American Legion brings new energy to Independence Day celebrations

·2 min read

The Leighr A. Wright American Legion Post 53 of Hillsdale has resumed responsibilities for planning Independence Day festivities at the Hillsdale County Fairgrounds after a nearly 20 year hiatus.

Brett Boyd, the owner/operator of the Hillsdale Market House, took on the job from the Legion in the early 2000s, carrying on the traditions the Legion had established nearly 80 years before that.

“We’re thrilled to take this endeavor back on from Brett,” said Finance Officer Corey Murray. “My grandpa, Richard, was involved in planning the Fourth of July festivities during his time as a Legionnaire and I want to see it grow over the years while I’m involved, as my grandpa did before me.”

Murray said the partnership with the Hillsdale County Agricultural Society, the fairgrounds board, and working with Lori Hull, the fairgrounds manager, in planning this years festivities helped.

“Lori’s done this once or twice with Brett and made the transition seamless,” Murray said. “We’ve worked with her before in planning the annual Trunk-or-Treat event and she’s a great asset to have in our community.”

This years festivities will include fair food vendors, bounce houses, a band and a DJ. The gates open to the fairgrounds at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 3, and the fireworks are scheduled to begin at dusk. There is not an admissions charge and everything is free with the exception of the food vendors.

The festivities, Murray said, would not be possible without the support of local businesses and the Hillsdale County Community Foundation, Hillsdale Hospital and County National Bank.

This year will be the first since 2019 that the fairgrounds have been open for spectators and festival goers, with COVID-19 hampering the event in 2020 and 2021.

”Our community can expect a very similar experience to what Brett has established over the years,” Murray said. “In growing this, I’d like to see a hot dog eating competition take place in the future and other key events that make up the heart of a small town festival.”

The Hillsdale County Veterans Coalition will be on site during the event handing out red, white and blue glow sticks to kids and have informational brochures on benefits and resources for local veterans.

The American Legion’s Mobile Canteen Unit will also be present with two canopies and misting fans setup as cooling stations for anyone feeling the effects of July’s hot, humid weather.

”Bring your lawn chairs down and help us, your veteran neighbors, celebrate this great nation’s independence,” Murray said.

Festival goers will not be allowed to enter the main gate at the fairgrounds but other gates will be open for parking on the grounds.

For more information visit the Great American Celebration of Hillsdale County page on Facebook.

Fireworks light up the sky over Hillsdale in 2019 during the "Great American Celebration" show.
Fireworks light up the sky over Hillsdale in 2019 during the "Great American Celebration" show.

This article originally appeared on Hillsdale Daily News: American Legion brings new energy to Independence Day Celebrations