By Robbie Ward/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – For the first time in the more than a quarter century of the city’s annual July 4th All American City Celebration, the patriotic event will happen at a different location.
After 26 years of holding the fireworks, music and food event at Ballard Park in west Tupelo, it will move downtown to Fairpark this year.
David Dillard, chair of the event, said volunteers and city officials had organized the city gathering in the same place for so many years that a change seemed appropriate.
“We just thought we’d change it up,” Dillard said at a news conference announcing the venue change. “We’ll hold it at the city’s front porch.”
Along with fireworks and children’s activities, the event will include live performances by the Tupelo Symphony Orchestra and gospel, rock and country music artists.
The celebration has drawn 8,000 to 10,000 people each year.
With less green space at Fairpark compared with Ballard Park, Tupelo Parks and Recreation Director Don Lewis said the first year of holding the event at the downtown location will test the area’s logistics.
“It’s going to be a little tighter,” he said.
Part of Main Street will close to accommodate the crowd, while parking at the BancorpSouth Arena, around City Hall and other parts of downtown may provide less traffic congestion than experienced at Ballard Park through the years.
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. said he appreciates both locations and anticipates the celebration meeting expectations.
“It’ll be successful wherever it is because we have a patriotic community, it’s free and fun,” he said.