Old-fashioned Fourth of July event in second year

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The second annual Niles Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration will be held at Riverfront Park in Niles this Friday.
The event goes from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is organized by 12 Niles churches and several area not-for-profit organizations.
Jo Flock, chair person of this year's event, said she was told last year's celebration drew close to 1,000 people.
She expects more people to drop by this year and is looking forward to invite the public to celebrate what Fourth of July is all about.
She said representatives from Howard Library will be doing story telling at the event and a group of home schooled children will be doing robotics.
There will also be sing-alongs with patriotic songs, Flock said.
Ring tossing, a three-legged race, horse shoe throwing, tug of war, a bubble gum blowing contest, water melon eating, a checker and chess tournament and basketball shoots are only a few of the other activities on offer, she said.
Flock said everyone who compete in the different events will get certificates.
The winners of some events will also be given prizes in the form of a bracelet or small trinkets, she said.
She said last year's most popular activities included the helium balloons, which will also be featured at this year's event.
What makes this event stand out from other events is that there is no charge on any of the activities or most of the food served, Flock said.
That makes the event cheap and affordable for all families.
Flock said the not-for-profit organizations and the churches will be serving drinks, hot dogs, popcorn, slush and other refreshments for the duration of the event.
Flock is pleased to see all the different church denominations joining forces to help organize the all around fun and community event.
But she also said it's great to see all the not-for-profit organizations working together toward the same goal, which is bringing people together in happy celebrations of Independence Day.
A handful of people have been working together to organize the event, that apart from some more food will be pretty much the same as last year's event, Flock said. No rain date has been set for the event and Flock said the event will go on unless there is a serious downpour.
She encourages people to bring lawn chairs and other things that will make their stay more comfortable.
The idea to have an old fashioned July Fourth celebration at Riverfront Park in Niles was conceived after the 2001 September 11 attacks on the world trade towers in New York.
It began as an offshoot of a Niles Daily Star-sponsored event that included singing patriotic music as part of a memorial service honoring the victims of the terrorism.

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