Fireworks and festivities

Published 8:36 pm Saturday, June 29, 2013

Red, white and blue, and stars and stripes, were in abundance at last year’s Independence Day parade in Eclipse. Suffolk is planning two big July 4th celebrations this year.

Red, white and blue, and stars and stripes, were in abundance at last year’s Independence Day parade in Eclipse. Suffolk is planning two big July 4th celebrations this year.

Parades, raft races and fireworks will bring the red, white and blue to Suffolk during Independence Day celebrations this week.

In keeping with tradition, the community of Eclipse will kick things off at 11 a.m. Thursday with its opening ceremony in the Family Life Center at Ebenezer United Methodist Church, which hosts the events along with community partner CE&H Ruritan Club.

Speaking at the opening ceremony will be Councilman Mike Duman and Command Master Chief Larry H. Dean. Dean has served tours aboard the USS Cole and as senior enlisted advisor to the commander of Joint Special Operations in Ramadi, Iraq.

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His personal awards include the Bronze Star and Defense Meritorious Service Medal, as well as a Joint Commendation Medal with a “V” — worn to denote combat heroism or recognize individuals who are exposed to personal hazard during combat.

After the opening ceremonies are over, a bicycle and float parade through the neighborhood will follow. Cyclists must wear helmets and should line up on the soccer field by 11:30 a.m.

From noon to 3 p.m., free rides and games will take place on the soccer field, and food and T-shirt sales will take place inside the Family Life Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Proceeds benefit church mission projects.

At 3 p.m., the famous raft race will take place on Chuckatuck Creek. Locals paddle, kick and cajole their homemade rafts toward the finish line as folks cheer them on from nearby docks and from boats in the water.

Back at the church, food sales will begin outside at 6 p.m., and the Nate Sparks Band will begin playing at 6:30. Fireworks go off at 9. No adult beverages are permitted on the church grounds.

In downtown, the fun begins at 5:30 p.m., when Constant’s Wharf Park will open up for Fourth of July festivities. The event begins at 6. A children’s area with inflatable bounce houses and other activities for those 10 and under will cost $5 per child for unlimited access. The band Hotcakes will play from 6:30 p.m. to 8:50 p.m. They will give an encore performance after the fireworks, which will start at 9.

Food and novelty vendors will be available on site, and no outside food, drinks or pets are allowed.

No on-site parking will be available except for citizens with disabilities. A free shuttle service will run until 10:30 p.m. to and from the following locations:

  • Fresh Pride shopping center, 569 E. Constance Road
  • Mills Godwin Courthouse parking lot, 150 N. Main St.
  • First Baptist Church parking lot, across from 237 N. Main St.
  • Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum/Market Park, 326 N. Main St.

For more information, call 514-7250.