p.m. Kids Night, with games and prize giveaways, will also take place that evening from 3-9 p.m.

Taking the stage for Gospel Day will be Bailey Manns and Taylor Manns at 6:30 p.m. and Joey Hebdo at 7:30 p.m. An Open Mic Night will finish out the evening, starting at 9 p.m., following Hebdo’s performance.

On Saturday, the day starts with the popular Baby Tot Sparkler Contest, with registration beginning at 8 a.m. and the contest at 9 a.m. The annual Weiner Dog Race takes place at 4 p.m. and String Benders will take the stage at 5 p.m.

The theme for the annual Independence Day Parade is “Honor the Past, Imagine the Future” and takes place at 7 p.m., followed by Joey D. on the stage at 8:30 p.m. Fireworks with music from Sunny 93.1 will close out the festival at 10 p.m.

Independence Day weekend in Gallia County also means class reunions, and this year is no different.

Gallia Academy High School graduates of 1955 and 1956 will celebrate their 60th and 59th class reunions, respectively, on Friday at the Gallipolis Elks Club. Social hour at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. and program at 8 p.m. Other activities are also planned for Thursday evening and Saturday morning. For more information, call Jack (Class of 1955) or Barb (Class of 1956) Richards at 740-446-3461.

The GAHS Class of 1954 will gather at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Golden Corral’s meeting room for their annual breakfast and fellowship. All GAHS grads and friends are welcome, and no reservations needed.

Meigs County

A parade, Bar-B-Q and fireworks are all part of the Racine 4th of July Celebration on Saturday. Parade participants are asked to line up for the parade at 9:30 a.m. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. through the main streets. A chicken barbecue and home-made ice cream will follow the parade at 11 a.m. at the fire house. Fireworks are scheduled for 10 p.m. at Star Mill Park.

Middleport’s Fourth of July Celebration will be Saturday afternoon. Local DJ Kip Grueser will play music from 4-7:45 p.m. There will be a children’s singing contest from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Anyone participating in the parade should line up beside Dairy Queen by 5:30 p.m. Part of this parade includes the “Pulled, Pushed, Pedaled and Pets.” Participants are encouraged to decorate their bikes, trikes, Big Wheels, wagons and other parade transportation, including riding mowers, scooters, tractors, motorized chairs and golf carts. The actual parade begins at 6 p.m.

A flag-raising ceremony will immediately follow the parade at Dave Diles Park. The raising will be lead by American Legion Feeney Bennett Post 128, with the National Anthem sung by the River City Players Chorus. Lastly, the evening will end with fireworks shooting from the riverbank at the upper end of Middleport at 10 p.m.

Rutland’s Fourth of July Celebration begins with the parade line up at 9 a.m. Saturday in the lower part of town. There is no need to register. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. Activities during the day include: Bingo at noon; clogging from 1-2:30 p.m.; the band 65 South from 7-11 p.m.; and fireworks at 11 p.m.

Wilkesville will have its annual Fourth of July parade at 11 a.m. Saturday. The theme of the parade is “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

Mason County

The Point Pleasant Sternwheel Regatta takes place Saturday with the following events planned: Vietnam Veterans Mobile Wall is on display all day at Riverfront Park; 22nd Street Exxon 5K, 10K and Kids Fun Run at 8 a.m.; parade starts at 11 a.m., line-up at the Mason County Board of Education Office; car show following parade at USDA parking lot; Kid’s Day starts at noon at Tu-Endie-Wei Park; West Virginia Vietnam Memorial Wall Ceremony at 1 p.m. at Riverfront Park; Line Throw at 2 p.m. at Tu-Endie-Wei; Zumba class at 3 p.m. at Tu-Endie-Wei; WBYG Showdown at 6 p.m. on main stage; Joey Hyde at 8:30 p.m. at main stage; fireworks at 10 p.m. at Tu-Endie-Wei.

New Haven will kick off festivities Saturday with a parade beginning at 11 a.m. Line-up will take place at 10:30 a.m. at the community center on Layne Street. Following the parade, a ceremony will be at the veterans memorial next to the fire station.

The Town of Mason’s Fourth of July Parade begins at noon, with line-up starting at 11:30 a.m. on Martin Street. Activities at Stewart-Johnson V.F.W./Lottie Jenks Memorial Park will continue throughout the afternoon. Refreshments will be available for purchase, including chicken barbecue by the Wahama Band Boosters, hot dogs by the Mason Recreation Foundation, and other goodies by the Mason United Methodist Church.

Following the Mason festivities, the celebration will then move to Middleport, according to Mason Mayor Donna Dennis. In addition to the $6,000 Middleport annually spends on fireworks, the Town of Mason contributed an extra $1,500 this year for the display. Prior to the 10 p.m. fireworks show, there will be kids’ games from 4:30-5:30 p.m. at the Dave Diles Park. A parade will begin at the Dairy Queen at 6 p.m., and “Remember Then” will be playing oldies music from 7:45-9:45 p.m.

Beth Sergent in Point Pleasant; Lindsay Kriz and Lorna Hart in Pomeroy; and Michael Johnson in Gallipolis contributed to this story.