What makes an Old-Fashioned Fourth of July?
Food, family, fireworks, and the Philharmonic, of course.
All four are guaranteed from noon to 10 p.m. on Friday at Kirby Park as Wilkes-Barre celebrates its 34th annual event.
Food and craft vendors and amusement park rides will line the park for those looking to get an early start on the fun. Old-fashioned food like hot dogs, hamburgers, lemonade, and snow cones are on the menu.
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic will perform at 7:30 p.m., followed by a fireworks display at dusk. Those attending should bring a lawn chair or blanket so they can better enjoy the day.
According to special events coordinator Liza Prokop, the city expects about 25,000 people to attend the festivities.
“A lot of people spend the entire day at Kirby Park,” she said. “They come early to eat and ride the rides and get a good spot. So many people come back each year that they already have their favorite spot in the park and like to make sure they will get it again. ”
Patriotic music will once again fill the park in a “Salute to America” when the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic takes to the stage at 7:30 p.m., directed by Lawrence Loh and assisted by Michelle Merrill. Katy Williams, a soloist who has performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Opera, will return this year. The guest conductor will be W. Brooke Yeager.
Musical selections for the 90-minute performance will include traditional patriotic music, including “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Armed Forces Salute,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “God Bless America” with Katy Williams, and Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”
Prokop said that while Wilkes-Barre follows the same basic Fourth format each year, some new craft vendors will be attending.
For the seventh consecutive year, the Hourigan, Kluger & Quinn Fund for Children’s Advocacy, also known as HKQ Kids, will give away free bicycle helmets to hundreds of Northeastern Pennsylvania children as part of its ongoing efforts to promote child safety in the region. Helmets will be distributed from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; children 12 or under are required to be accompanied by an adult to receive one.
“Our entire law firm looks forward to this event every year,” said HKQ spokeswoman Attorney Michelle M. Quinn. “It’s great to meet so many wonderful families in our community and know that we are doing our part to keep their children safe.”
JULY 3rd EVENTS
• The Big Bang Celebration, with hot dog eating contest, face painting, dunk tank, food, and bands Gone Crazy and Rhythm & Booze: 6 to 10 p.m., Greater Nanticoke Area High School Football Field (425 Kosciuszko St. Nanticoke). Fireworks at dusk. Info: 570.735.2800.
• Rotary Club Celebration and Fireworks: gates open at 6 p.m., radio show 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with fireworks following, Tunkhannock High School Football Field (135 Tiger Dr., Tunkhannock). Color Guard comprised of former Armed Forces members will attend. Refreshments available. Free, donations accepted. Info: 570.836.1247.
• Philharmonic and Fireworks, with patriotic selections by Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic and a fireworks display: 7:30 p.m., courthouse lawn, downtown Scranton. Info: 570.341.1568.
• Fireworks display: at dusk, Harman-Geist Memorial Field (175 N. Wyoming St., Hazleton). Rain date Saturday. Info: 570.459.4960.
• Fireworks display: at dusk, Wright Township Park (321 S. Mountain Blvd., Mountain Top). Rain date Saturday. Info: 570.474.9067.
• Fireworks display: 9:30 p.m., Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs (1280 Route 315, Plains Twp.) Info: 570.831.2100.
JULY 4th WEEKEND EVENTS
• American Freedom Festival, with carnival rides, games, food, music and fireworks: Friday 3 to 11 p.m.; 3 to 9 p.m. Saturday; 1 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Dansbury Park (Day Street, East Stroudsburg). Info: 570.424.7540.
• Fourth of July Celebration, with vendors, food, a bounce house, music by Stone Cat Duo and Liar Liar: Friday, 4 to 10 p.m. Kennedy Park (Wilkes-Barre Township). Fireworks at dusk. Info: 570.208.4652.
• Fireworks display: following the game Friday and Saturday, PNC Field (50 Glenmaura National Blvd., Moosic). Info: 570.969.2255.
• Fireworks display: Friday at dusk, Abington Heights Middle School (1555 Newton Ransom Blvd., Clarks Summit). Rain date Saturday. Info: 570.586.9316.
• Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks Display with outdoor DJ, Uncle Sam Stilt Walker, Mark Clark’s ‘All American Magic Show,’ food and craft vendors, and Hickory Licks barbecue: Saturday, 7 to 10 p.m., fireworks at 9 p.m., Shawnee Mountain Ski Area (401 Hollow Rd., East Stroudsburg). $10, carload. Info: 570.421.7231.