Charleston’s 30th Red, White and Blue Days will take place this weekend, July 3 and 4, followed by the Coles County fireworks event.
Betty Coffrin, a member of the event committee, said that the group is mostly focused on keeping the event running smoothly since they couldn’t hold it last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re just going to have a nice event as we always have in the past,” Coffrin said.
Both days feature a variety of events.
Saturday, July 3
6:30 a.m.: 4 for the 4th
Check in for Habitat for Humanity’s four mile run or two mile walk begins at 6:30 a.m. at Morton Park. The race itself will begin at 7:30 a.m.
The registration fee is $25 and anyone under age 18 will need a parent or guardian’s signature on their registration form.
The running course will cover four miles of city streets with some hills, and the walking course will cover two miles of city streets.
Participants in the walking portion can compete for overall first and second place.
The running portion is divided by gender and age, so men and women can compete for first and second places in the 14 and under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, and 60 and over divisions.
The awards ceremony will occur directly after the event and will include a free raffle for all registered participants.
All proceeds from the event will be used by the Coles County Habitat for Humanity to build homes in Coles County.
9 a.m.: Car and Bike Show
Kally and Bucky Reddish organized this event so they could share their love of old cars and bikes with the community.
Registration is from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Morton Park and judging begins at 11 a.m. The show will end at noon.
The car registration fee is $15 and the bike registration fee is $10.
Admission to the show itself is free. Visitors will be able to vote on their favorite cars and bikes to decide the winners.
“We have trophies for ten divisions, one overall for bikes, one overall for cars, plus the first 50 to register will receive a dash plaque and, of course, bragging rights,” Kally Reddish said.
9 a.m.: Chalk in
The Coles County Arts Council will host this event at the north side of Morton Park between 1st Street and Division Street. Registration begins at 9 a.m., judging begins at 11:30 a.m., and awards will be presented at noon.
Prizes will be awarded to categories based on age group: 6 years and younger, 7-10 years, 11-14 years, 14-18 years, and 18 and up. There will also be a group category for those who want to work with their family or friends.
The “Most Patriotic” award can be presented to anyone of any category.
3 p.m.: Vendors open and games begin
Anyone who visits Morton Park can browse vendors and participate in games. Morton Park only allows nonprofit sales on the grounds, so most vendors will be raising money for an organization or purpose.
The Joyful Bubbles activity will begin at 4 p.m.
6 p.m.: Kelsey Miles concert
Kelsey Miles, a rock and blues artist from Wisconsin, will be presenting a free concert at Morton Park.
8 p.m.: Tusk concert
Tusk, a Fleetwood Mac tribute band, will take the stage after Kelsey Miles for Saturday’s second free concert.
Sunday, July 4
9 a.m.: Pet Parade
Registration for the pet parade, sponsored by the 4H Spin Club, begins at 9 a.m. in Morton Park’s west gazebo. The parade itself begins at 9:30 a.m. and will progress toward the center of the park.
All dogs should be leashed on a non-flexi leash. Other animals must be in their appropriate carriers.
All parade participants must be accompanied by an adult.
Each owner is responsible for their pet’s behavior and must clean up after their pet. They may not bring any female pets that are in season.
10 a.m.: All day activities begin
According to the Red, White and Blue Days website, “Inflatables, Fire Hose Fun, [and] other activities” will begin at 10 a.m. in Morton Park.
“All you can eat” ice cream will also be offered all day.
1 p.m.: Parade
The 4th of July Parade begins at 1 p.m. on Charleston’s square, then heads south on 6th Street to Polk Ave., then west to Division Street, then south along Morton Park.
2:15 p.m.: Bell Ringing Ceremony
After the parade, the local VFW color guard will present a traditional 21 gun salute, and an honored guest will ring the liberty bell.
2:30 p.m.: Pizzazz concert
Pizzazz, a variety band, will perform a free concert featuring music that attendees can dance to, or just relax and enjoy.
Dusk: Coles County firework show
The Coles County Memorial Airport gates open at 5 p.m. for firework viewers. Attendees can drive their own cars to go to the show, or take a shuttle from either the Mattoon Cross County Mall or the O’Brien Stadium in Charleston.
The first shuttle trip be at 5 p.m. Two shuttles will be assigned to each location and will run continuously until the firework show begins. After the show, they will run continuously until everyone is back to where they left their cars.
Luke Taylor can be reached at [email protected]