SUNBURY — In a small sign that things are returning to normal locally since the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world last year, the 2021 Independence Day Celebration returned to Sunbury after being a virtual event in 2020.
Since the Fourth of July was on a Sunday, the parade and fireworks took place Saturday.
As it usually is, Sunbury Square was the setting for the early activities. Starting at 8 a.m., there were craft vendors, food trucks, and a farmers market until 2 p.m.
According to the Big Walnut Civic Association, goodies included Kona Ice, Giant Lemonade Cup, Jet’s Pizza, Shelah Otterbacher and Nothing Bundt Cakes. Kats Kraft BBQ and Little Ladies Ice Cream were present for evening activities, the association said.
“All Ohio social distancing and masking requirements that are in effect on July 4, 2021 will be respected and we request your help in doing so,” read a notice on the Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce website. Some people wore masks outdoors, but the vast majority did not.
The parade began at 10 a.m. from Big Walnut High School and then wound itself around the square. Local mayors and other politicians, farm equipment and first responder vehicles, the Big Walnut and Olentangy Orange high school marching bands, 4-H clubs and service organizations, local businesses and churches — a cast of many — marched or drove on a picture-perfect morning as the route was lined with children and adults as in past years.
The kids were rewarded with all manner of hard candy, candy bars, and chewy candy tossed by parade participants. Some of the kids swapped one confection for another, stuffing their pockets with as many treats as they could carry. A local dental office even tossed travel-size toothpastes to the crowd.
Other vendors passed out cold bottles of water to Sunbury police officers, and small American flags were a popular item to receive. Parents and grandparents alike declared the parade a success, and other than a historical vehicle failing to start, all appeared to be well.
Once the hour or so parade wound down, children stayed or went to the square to get on some rides and playground equipment. Other activities included a hot dog eating contest.
The action then shifted to the high school in the evening, starting at 7 p.m. There were bounce houses and food trucks for those who hadn’t gotten their fill earlier, and then fireworks went off at dusk.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.