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With live music and some 45 vendor booths offering crafts, food and games, the big inflatables, a car show by the Road Runners Car Club and a silent auction, this event continues to become bigger and bigger each year.
The Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the dunking booth again this year with some local “celebrities” taking turns.
In addition to the hundreds who will gather on top of the hill and participate in the activities that begin at 6 p.m., hundreds more will park off-site to watch the giant fireworks display by Chris Davis of Davis Pyro Productions.
The fireworks exploding overhead from the nursing home site in south Ava will be visible from most of Ava. But many will find a location along Highway 5 to watch the patriotic display.
Live entertainment will be presented from the open-air stage set up in front of the facility with local entertainers including the Kingdom Kids, Do Right Country, Rod Humbyrd Band, McCullough Fiddlers, and Missy Breshears.
The nursing home staff will operate a food booth offering hamburgers and hotdogs and nachos. They will also have a dessert bar, with all proceeds from that booth going back to the residents for operation of the facility beauty shop.
Dozens of gift baskets have been donated and prepared for the silent auction that helps fund this event year after year. Literally thousands of dollars worth of merchandise will be offered to the highest bidder.
Baskets include savings bonds and Branson show tickets, children’s baskets with coloring books and games, gift certificates, a lawn and garden basket, a Bull Shoals get-away package and even dental services.
Also offered this year is a gas barbecue grill with utensils, a Bunn coffee pot basket, a rock waterfall with park bench, and a Troy-Bilt weedeater. Also offered this year is a 7-cubic-ft. deepfreeze with $200 worth of meat.
A favorite basket that always generates competitive bidding is a lady’s Pamper Me package.
Local fire departments will once again help with the parking, and Pastor Tom Maples of First Southern Baptist Church will provide shuttle service from the parking lot at the bottom of the hill.
Free parking will be available both on-site at the nursing home as well as at the Drury University (Murphy’s) parking lot at the junction of Highway 5 and S. Jefferson Street. Also available this year is the Zane Gray lot adjacent to the Murphy’s lot along SE 20th Ave. and Old Hwy. 5.
To expedite things when the program is over Friday night, Ava United Methodist Church will have its big bus available to transport folks back down the hill so there should be less waiting for a ride.
A limited amount of handicapped parking will be reserved close to the activities, and the facility staff will have golf carts available to provide rides for those who may need to use a parking lot in the rear of the facility.
Because of the size and location of the fireworks, no cars will be allowed on Crestview Street in front of the facility except to exit the event. The main entry will be off Highway 76 to Hillcrest Drive.
Vehicles coming in from Highway 5 will be able to take Fox Meadows Drive to Wayside Lane and Hillcrest Drive through the residential section to the event.
Event coordinators discourage parking along the street due to the high volume of traffic.
Those operating booths have been advised to be in place by 4 p.m. Friday. Vendors arriving late will not be allowed to drive in to the exhibition area.
Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and come prepared for a relaxed evening of entertainment, visiting and fun on the lawn of Heart of the Ozarks Healthcare Facility.
In case of a rainout on Friday the event would be held on Friday, July 8.
Other Community Events
The Heart of the Ozarks Independence Day Celebration is the first of several events that will be held to celebrate the Fourth.
The Squires Picnic and Independence Day Celebration will be held on Saturday night, July 2, at the Squires Fire Department.
This traditional community event also features carnival rides, games, food, live entertainment and a big fireworks display.
The event, which begins at 5 p.m., is held at the junction of Highway 5 and Route JJ, across from the Squires General Store.
One day later, on Sunday, July 3, Highway Church of the Nazarene will hold its annual Celebrate America event, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Located five miles north of Ava on Old Highway 5, this event will feature gospel-bluegrass by the Harper Family of Bunker, and a more contemporary blend by Anthem, from MidAmerica Nazarene University.
A skydiver will make his arrival in the midst of the activities and there will be events for all ages, including inflatable games, pony rides, a kids’ train, face painting, the Crystal Lake fish pond and food.
A full meal will be available for a $2 donation, and a free dessert bar featuring homemade cobblers and ice cream will be opened up just before the giant fireworks display by Chris Davis of Davis Pyro Productions.
Admission is free for this event, and plenty of parking is available thanks to the generous cooperation of Dr. H.D. Smith.