As it has been in years past, Springfield's 2011 July 4 celebration is going to be big. Organizers expect to draw between 2,000 and 3,000 people over the course of the evening, assuming there's firework-friendly weather.
Fireworks start at dusk and the live music kicks off at 7:30 p.m., but the doors open at 5 p.m, when families are advised to arrive to take full advantage of the event's child-friendly features.
"We encourage families with children to arrive early and take advantage of having unlimited use of the rides and petting zoo," 4th of July Committee co-chair Scott Seidel said in an email.
In addition to the carnival-style rides and the animals, children can enjoy a trackless train and pony rides. This year's theme is "family picnic" and families are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets and enjoy a family picnic. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted on County Park Property.
Parking rocking music and nostalgia will be provided by the 1910 Fruitgum Company and the Toys featuring Barbara Harris, acts that rocketed up Billboard Magazine's top 40 chart in the '60s. The Fruitgum Co., who along with groups like the Lemon Pipers and the Archie's spearheaded the late '60s bubblegum rock movement, charted with the pop tunes "Simon Says," "1-2-3 Redlight" and "Indian Giver." The Toys were one notch shy of a number one hit in 1965 with "A Lover's Concerto," a song rock critic Dave Thompson called "the apogee of the Girl Group sound."
Both groups have performed in Springfield at past events; this is the third year in a row that the Fruitgum Company has been featured in the township's July 4 celebration, and Barbara Harris of the Toys performed at last year's July 4 event, as well as past Township summer concerts.
The Garden State Fireworks Company of Millington, New Jersey will provide and sets off the fireworks.
"As far as the Fireworks, I consider them the best in the area," Seidel said. "And being the co-chair of the 4th of July Committee has nothing to do with it!"
The events sponsors are , s, TD Bank and the .