The Fourth of July Jubilee will be held at Crooked River Park this year

Independence Day is just one week away, and local residents can once again count on a full slate of activities to fill the day.

Some of the events will take place at the same location during the same time of the day, while others will feature a new venue or some added attractions for people to enjoy.

The day kicks off bright and early with the Kiwanis Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast. Held from 7 to 10 a.m. in the Prineville City Plaza, visitors are encouraged to purchase a pancake and sausage meal with coffee. Proceeds from the breakfast will help further the work of the local Kiwanis Club.

“Kiwanis works for children in the community,” said Kiwanis board member Karole Stockton, “so it (the breakfast) will go to continue activities for youth.”

Stockton added that the breakfast is meant to kick off the daylong Fourth of July celebration in Prineville.

“It’s just something nice to do for the community – help them start off the day with a full tummy.”

An hour after the breakfast starts, Splash N Dash competitors will gather a few blocks away at the Prineville swimming pool, in anticipation of starting the annual race. The contest, which benefits Crook County track field for grades six through 12, features the traditional swim-bike-kayak-run or the swim-bike-run triathlon. Both races conclude in Ochoco Creek Park.

Following the 8 a.m. start to the Splash N Dash, the City of Prineville Railway will start offering rides on the Mt. Emily Shay steam engine. The locomotive, built in 1923, is one of only a few steam engines left in the world.

Rides board at 9 a.m., at the COP Team Track on Lamonta Road, and will run hourly until 1 p.m. While the railway has traditionally marketed the event in cooperation with the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce, this year the Oregon Historical Society will join the partnership.

The historical society, who owns the locomotive, has recently found a donor that will enable the railway to not only sponsor the Fourth of July event, but care for the engine year-round. In addition, the historical society is working to attract a larger crowd for the train rides.

“They are soliciting via Facebook and their website to try to encourage more people in the (Willamette) Valley to come ride the Shay,” said Railway Operations Manager Matt Wiederholt.

While people wait to board the train, they will have an opportunity to see the latest addition to the railway fleet. Engine 1551, which arrived in Prineville earlier this spring, will be displayed so that interested individuals can check it out.

Toward the end of the morning, people can head to downtown Prineville to enjoy the Fourth of July parade. The parade, hosted by the Band of Brothers, will start at 11 a.m. at the corner of Northwest Fourth and Deer streets and follow Fourth to Ochoco Creek Park. The attraction will include a flat-bed trailer occupied by local World War II veterans. At the park, a short ceremony will be held in honor of Independence Day and the veterans who protect the freedoms gained that day.

By late afternoon, the festivities shift to the southwest side of Prineville. Meadow Lakes Golf Course will once again offer a variety of attractions from an extended happy hour and barbecue patio to putting contests and prize drawings. The event starts at 4 p.m. and lasts until the fireworks start at 10 p.m.

Just down the river, at Crooked River Park off of South Main Street, the 2014 Fourth of July Jubilee will kick off in its new location. Also running from 4 to 10 p.m., the Chamber-hosted event will include opening ceremonies by the Band of Brothers and the Crook County High School NJROTC. Food and craft vendors will be on hand as will a beer garden hosted by Solstice Brewing Company.

Children will have plenty of options to keep them entertained throughout the afternoon and early evening. They can choose from three different bounce houses, one of which features a water slide.

For those with a competitive streak, the Jubilee will feature a watermelon eating contest, pie eating competition, the second annual barbecue burger contest, and some family-friendly races.

Going into the evening, local bands will take the amphitheater stage, including Past County Lines and Countryfied.

After sunset, prior to the start of the fireworks show, people can check out the new hot air balloon night glow.

“The hot air balloons inflate, and stay on the ground,” said Chamber Director Holli Van Wert. “They put the fire to them and they literally look like giant light bulbs. It is an awesome sight to see.”

The new Crooked River Park location was chosen by Chamber board members in order to improve the safety of the event.

“In speaking with some of our partners, which are the emergency services people, they were very excited that there was going to be another organized place that people could go and watch the fireworks,” Van Wert said.

In addition to the safety concerns, Van Wert is hoping the new location will encourage people to show up for the event and stay through the fireworks show. She added that the hot air balloon attraction would not have been possible at the former Ochoco Creek Park location.

“I think it will be a lot of fun,” she said. “I think if people give it a chance, they’ll love it.”

At 10 p.m., local residents throughout the community can direct their gazes toward the Ochoco Viewpoint where a fireworks show will conclude the daylong celebration. The lead sponsor of the display is once again Prineville Disposal, and the City of Prineville, Crook County, and the Crook County Parks and Recreation District are serving as co-sponsors.

Prineville Disposal owner Steve Holliday said a private donation was made to the fireworks display that is expected to increase the show by about 30 percent.

"It will be more intense," he said of the closing attraction. "There will be a noticable difference."

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