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Region set to celebrate independence with parades, fireworks, history

July 2nd, 2014 9:54 pm by J. H. Osborne

Region set to celebrate independence with parades, fireworks, history

Kingsport's Mack Riddle American Legion Independence Day Parade is scheduled to get underway at 10 a.m. Friday, with former City Manager John Campbell serving as grand marshal. Photo by David Grace.

KINGSPORT — Communities across the region will mark Independence Day with a multitude of patriotic celebrations Friday.

John Campbell will serve as grand marshal for the Mack Riddle American Legion 61st annual Independence Day Parade in Kingsport.

Sponsored by Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union, the parade begins at 10 a.m. in front of the Kingsport Renaissance Center on Center Street and ends in front of the Kingsport Veterans Memorial on Fort Henry Drive.

Each year the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce chooses an individual to serve as grand marshal who has truly gone above and beyond for the greater Kingsport community. Campbell recently retired as Kingsport city manager.

"John Campbell's positive servant leadership is very evident in all that has been accomplished during his years as city manager of our wonderful city," said Andy Wampler, Kingsport Chamber of Commerce chair. "He has planted the seeds of many trees under which we and our children will enjoy the shade for many years."

A native of Kingsport, Campbell began his career as a planner for Johnson City in 1976, followed by five years as assistant city manager and assumed the city manager's position in 1984. After more than 16 years as manager and twice being named as Tennessee City Manager of the Year, Campbell retired from the city of Johnson City in 2001 and became a private consultant for business and government. Following a year as the CEO of Networks Sullivan Partnership (2005-06), Campbell became Kingsport's city manager in October 2006 and served until his retirement last week.

During his tenure in Kingsport, the city has completed a number of major projects, from the establishment of the Academic Village, the construction of the Kingsport Aquatic Center and John Adams Elementary School, the redevelopment of the old Quebecor property and the expansion of the Kingsport Farmers Market.

The Downtown Kingsport Association is sponsoring a Fourth of July fireworks presentation, with the show — from Cement Hill above and behind the train station on Main Street — scheduled to begin at 9:45 p.m.

The Blountville Ruritan Independence Day Parade, open free to all entrants as long as they present a patriotic theme, is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. Friday, with entrants asked to line up at Keystone Drive between 1 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. The parade's route follows the Great Stage Road (State Route 126) through the heart of the Blountville Historic District.

For an old-fashioned early American take on the Fourth, visit with the Cobb family at Rocky Mount Historic Site in Piney Flats.

Rocky Mount will be celebrating the way Independence Day was celebrated in the years immediately after the American colonies declared independence from Great Britain in 1776.

At 1:00 p.m. Friday, there will be a ceremonial reading of the Declaration of Independence. Afterward, the militia will shoot a volley using 18th-century-style flintlock muskets and rifles.

Throughout the day visitors will be asked to tie a ribbon on the "Liberty Tree." Visitors will receive a complimentary copy of the Declaration of Independence. There is no admission charge for the ceremony.

In addition, living history tours will be given from 11:00-5:00 with the last tour starting at 4:00. Regular admission prices apply: $8.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors, and $5.00 for children ages 5 and over. 

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