4thFest preparations are under way

University Park, Pa. — Although July Fourth is still two days away, local volunteers have been hard at work for a month in preparation for the Central PA 4thFest. Commonly in the top-10 best displays for July Fourth, the 4thFest hails in nearly 600 volunteers every year, with 80+ involved in the fireworks portion. Long-time volunteer Bob Williams said tens of thousands of man-hours have gone into the preparation for this event, beginning in fall 2007 with the music choreography, continuing up through the event, and finishing with the cleanup activities on July 5. Organizers say that volunteers are always needed -- although no pay is provided, lunch and dinner are, as are special viewing opportunities come the night of the Fourth. More than 150 organizations have contributed to the festivities to allow it to run so successfully in addition to the hundreds of volunteers organized by Central PA July 4th Inc, the nonprofit organization that has administered the local festivities since 2001.

Volunteers still are needed. Anyone interested can visit http://www.4thfest.org for more information, or call (814) 404-8777 for more information.

According to 4thFest executive director Bernie Keisling, the fireworks display is "but a small part of the festivities," although it is a significant part of the day. That said, the 10,000-shell display to be launched at 9:15 p.m. is always a huge source of pride for the Penn State and State College communities. In addition to perhaps the largest Fourth of July pyrotechnic display run solely by unpaid volunteers, the 4thFest is also scheduled to include a day full of festivities for those of all ages, including:

-- Annual Firecracker 4k Race at 9 a.m.

-- State College Spikes minor league baseball game

-- Bryce Jordan Center Family Playground (activities for all ages -- entrance fee required)

-- Penn State "Field of Champions" for children through eighth grade

-- NASCAR racing simulators

-- Civil War living history group presentations

-- Military hardware displays (including U.S. Army AH-64 Apache & UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and Stryker combat vehicles)

-- 4thFest Fireworks "The Greatest Fireworks Show on Earth" at 9:15 p.m.

-- Street Dance with local dance DJs following the fireworks

Additionally, Penn State's Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics is providing special eyeglasses, free of charge, to spectators at the Central PA 4thFest. The eyeglasses will enable them to identify the variety of atoms responsible for producing different colors of fireworks. For more information, visit http://live.psu.edu/story/33447.

For more information on the Central PA 4thFest, visit http://www.4thfest.org online. For photos of the 2008 pyrotechnics set-up, visit http://live.psu.edu/stilllife/1740 online.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010