Fourth of July activities set to return to Perry

Allison Ullmann
Perry Chief
Candy is thrown from one of the Nevitt Realty floats during the 2019 Fourth of July parade.

Perry’s annual Fourth of July celebration will return this year, though it will look slightly different. 

While the July 4 activities were canceled last year because of COVID-19, the fireworks show was still held. This year’s celebration will include the parade, vendors in Pattee Park, live music at the bandshell followed by the fireworks show. 

"We didn’t plan on any additional activities this year just to keep things a little bit simple as we’re easing into events again. Just simplifying but still bringing in those larger traditions,” said Perry Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lynsi Pasutti.

The annual parade returns, though at a later time as the Fourth of July falls on a Sunday. Other communities have shifted the parade to Saturday but Pasutti said they wanted to keep the tradition of having the parade on July 4.

Floats will begin lining up at 10:30 a.m. at East Perry Plaza. The parade will kick-off at 11:30 a.m. and will travel down Willis Avenue to Pattee Park.

Perry Boy Scouts ride in the 2019 Fourth of July parade.

Pasutti said the chamber is doing registration this year but it is not required. She added that they had received questions in the past if people needed to sign up ahead of time and about the parade rules so a registration option was added to the Fourth of July website.

The parade is free to enter and registration is not required. Prizes will be handed out to the best floats. 

Vendors will be set up all day in Pattee Park, selling food and non-food items. Vendor application forms can be downloaded on the Fourth of July website in both English and Spanish. Applications should be turned in by June 30 to allow the chamber time to place everyone around the park. 

Pasutti added that the chamber is not holding any afternoon music or activities at the bandshell. 

“People can catch lunch, they can catch dinner and hang out there during the day,” she said of Pattee Park.

Kathy Powell serves a sandwich to Kurt Ridnour at Pattee Park The meal was served by St. Martin’s Episcopal Church during the 2018 Fourth of July Celebration.

Live music will return to the park later in the evening. Stranger Than Fiction will play in the bandshell from 6-9:30 p.m. Pasutti said the event will be similar to Friday Fest and people can bring their own lawn chairs and baskets.

Fireworks will round out the show at dusk or around 9:30 p.m. While people will be able to view the fireworks from around town, Pasutti said a great spot is in Pattee Park. 

In May, the chamber signed on for a $12,500 fireworks display, which is what they had budgeted. 

“With the successful fundraising we went ahead and bumped that up by $2,000 so we’ve got a really great show planned,” Pasutti said.

The chamber had already reached its goal of $12,500 for the fireworks drive through the Big Boom Bracket Battle and radio pie auction. More donations came in through the annual round-ups at the Perry Fareway and Hy-Vee stores.

Pasutti said the rest of the surplus from this year will roll over to help kick off next year’s fireworks drive.

While the chamber may look to add additional activities for next year’s celebration, she said it made sense to keep things simple this year.

“I’m definitely looking forward to having the celebration continue and bringing back some of those traditions that people really missed out last year,” Pasutti said. “Bringing back the parade and the live music will especially be fun for everyone.”

Part of the fireworks display in 2020. The 2021 show will be even bigger as fundraising efforts surpassed the initial goal.