Red, White, Blue Days return for 31st year

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Raine Zhu

The Illinois Professional Santa drives down Division Street Wednesday afternoon at the Fourth of July Parade.

Rob Le Cates, Editor-in-Chief

Charleston will host its 31st Annual Red White & Blue Days from June 26 to July 4, featuring many diverse events such as pet parades, community art contributions and a $3 all-you-can-eat ice cream stand.

Betty Coffrin, a member of the event committee, said she is excited about the diverse events and vendors during the celebration.

“It’s just really nice to have a cross selection of the community,” Coffrin said. 

Harold Hackett Memorial Bingo will take place on Sunday, June 26, from 2-5 p.m. at the Charleston Veterans of Foreign Wars Banquet Room.

Each card is 25 cents per game with cash and other prizes available.

In years past the event was at Morton Park, but was moved to an air-conditioned facility.

The funds made from games benefit the celebration fees.

On Thursday, June 30, the Charleston Community Band will perform in the Patriotic Band Concert at the Kiwanis Park Daum Amphitheater at 7:30 p.m.

The Second Annual Red White & Blue Day Car and Bike Show will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Registration will start at 9 a.m. and end at 10:30 p.m. with $15 per car and $10 per bike.

Judging starts at 11 a.m. and the awards will be announced at 1 p.m.

On Sunday, July 3, Morton Park will host the beginning of the Fourth festivities.

At 3 p.m. games, vendors, inflatables and the $3 all-you-can-eat ice cream stand will open.

In line with the Morton Park regulations, only non-profit vendors are allowed; several of these include the Knights of Columbus, the Masonic Lodge, 9 Muses, the Charleston Rotary Club, the American Legion and more.

Going into the evening, a free cover band concert will start at 6:30 with Rick K & The Roadtrip opening for Bruce in the USA performing a Bruce Springsteen Tribute.

The opening act will consist of high-energy rock and roll from the 1960s to today. The band will play music from groups like the Rolling Stones, Prince, Bruno Mars, Motown, KC & The Sunshine Band and more.

Before Bruce in the USA takes stage, the Farmer of the Year award will be announced.

The main act will perform music from bands like Queen, Meatloaf, Blue Oyster Cult, Slash and more.

On Monday, July 4, festivities start at 6:30 a.m. with the Habitat for Humanity 4-mile run and walk.

Registration starts at 6:30 a.m., with the race kicking off at 7:30 a.m.

The entry fee is $20 if it is received by Sunday, June 19, and $25 if after the date.

All proceeds go to Coles County Habitat for Humanity for building homes.

From 7-11 a.m the American Legion will host its Pancake and Sausage Breakfast at the American Legion Post 93.

At 9 a.m. the Coles County Arts Council will host a Chalk-In event where artists of all ages are invited to decorate the streets of Pierce and Division with chalk.

Prizes will be awarded to different categories based on age: six years and younger, seven to 10 years, 11-14 years, 14-18 years and 18 and up. There is a group category for those wanting to work with friends or family. The “Most Patriotic” award can be presented to anyone no matter the category.

Following the chalk art, a pet parade will take place at 9:30 a.m. at Morton Park in the westside gazebo near Division Street.

All dogs should be on a non-flexi leash and other animals must be in appropriate carriers.

All youth participants must be accompanied by an adult.

Pet owners are responsible for their pet’s behavior and are required to clean up after them. Female pets in season are not allowed.

Contestants will be judged by Charleston Police K9 Officers with prizes for all participants. Costumes are encouraged but not required.

Vendors, games and activities will open at 10 a.m. and close at 4 p.m.

The Fourth of July Parade begins at 1 p.m. at the Charleston Square, then will head south on 6th Street to Polk Ave., then west to Division, then south towards Morton Park.

Following the parade at 2:15, the local VFW color guard will present a traditional 21-gun salute, and a to-be-determined guest will ring the liberty bell.

Closing out the celebration, at dusk at the Coles County Airport the free firework show will take place. 

Gates will open at 4 p.m. and a shuttle service is available. Shuttles from Mattoon Cross Country Club Mall and Charleston O’Brien Stadium will begin transit at 5 p.m. If you are driving, you will enter where you exit.

Rob Le Cates is a sophomore journalism major. He can be reached at 217-581-2812 or at [email protected]