Festive fourth

Fireworks to headline events on Thursday

Fireworks light up the sky in downtown Norris behind the post office in this file photo from 2021. Fireworks will be launched in the same area Thursday night. (photo:G. Chambers Williams III )
Tomorrow is July 4, and special events are scheduled all over the area to commemorate Independence Day, considered to be the birthday of the United States of America.

Clinton, Norris, Rocky Top and Oak Ridge all have celebrations lined up, and some begin as early as 8:30 a.m., the start of the Firecracker 4K and 1K Fun Runs in Norris, and a collector car show at 9 a.m. in Rocky Top.

It’s a particularly special time in Norris, as the city that owes its existence to the creation of the nearby Norris Dam holds its annual Norris Day celebration.

That’s a daylong series of events that concludes – as most of the cities’ celebrations will – with fireworks displays just after dark.

In Clinton, the July 4 celebration begins at 5 p.m. at Lakefront Park. There will be inflatables for kids, a petting zoo, ax throwing, ETCW wrestling, a game truck and more.

The fireworks will be launched beginning at 10 p.m. just across the Clinch River from Lakefront Park.

Oak Ridge will host a free concert at 7:30 p.m. at A.K. Bissell Park, followed by fireworks around 9:45 p.m.

Other Rocky Top events will include a celebration beginning at 5 p.m. at the city park, preceded by a children’s bicycle parade beginning at 4:45 p.m. from the parking lot of Truist Bank on South Main Street. Firworks will start at 10 p.m.

The collector car show will run from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the George Templin Memorial Ballfield.

As part of Norris Day, there will be a free evening concert by 110 in the Shade, a six-member group performing electric, funk, soul, Motown, and R&B numbers, from 7-9 p.m. on the outdoor stage next to the Lions Club Pavilion downtown.

Norris Day begins with the Firecracker 4K and 1K Fun Runs at 8:30 a.m. in the town’s Commons area.

Other events will include Posting of the Colors, 9 a.m.; Norris Library Chalk Walk, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; kids’ dog show, 9:10 a.m.; duck races, 9:45 a.m.; decorated bicycle parade, 10:30 a.m.; many-wheeled races, 11:15 a.m.; sack races, 11:45 a.m.; water balloon toss, 12:15 p.m.; and water balloon battles, 3 p.m.

There will be an evening program at the Lions Club Pavilion behind the post office beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The concert will be the last of the “Concerts on the Commons” this year.

There is no admission charge to any of these events, but concert attendees are requested to bring their own chairs or blankets to sit on in the grassy area in front of the stage, next to the pavilion.

Food will also be available from food trucks throughout the day, and there will be inflatables set up for the kids from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as a water slide from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The concert will be followed by a 20-minute fireworks display.

This will be the 56th annual Norris Day celebration.