By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The fun and fireworks are moving a little farther east in Tupelo this year.
The annual All America City 4th of July Celebration will be in Fairpark this year, moving for the first time in its 27-year history from Ballard Park.
“We’re not saying we’re going to go back (to Ballard) or stay (in Fairpark) forever. After 27 years, we wanted to try something a little bit different,” said Tupelo Park and Rec director Don Lewis.
The downtown location offers more parking and ways in and out, solving the traffic problems that plagued the Ballard Park location.
But all of the activities families have come to love at the city’s Independence Day celebration will be there.
Local talent takes the stage at 3:30 p.m. and includes Stone Lizard, the Tupelo Unity Choir and the North Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
The exception to the local talent is a regional artist, Memphis Jones. He’s a native of the Bluff City, and in addition to being a Memphis and contemporary Christian musician, he’s also a music historian.
Jones’ setlist for the Tupelo show is a Memphis music revue, with a tip of the hat to Tupelo.
“Memphis music is the soundtrack to America’s life – rhythm and blues, rock ‘n’ roll, gospel, soul,” he said in a phone interview with the Daily Journal. “And Memphis stands on Tupelo’s shoulders. It won’t be a salute to Memphis, but it’ll be a tribute to what Tupelo broke wide open.”
Jones will perform at 6:30 p.m.
There will be plenty of food vendors and kids activities, like water slides, too.
“Our approach has always been that less is more. We don’t want to overcrowd. The main focus is the music and fireworks,” he said.
Speaking of fireworks, they’re set to go off at 9:30 p.m. July 4.
“The fireworks will be behind City Hall in an open field,” Lewis said. “There will be a fire engine on standby, and as always, we’ll take every precaution possible.”
Lawn chairs and blankets are welcome.