MARSHALL - The Independence Day celebrations at Independence Park are shaping up to be bigger than ever this year, organizers say. Before the fireworks Thursday at Independence Park, there will be a whole day's worth of family-friendly events, including the return of an old favorite.
Doug Goodmund of Marshall Community Services said the children's catch-and-release fishing derby will be back this year. Kids are invited to bring their bait and poles to the fishing dock to try and land a big one.
"We're really excited to have it back," Goodmund said. Event volunteers will measure each fish, and the kids who catch the longest ones will win prizes.
The fishing derby will be just one part of a busy schedule for the Festival of Kites on Thursday afternoon, Goodmund said.
"We've got a great day of activities and events," he said, "And we're looking forward to a great fireworks show."
Members of the Marshall Kiwanis will be giving out kites starting at 4:30 p.m., and hosting a variety of activities for kids and families.
"Last year we had a wonderful turnout," said Stephanie McKee of the Marshall Kiwanis. She said event volunteers are hoping for another great turnout, "Although this year we hope it won't be as hot outside."
Event organizers have helped put together a variety of new and returning attractions. McKee said kids will be able to check out a display of emergency vehicles, as well as some "big and cool" farm equipment.
Before the Festival of Kites gets underway Thursday afternoon, area residents will have even more opportunities to get active and have some fun. Staff members of Hooguh, a new Marshall business, are having a kickball tournament, water balloon fight and food vendors as a fundraiser for Western Community Action.
"We wanted our introduction to the community to be positive," said Caleb Toney of Hooguh, so the company organized some fun events. A kickball tournament will start at 10 a.m. How long the tournament runs depends on how many teams sign up, Toney said. For lunch, food vendors will include hot dogs from Hy-Vee, pizza from the Pizza Ranch and drinks from Pepsi.
Toney said the action will pick up again at 2 p.m., when a giant water balloon fight will start. Players will not only have to dodge the water balloons tossed at them by opponents but avoid being squirted by Super Soakers.
"The driest person wins," Toney said.
(All events take place at Independence Park)
10 a.m. - Kickball tournament
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. - Food vendors
2 p.m. - "The Hooguh Games" water balloon fight
Festival of Kites and Independence Day celebration:
4 p.m - Food vendors open
4:30 p.m. - Kiwanis Clubhouse opens. 500 free kites will be given away. Kids' activities include toddler fish pond, face painting, chalk art, balloon animal clowns, public safety vehicles and farm equipment on display, and bounce houses sponsored by Gracepoint Church.
4:30 p.m. - Marshall Radio DJ Sound Machine
5:30 p.m. - Kids' fishing derby
6:30 p.m. - Fishing derby winners announced. Must be present to win.
7:30 p.m. - Marshall Community Band concert
8:30 p.m. - Marshall Radio DJ Sound Machine
10:15 p.m. - Fireworks