Red, White and Blue Days celebrates 25th anniversary


File Photo

Jeff Riggs, his wife Kristen Riggs and their son Caleb Riggs watch the fireworks display at the Coles County Airport July 5, 2014 as part of Red, White and Blue Days.

Tony Komada, Online Editor

Red, White and Blue Days will begin June 28 and continue through July 5, celebrating its 25-year anniversary as well as honoring the 40-year anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Festivities will take place around Morton Park at Division and Lincoln Avenue.

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute and Traveling Wall will also be part of the celebration from July 1 to 5.

The Traveling Wall will be escorted by motorcycle from the Cross County Mall to Morton Park at 5:30 p.m. on July 1. Setup will begin at 4:30 p.m. with all bikers welcome to partake.

An opening ceremony for the Traveling Wall will begin at 5:30 p.m. July 2, with the exhibit remaining open 24 hours a day until it is closed at 3 p.m. on July 5.

Posting of colors for the Traveling Wall will occur at noon on July 3, 11 a.m. on July 4, and 10 a.m. on July 5. Retrieval of colors will occur at 8 p.m. July 3 and 4.

A Vietnam Veteran Remembrance Ceremony will commence at 2 p.m. on July 5 before the exhibit is closed.

Betty Coffrin, who has been setting up the event, said the wall commemorates 50,000 soldiers who were killed in the Vietnam War.

“Let’s Pack the Pavilion” is the event’s Harold Hackett Memorial Bingo game, which begins at 2 p.m. and continues until 5 p.m.

The Patriotic Concert will include the Charleston community band playing at the Kiwanis Park Bandshell at 7:30 p.m. on July 2.

Nonprofit vendors open at Morton Park at 3 p.m. on July 3, with free entertainment playing that evening. Forgotten Highway will play at 6:30 p.m., with Jo Dee Messina playing at 8 p.m.

Fourth of July will kick off with a pancake breakfast, which will take place at the Coles County Fairgrounds Merchants Building from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.

A 4-mile run/walk for Habitat for Humanity will begin at 7:30 a.m. on July 4 at Morton Park, with registration at 6:30 a.m.

Chalk In is the event’s activity to give children of all ages to show their skills on pavement for the Coles County Arts Council, which will begin at 9:30 a.m. and continue to noon. Other children’s activities will include inflatable games and will continue all day.

The Fourth of July parade will begin at 1 p.m. at the square around the Coles County Court House and go south on 6th Street to Polk Avenue, then travel on Polk Avenue until reaching Division Street. The parade will then go past Morton Park and finish up at O’Brien Stadium.

A Bell Ringing Ceremony will follow the parade at 2:15 p.m. and free entertainment by Captain Rat and the Blind Rivets at 2:30p.m.

All-you-can-eat ice cream is also available on at Morton Park on July 4.

Fireworks will finish off Fourth of July at the Coles County Memorial Airport. Free shuttle rides will be available to and from the airport starting a 5 p.m. at O’Brien Stadium in Charleston and the Cross County Mall in Mattoon.

Tony Komada can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].