Charleston to celebrate Red, White and Blue Days with local theme


Amanda Wilkinson | The Daily Eastern News

The Mattoon Fire Department displays a flag at the Coles County Airport July 4, 2013. Residents from Charleston, Mattoon and surrounding areas gathered for the fireworks show.

Amanda Wilkinson, Online Editor

Community members will be able to celebrate Independence Day with food, games, music and bubbles at Morton Park.

The theme of this year’s celebration will be “Celebrating Merchants: Past and Present.”

The celebration will begin with a bubble pit and inflatable games and activities for children at 10 a.m. until 2 p.m on July 3.

The food vendors will be opening at 3 p.m.

Betty Coffrin, a member of the Charleston 4th of July committee, said at the 24th annual celebration, all the food vendors will be local organizations such as the Hutton Masonic Lodge, Charleston Rotary Club, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Charleston Trojan Booster Club and Central Christian Church.

The park has a regulation that commercial vendors cannot be in the park, she said.

“Adhering to the park regulation is another opportunity for organizations to make some money for their causes,” Coffrin said. “We have a lot of interesting things coming to the park, a lot of vendors.”

The organizational vendors will be selling porkchop sandwiches, chips, beverages, hot dogs, cotton candy, lemon shakeups, cookies, bratwurst and sauerkraut, corn on the cob and funnel cakes.

There will also be all-you-can-eat ice cream for $2 on both days.

“We are getting more and more (vendors) every day,” Coffrin said.

Community members can also see free performances of Levi Riggs, a country musician, at 6:30 p.m. and Tracy Lawrence, a country musician, at 8 p.m. on July 3 and the Boat Drunks, a Jimmy Buffet tribute band, at 2:30 p.m. on July 4.

Coffrin said they are expecting even more people in attendance than last year because of all the interest they have gotten in the live performances.

People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs as there is no concert seating in the park.

On July 4, the day will begin with the Great Chalk In, hosted by the Coles County Arts Council will be from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

There will be a parade at 1 p.m. and a bell-ringing ceremony at 2:15 p.m.

The celebration will end with fireworks at the Coles County Airport at dusk.

There will be free shuttle rides to and from the airport starting at 5 p.m.

People can park and get on a shuttle at O’Brien Stadium parking lot in Charleston and at the Cross Country Mall parking lot on the east end in Mattoon. Free parking is also available at the airport.

Amanda Wilkinson can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].