The long-running Stars & Stripes festival and community picnic annually brings Greenwood residents together to celebrate Independence Day.
“It’s a fun, free community event,” said Beth Stevens, executive director of the Greenwood-Leflore County Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the event. “You’ve got live entertainment, kids’ activities. You’ve got the boat parade, fireworks and a veterans tribute — that’s a full lineup of activities.”
The upcoming celebration is set for Thursday. Stars & Stripes will be held in the park between the Keesler and Veterans bridges. The park will open at 6 p.m., and the live entertainment will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Performing again this year will be The 601 Band, which is based in Jackson.
“We brought the same band back we had last year, because they were so good and everybody loved them,” said Stevens. “They were really popular and a real fun party-type band and brought a really good vibe to the event.”
The band performs a variety of genres, including rock ’n’ roll and Motown.
At 7:15 p.m., the live entertainment will take a short break and a veterans tribute will be held. There will be a patriotic ceremony, which will include the National Anthem, Legionnaires from Post 29 and Post 200, and the Boy Scouts color guard.
“The reason we’re celebrating is our country’s independence and the people who fought for our freedom,” said Stevens. “That’s definitely a fitting aspect of the whole entire evening, so we want to honor and thank and recognize our veterans.”
After the ceremony, The 601 Band will pick back up.
The popular Stars and Stripes boat parade on the Yazoo River also will be one of the highlights of the festival. Those who would like to participate this year are encouraged to decorate their boats in a patriotic theme — red, white and blue banners, streamers and balloons and American flags.
“We do encourage boats to come out and participate in the boat parade,” said Stevens. “Some people come out and just bring their boats, and some people really get into it and decorate. We really encourage people to participate. ... If you’ve got your boat in the river, we definitely encourage you to dress it up, even put some lights on it.”
There is no entry fee, and the owner of the best-decorated boat wins $100.
Stars & Stripes will include a variety of fun activities for children of all ages. ArtPlace Mississippi will provide free arts and crafts activities and games, and the park’s splash pad will also be turned on. Inflatables will be available with the purchase of a $5 wristband for unlimited jumps throughout the event.
City Councilman Charles McCoy with Greenwood Market Place will be handing out free slices of watermelon while supplies last.
“That’s always a hot spot,” said Stevens.
The event will feature several different food vendors.
“We’ll have everything from nachos to chicken-on-a-stick to wings to barbecue,” said Stevens. “There’s going to be a little bit of everything.”
Another option for those attending is to bring their own picnic baskets and enjoy a homemade meal or snacks by the river. The event is family friendly, and alcoholic beverages are not allowed in the park.
The event culminates with a 20-minute fireworks display over the Veterans Bridge.
“Everybody loves a good fireworks show, so we’re never disappointed by that,” said Stevens.
Greenwood police officers will be on hand to direct traffic and parking.
Those attending Stars & Stripes are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets.
“We want everyone to come out as one big community and have a great night,” said Stevens.
Those who are interested in participating in the boat parade can call the chamber at 453-4152.
• Contact Ruthie Robison at 581-7233 or email@example.com.