Jun. 24—July Fourth will mark 245 years since America's Founding Fathers ratified the Declaration of Independence. As Cobb County emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, Independence Day festivities are roaring back.
Marietta will host its 35th Let Freedom Ring Parade on the morning of July 3, beginning at 10 a.m. The parade, which was founded in 1986 by the Marietta Lions Club, will start at Roswell Street Baptist Church, march west along Roswell Street and turn right onto East Park Square. From there, it will head north until it ends at the intersection of Cherokee Street and North Marietta Parkway.
The Lions Club will pass out miniature flags ahead of the parade. The city does not allow participants to pass out gifts, merchandise, literature or other items during the parade, citing safety concerns with spectators entering the parade path.
The parade includes 110 entries, 2,000 participants and will attract tens of thousands of spectators, according to the city. Entries include marching units from the city of Marietta, civic organizations, beauty queens, scouts and local businesses.
The end of the parade will mark the beginning of the 4th in the Park festival in downtown Marietta, which will run until 9 p.m. It will include arts and crafts, a kid zone, food vendors and free concerts.
At 2 p.m., there will be a Liberty Bell ringing ceremony in Glover Park.
Scott Thompson will perform at noon and again at 7 p.m., Atlanta Concert Band will perform at 2:30 p.m. and Bogey and the Viceroy will perform at 8 p.m.
A fireworks show will commence at dark. City Parks and Recreation Director Rich Buss said the show is slated for 9:30 p.m. but could begin slightly early.
"We tell people ... to be there, ready for them early. We've had years where radar has shown that a thunderstorm's coming through ... if that means starting a little bit early, we're going to do it rather than not have them," Buss said.
Weather could affect other festivities, Buss added. Light rain would likely not cause any cancellations, but thunder and lightning could.
This year's parade grand marshal will be "the essential worker," a group of healthcare workers, police officers, firefighters and other essential workers who will lead the march.
"It won't be like one or two, it's gonna be a very good handful," said Mayor Steve Tumlin. "Just to represent to the crowd what these people have meant to us over the last year."
The city held no Fourth of July festivities in 2020 due to the pandemic.
"I think I speak for a lot of people; people are excited about it. Independence Day, it could be independent of COVID fears," Tumlin mused, later adding "this one's gonna be an awful lot of fun, and just good for the spirit of the city."