Spectacular fireworks, food and community are just a few of the many offerings available Friday, June 29, when Heart of the Ozarks Healthcare Center and Rehab is host to the 33rd annual Fourth of July celebration.
The opening ceremony will begin at 5:45 p.m., with entertainment kicking off at six o’clock. Please remember to bring chairs or blankets for sitting on the ground.
Each year this community event draws people from miles around, as folks look forward to gathering together on the hillside to visit, enjoy festivities and entertainment, and watch a dazzling display of fireworks. Some of the many activities available to youths and adults this year include crafts, food items, inflatables, trout pond fishing, car show, bingo, dunking booth, dessert bar, games, activities, and many local vendors.
Among the food items offered will be cotton candy, funnel cakes, hamburgers, hot dogs and the dessert bar.
And, concluding the evening is a breathtaking fireworks display by Foggy Bottom Productions, the company that has entertained at the site for the past few years, and is known for putting on a spectacular show.
One of the favorite items of the Fourth of July celebration is the silent auction that offers thousands of dollars in merchandise, gift certificates, game and show tickets, and on occasion, in the bidding process, gift baskets and packages may be purchased for a bargain price.
Some of the auction offerings this year include a date night package with a two-night stay in Branson, a Stihl gas blower donated by Cooper Lumber, barbecue grill with a basket of goodies, canning basket, St. Louis Cardinal tickets for a July 4 game, Theodosia Marina and Cookie’s Restaurant package, a baby basket, a Pontiac Cove Marina basket with a certificate for an eight hour pontoon boat rental, Branson show tickets, and many other service and gift items donated by local businesses.
Proceeds from the auction help keep the celebration going from year to year.
The Heart of the Ozarks is also holding a drawing for a Browning Rifle 308, with a scope and case, that will be given away prior to the fireworks show.
Evening festivities will begin at 5:45 p.m. with opening prayer and the posting of the Colors by Troy Herd American Legion Post 112 and Ava VFW Post 5993 of Douglas County. Missy Breashears will sing the National Anthem, and kick off the musical entertainment with a 30-minute program.
In addition, singing and musical entertainment will be provided by Bethany Caudill, Backyard Bend, Shine, and Backyard Bluegrass, all leading up to the fireworks display, which is scheduled to begin at 9:30 p.m.
Parking for the event is available in several convenient locations, and for those parking a short distance from the site, shuttle service will be available. Limited parking is accessible at the bottom of the hill, just below the nursing home.
As in past years, parking is available at the former Murphy’s General Store location, north of the highway intersection, and in the lot adjacent to the Missouri Department of Conservation property on Highway 76.
Shuttle service is being provided by Highway Church of the Nazarene and Ava General Baptist Church for all parking lot locations. At the conclusion of the evening, Ava Assembly of God will add their ‘big’ bus to the mix, so event goers won’t have to wait as long to reach their parking lot location. This should disperse the crowd more quickly.
Shuttles will run throughout the evening, providing rides to and from the event site, so those who do not wish to stay the entire evening can board a shuttle to take you to your car, at any time.
For veterans, a VFW Post Service Officer from Russell T. Scott Post 5993 will be on-site during the Heart of the Ozarks event from 4 to 7 p.m. The service officer will offer assistance to veterans and evaluate their eligibility to receive VA benefits, as well as provide referral information and assistance. Those interested in meeting with a representative may find them at the VFW and Auxiliary booth.
In the event bad weather is a factor and Friday’s activities are canceled, a rain date is scheduled for Friday, July 20.