As the Fourth of July approaches, symbolizing the midpoint of summer for many, you may be looking for family-friendly activities to celebrate the holiday. Luckily, festivities abound in the Richland County area. Whether you’re looking for fireworks, parades, or festive car shows, you’re sure to find something that’s fun for everyone.
On the weekend leading up to the Fourth, get up close and personal with high-flying hot air balloons at the annual Ashland Balloonfest (June 27-29) at Freer Field. This famous festival provides locals and visitors with the opportunity to see dozens of balloons take flight over town. Each night features a Balloon Glow, where visitors can watch the tethered, larger-than-life hot air balloons as they illuminate in a breathtaking symphony. The field is also lined with various food vendors, so you can snack as you experience the show.
Freedom Fest (June 30) is free to attend and includes live music and an elaborate fireworks display. In addition to Freedom Fest, there are plenty more automotive-themed events including the Freedom 50: Late Model Race (July 6) at Mansfield Motor Speedway. The Mansfield Lahm Airport Day (July 6) includes patriotic aircraft displays and a car, truck, and cycle show. Loudonville shuts down the streets for its annual Car Show, Antique Festival, and Fireworks (July 6). View cars from every era and shop for treasures at this free, family-friendly celebration.
Festivals can provide a full day of family fun. The Ontario 4th of July Festival (June 29) at Ontario High School features a parade, raffles, music, fireworks, and more. A 5K will take place on Saturday, which you can balance out with the hot wing eating contest later that night! Lexington’s Pastoral in the Park (July 4) kicks off with a parade through town that ends in an activity-packed festival at Bicentennial Park. Live music, vendor booths, and a free bounce house await at the park, in addition to multiple independence-themed contests. The first 100 people even get a free lunch!
The Pickle Run Festival (July 5-6) is Galion’s way of enjoying the Fourth, with food and craft vendors, sporting events, a parade, a glow run, a car show, and more. Legend says that the Pickle Run Festival was named after an old grocer who threw his rotten pickles into a creek. Galion residents watched as the pickles “ran” downstream. Come with an empty stomach to help the festival honor its origin with a pickle eating contest.
If you prefer to experience the holiday while surrounded by nature, camp out for Independence Day Weekend at Pleasant Hill Lake Park or Red White and Blue Fest at Charles Mill Lake Park. Independence Day Weekend will include live country rock music and a movie at the lake; Red White and Blue Fest features games, nature activities, a beach party, fireworks, and more.
For those who want to experience a standalone fireworks show, the Bucyrus Kiwanis Fireworks (July 3) at Crawford County Fairgrounds and the Crestline Independence Fireworks (July 3) at Crestline Soccer Field will each light up the sky at dusk.
No matter what kind of Independence Day experience you’re looking for, Richland County has the perfect event for you. For details on any of these events and more, be sure to check the Destination Mansfield – Richland County Fourth of July events page.
By Destination Mansfield – Richland County Journalism Intern, Amanda Ehrmantraut