ARMSTRONG - It's that time of year when the town of Armstrong pulls out all the stops for one of the best Fourth of July celebrations in the region.
Favorites such as the big parade, car show and many different food vendors are returning this year, but there are also a few new additions.
"The inflatables are back," said Vickie Rooney, parade chairwoman for the Fourth of July festivities. "We also have a petting zoo, and this year, we have horse trolley rides all over town starting at 10 a.m."
Much like in the past, Fourth of July festivities begin with the Ecumenical Church services at 7 a.m., along with registration for the 5K run, which begins at 8 a.m.
Other events beginning at 8 a.m. include the Punt, Pass and Kick competition at the North Union High School football field, and VFW track and field events for pre-school through sixth-graders at the high school track.
The 3-on-3 basketball tournament begins at 9:30 with registration at 9 a.m. at North Union High School.
At 10 a.m., the inflatables and the trolley rides begin. The soap box derby races also begin at 10 a.m. at the nursing home hill. Registration also begins for the classic car, truck, motorcycle, and antique tractor and antique bicycle show. At 11 a.m. the big wheel races begin on the west side of the city park, with the petting zoo beginning at 11:30 a.m. on the north side of the park.
The parade begins at 1 p.m. with Jon Larsen, a former Armstrong-Ringsted and North Union instructor, serving as grand marshal. The kiddie parade happens shortly before the big parade begins.
After the parade, there are the traditional events of free swimming at the Armstrong pool, watermelon feed on the south side of the park, and the kids petal tractor pull on the west side of the park. But there is also a special event that could potentially save lives.
"Abby Fessler is a former Armstrong resident who needed a bone marrow transplant," Rooney said. "She's coming back to help with the Love Hope Strength bone marrow donor drive. It's for people ages 55 and under, and what they do is get a cheek swab, and from that, they can put you on the national register for bone marrow donors. They can tell if you're a match just from a cheek swab."
Afternoon entertainment consists of Steve Lang performing in the park at 2:30 p.m., and the firemen's water fight at 3:30.
The Fourth of July celebrations close with a large fireworks display at 10 p.m.