Red White and Blue Days returns for 28th year

Jordan Boyer, Editor-in-Chief

The Red White and Blue Days festival returns to Charleston for its 28th year, and there are a number of events from June 28 to July 4.

Betty Coffrin, a committee member for Red White and Blue Days, said in a email that this year’s theme is, “Celebrating Illinois’ Bicentennial 1818-2018,” they have been approved as a “participating event” through the Illinois Bicentennial Commission.

The parade will begin at 1 p.m. on July 4, while registration for the pet parade starts at 9 a.m. the same day. Registration for the 4 Mile Run/Walk starts at 6:30 a.m also on July 4.

Vendors open at 3 p.m. on July 3 in Morton Park. Fireworks start at dusk on July 4 at the Coles County Airport.

Coffrin said, there will be two concerts in Morton Park on July 3. Musical artist Jason Bertrand is opening for Lonestar at 6 p.m., and Lonestar will perform at 8 p.m.

“We try to have an affordable event,” Coffrin said, “All entertainment is free.”

People attending the concert should bring lawn chairs because there will be no seating.

“We stress to people coming to the concert, to bring lawn chairs, because we don’t provide seating,” Coffrin said.

On July 4, local music group Sound City will perform at 2:30 p.m.

“(Sound City) is going to be a nice addition to the line-up,” Coffrin said.

Coffrin said committee member Mike Ziebka helped get the musical acts for the event, and he can get some nice national acts for the event, like he has done in the past.

There are a few other events that are apart of Red White and Blue Days. On June 28, the Charleston Community Band is performing a patriotic concert in Kiwanis Park at 7:30 p.m. On July 4, there will be an American Legion Pancake Breakfast, starting at 7 a.m. in the Morton Park East Pavilion.

All of the vendors present at the event are not-for-profit organizations.

Food vendors include Charleston Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus, Central Christian Church and the Charleston High School Cheerleaders.

Coffrin said the event started out as a welcome home celebration for the soldiers in Operation Desert Storm, then it started to become an annual celebration for 4th of July.

Coffrin said that this event is an opportunity for the community to come together.

“We get more and more people (every year),” Coffrin said. “Now people are planning their 4th of July events with us.”

Jordan Boyer can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].