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FROM STAFF REPORTS
Aurora -- A day full of fun and activities awaits Aurorans and nearby out-of-towners as the city celebrates the nation's biggest summer holiday on July 4.
For several hundred people, the day will kick off at 7 a.m. as runners scramble to make last-minute signups for the 1-mile and 5K races at the Bicentennial Park gazebo. The 1-miler steps off at 8 and the 5K at 8:30. Awards will follow at the gazebo, with the top three finishers in each age category being recognized.
Then at 10 a.m., parade units will begin lining up in the parking lots at Barrington Town Square, with the parade starting at 11. Baseball and softball teams will gather at Craddock School.
Units from Barrington Town Square will exit onto Route 306 and go south to the center of town and turn west on West Pioneer Trail, ending near the entrance to the high school. The units from Craddock will join the procession at Routes 82 and 306.
Parents whose children are participating in the parade are encouraged to use Aurora-Hudson Road and come up through Greenmen Way to the school parking lot to help alleviate traffic jams.
Afternoon activities for young and old start at noon at Kiwanis-Moore Playground just east of the main fire station, and run until about 4 p.m.
The Flower Clown will be on site from noon to 3 p.m., and Jungle Terry will show off his menagerie of wild animals at 12:30.
Parade grand marshal Joe Kotlin will be honored by Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin at 1:45 p.m., when awards also will be presented to the winning parade units.
The American Legion will sponsor a frog-jumping contest at about 2:30 p.m.
Residents will have a few hours to go home, relax and enjoy time cookouts and activities with their families, and then can return to the center of town for the fireworks, which will be shot off starting at 9:45 p.m. on ballfields 1 and 2 across from the Masonic Temple on West Pioneer Trail.
The cemetery will be closed at 1 p.m. to create a fire safety zone while the fireworks are being set up.
Melvino the Clown, an advance clown for the Kelly Miller Circus being sponsored July 20 by W.K. Ricksecker Masonic Lodge, is scheduled to walk in the parade. After the parade, he will be at the Masonic Lodge's circus booth.