FORT LORAMIE — After a year of being cooped-up inside, this year’s Liberty Days, Fort Loramie’s Fourth of July celebration, is sure to be a bang.
“I think everybody is ready to get out and get together and have a good time,” said Scott Wendeln, Liberty Days committee member, who spoke for the committee. “What’s new this year is that it the weekend (celebration) is extended by a day.”
Typically the holiday is celebrated on the weekend closest to the 4th of July, but this year the fourth falls on a Sunday and is observed on a Monday, so the festival has been extended to three-days-long, Wendeln said. Liberty Days was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2021 Fort Loramie Liberty Days kicks-off on Friday, July 2, at 5 p.m. and runs through Sunday, July 4, at the Community Park located in the center of town at the intersection of Louis and Lane Streets. The community fireworks display will be held on Saturday, July 3, at 10 p.m.
“We have a fireworks display on Saturday night. It’s on the third; it’s done by a group called High-Tech Special Effects. For anybody familiar with Eldora Speedway, they do the fireworks displays for them, and a lot of local picnics. They do a real nice job of low-level fireworks for right there at the park,” Wendeln said.
The Miss Independence Contest, for teenage girls 16-19 years old, will be held Friday night, July 2, at 6:30 p.m. The Little Miss Independence Contest, for 5- and 6-year-old girls, will be held at noon on Saturday, July 3. The new Miss Independent will receive a $1,000 scholarship and will reign over the Liberty Days festival. The Miss Independence runner up will receive $500, and also a Patriotism Award will be given out for the best patriotism project.
There are seven Miss Independence contestants entered in this year’s pageant, which is greater number than usual, Wendeln said. He suspects the increased interest is due to the cancellation of last year’s festival and pageant.
Bands playing live music will start each evening at 8 p.m., and DJs will rotate various music during the day on Saturday and Sunday.
“This year, since the fourth is on a Sunday, and it is observed on Monday, it gave us a chance to have a third band for entertainment. Typically we would just do Friday night and Saturday night,” said Wendeln.
Karma’s Pawn will get the evening party started on Friday, July 2, Brother Believe Me plays on Saturday, July 3, and Haywired will finish the festival off on Sunday, July 4.
Probably the most popular event of the festival is the bean bag tournament, Wendeln said, which is held all day long on Saturday.
“The bean bag tournament has been a big thing forever,” he said. “We cut it off at 70 teams for the tournament. I sells-out almost every year.”
There will be a game tent containing various games from a black jack table to bingo, etc. And other than carnival rides, other fun things at the three-day festival includes sack races, volleyball and dodge ball tournaments, turtle races, a kids scavenger hunt, an All Sports Challenge for younger kids, tractor pulls and kiddie tractor pulls, and more.
A weekend-long celebration of the Fourth of July has been a staple for over 50 years in Fort Loramie. Wendeln recalled going to it as a child and says everyone looks forward to the event every year.
“And we try to have things for kids to do to called the All Sports Challenge on Friday night that is geared toward younger kid, where they can kick or throw a football or shoot baskets. It’s different stations where they compete,” he said.
The BBQ chicken dinner sale was originally slated for Saturday, but has been moved to Sunday, July 4, starting at 10:30 a.m. The date was changed after the event’s schedule was printed, he noted.
Also the Liberty Days Committee would welcome any additional help for the fourth of July weekend.
“We are a small committee trying to put on a big festival, and we could really use a few more helpers,” Wendeln said. “Anyone who may be interested, (can) contact us through our Facebook page.”
All things 2021 Fort Loramie Liberty Days, including the schedule of events, to sign up for an event, or to offer the committee help through messenger, can be found on the event’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/liberty.days.3
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.