In the United States, bigger is always better. This year's Marana Independence Day celebration at Ora Mae Harn District Park, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road, promises to be bigger than ever.

The Star Spangled Banner Celebration on July 3 will kick off at 5 p.m. and include family carnival games, food vendors, live music and the largest fireworks display in Southern Arizona. Although the celebration will feature many of the same attractions as years past, this Fourth of July may have a different feel to it.

"We are trying to take this year's event back to traditional Fourth of July celebrations," said Tammy Reyes, special events coordinator for the Marana Parks and Recreation Department.

This year's celebration will be formatted around the United States Armed Services. Among the service personnel on hand will be officers from Fort Huachuca, Davis Monthan Air Force base, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Army National Guard, the Navy, Border Patrol and the local police and fire department. Some of the more traditional Fourth of July events will include a formal flag presentation and a performance by the Fort Huachuca Military Band.

On the main stage will be a performance by the classic rock band East 2 West, who return to the Star Spangled Banner Celebration for a second straight year.

For the adults, the second-stage will feature karaoke from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. There will be a softball tournament, boxing ring, horseshoes, a rock wall and jousting. No alcohol will be served at this year's festivities.

Featured events in the children's fun land will include burlap sack races, balloon tosses and watermelon eating contests. Kids will have a chance to compete in the Marana Western Youth Timed Event at the Marana Western Heritage Arena from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Food vendors for this year's celebration have more than doubled from 30 to 66 vendors, specializing in a wide variety of food from Mexican, barbeque and ice cream.

The fireworks display, considered the biggest in Southern Arizona, will only get bigger this year and so will the crowds.

This year's celebration is expected to draw upwards of 15,000 people, estimated Reyes. Past events have averaged anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 people.

"As the town grows, the event grows and we get more and more people," Reyes said.

A shuttle service will be available starting at 5:15 p.m. with pickups at Twin Peaks Elementary School, 7995 W. Twin Peaks Road and Trico Electric Cooperative, Inc., 5100 W. Ina Road. Donations of two cans of non-perishable canned goods per person are suggested to ride the shuttle. Without a donation, a $2 charge will be asked per adult. Children ride for free.

For more information on the "Star Spangled Celebration," call the Marana Parks and Recreation Department at 682-3395.

Marana Star-Spangled Celebration July 3rd Schedule

- Mayor's Dinner: 5 to 7 p.m.

- Mayor's Address: 6 to 6:20 p.m.

- Arts and Crafts Vendors: 6 to 11 p.m.

- Food Vendors: 6 to 11 p.m.

- Swimming Pool Hours: 6:30 to 11 p.m.

- Children's Fun Land: 6 to 11 p.m.

- Watermelon Eating Contest

- Balloon Toss

- Burlap Sack Races

- Inflatables

- Face Painting

- Duck Pond

- Bottle Bust

- Teen/Adult Activities: 6 to 11 p.m.

- Horseshoes

- Softball Tournament

- Homerun Derby

- Rock Wall

- Boxing Ring

- Jousting

- Ice Cream Social: 7 to 10 p.m.

- Explosive Fireworks: 9 to 9:30p.m.

- Musical Entertainment

- Main Stage Entertainment

- Ft. Huachuca Military Band: 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.

- EAST2WEST: 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 to 11 p.m.

- Second Stage Entertainment

- Karaoke: 7 to11 p.m.

- Marana Western Heritage Arena

- Marana Western Youth Timed Event: 7 to 8:30 p.m.


- Shuttle Services: Start at 5:15p.m. and will be offered at:

- Trico Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Tangerine Road)

- Twin Peaks Elementary School (Silverbell Rd./Twin Peaks Rd.)

- Public Parking will be $5 per car.

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