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Too much fun for just one Fourth

Carter County’s Independence Day will be filled past the brim with a wide range of events – enough to spill over ELIZSTAR-THURS B SECTION-07052012.inddfrom the 4th to the 3rd and 5th, as a matter of fact.
The weekend of celebration includes a road race, laser light show, community concert and a boat parade, along with many opportunities to watch fireworks.
The festivities will begin with the United Way’s Stars and Stripes 4-Mile Run and 3K Walk, scheduled for July 3 beginning at 8 p.m.
The Stars and Stripes race will begin at 4th and Main streets, will loop through downtown Elizabethton and surrounding neighborhoods and will finish through the Covered Bridge.
Any proceeds from the Stars and Stripes 4-Mile Run/ 3K Walk will be put toward the United Way’s 2015 campaign to benefit local non-profit agencies.
Carter County United Way Director Debbie Guy said the race is unusual because it is held in the evening, noting only a few road races are held in the evening in the Tri-Cities.
“We have had some people interested in the race because it is going to be in the evening,” she said. “It is a great course. Participants do not have to run the entire course. If they want, they can walk parts and run what they can.”
Guy noted the race was run on a certified course. Registration is online at werunevents.com. Packet pickups and registration start in the Covered Bridge Park at 6 p.m.
The new Covered Bridge Stage will be used for the first time on July 4 during the city of Elizabethton’s 4th of July Celebration.
Parks and Recreation Director Mike Mains said the events in the park will get under way at 1 p.m. and will go to 4 p.m. The event will feature a special patriotic ceremony honoring all those who have served their country. The Watauga Valley Fife and Drum Corps will be a part of the celebration.
Music on the new stage will be provided by Jerry Pierce and the Bulls Eye Band. Children’s events include inflatable rides and entertainment by Mr. Bill. There will also be a children’s patriotic bicycle parade at 1:30 p.m. The bike with the best patriotic display will win a prize.
Other participants include the Elizabethton National Guard, the Shriners and the Elizabethton Twins. There will also be a battle of the dogs, to see which participant has the best hot dog in town.
Then, at 2 p.m. the annual Watauga Lake Boat Parade will set sail. The parade this year will be in memory of Cody Roberts, who drowned in Watauga Lake on Memorial Day weekend.
The parade will start at Watauga Dam and pass Shook Branch and The Captain’s Table. It will then go to Watauga Point and end on the far end of the Butler Bridge.
Several of the area’s marinas award prizes for the best-decorated boats.
The community laser and light show at Big John’s Closeouts will continue until Saturday. The shows begin at 8 p.m. and continue until 11 p.m. The show is free, but donations of non-perishable food will be accepted for local charities.
After sundown, the celebration will take to the sky.
Fireworks will be held after the Elizabethton Twins game at Joe O’Brien field on July 4. Lakeshore Marina will have fireworks on July 4 at dark. On July 5, Cove Ridge Marina will have fireworks at 9 p.m. and Mallard Cove Marina will have fireworks at 9:45 p.m.
The fun will continue Saturday at Roan Mountain, where the Roan Mountain Recreation Foundation will host a “Party at the Park” to benefit the Cloudland High School Marching Band.
The party will run from 9:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Community Park in Roan Mountain, and will feature a bake sale, pie eating contest, frisbee golf tournament, face painting and critter keeper, old-fashioned games, a Harley-Davidson merchandise sale and live music.