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After a two-year absence from its usual location, the parade returns, joins Kiwanis breakfast and Old Fashioned Celebration in the park

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The annual fireworks show, which starts at 10 p.m., caps off a long day of events celebrating the Fourth of July in Prineville.

Independence Day has become a daylong celebration and now that most pandemic restrictions have passed, the community can once again enjoy the full traditional slate.

The festivities kick off bright and early at 7 a.m. with the Kiwanis Pancake and Sausage Breakfast. The event will take place at the Prineville City Hall Plaza through 10 a.m., with meals provided while the food lasts. Coffee and juice will be provided as well. There is no cost, although donations will be accepted.

"We are doing this to say thank you to the community for helping us support the children and youth in Crook County," said Kiwanis Past President and Events Chair Ray Austin. "This year, our club awarded $15,000 to five high school seniors for scholarships!"

An hour after the breakfast starts, the next Independence Day mainstay will get going in Ochoco Creek Park. The Splash-n-Dash is a community athletic event and fundraiser for the Crook County track and field program that is comprised of teams of four-, three- or two-person teams. Each does one leg of the race, or one person can compete in all four stages. The legs consist of a swim in the Prineville swimming pool, a bike ride through the south side of town, a boat race (canoe or kayak) down the Crooked River to the Crook County Library and a run through town that ends at the finish line in Ochoco Creek Park.

The team categories include business, family, high school, female, male or co-ed. Individuals can compete in the entire race if they wish.

"There is a race for everyone from the Splash n Dash to the Triathlon, Duathlon, and again this year to honor John with John marsh 5K run," said event organizer and Crook County High School Track and Field Head Coach Ernie Brooks. "This year we have added a TRY a TRI division for those just wanting to get a little taste."

On-site registration opens at 7:15 a.m., and wave one of swimming leg starts at 8 a.m. The John Marsh Memorial 5K starts at 9 a.m., and the event wraps up at 12 p.m. with awards.

Later in the morning, at 10 a.m., people are encouraged to gather on East Fourth Street to watch the Happy 4th of July Parade. The parade will travel down Fourth Street from Deer Street to Elm Street and will feature several groups that have applied, including High Desert Dance Arts, Crook County Little League, Crook County Rodders, Prineville Music Theater Club, Dairy Queen, the Prineville Eagles, Crook County Fire and Rescue and Band of Brothers Honor Guard and parade float with riders.

Billed by the Prineville Band of Brothers as the 2022 "Back to Normal" Independence Day parade, it will mark a return to the annual event taking place in person and at its traditional location.

"After being locked down, we at the Band of Brothers have tried to keep the spirit of America alive by having a drive-around parade for the past two years," said Nancy Eck, the Band of Brothers' activities director. "It was met with a fantastic response as we drove around many of the neighborhoods in town, but it just isn't the same as a good old-fashioned parade. We have all been stuck in our homes and in our own little worlds so long that I feel we need to get out and be with people again, stand in the sun and feel like a whole community. Prineville is a wonderful, wholesome town we all want to have fun and celebrate that we live in the greatest country in the world and do that by being together with friends while we celebrate our independence once again."

As the parade concludes, people can wander over to Ochoco Creek Park to visit the Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration, presented annually by the Crook County Parks and Recreation District. The event, located in the portion of the park east of Elm Street, will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"We will have local food vendors, craft vendors and all kinds of activities for the kids," said Andrea Weaver, the parks district's recreation coordinator. "It should be fun for the whole family."

The event not only provides an immediate source of entertainment at the conclusion of the parade, it will give visitors a view of Splash-n-Dash finishers and the awards ceremony for the competition.

"We kind of wanted everything to be in Ochoco Creek Park together," Weaver said.

And no Independence Day slate of community event would be complete without a fireworks show. The fireworks will once again be launched from the Ochoco viewpoint at 10 p.m. The show will be provided by Republic Services and Septic Pros and sponsored in part by Crook County, Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce, City of Prineville and Crook County Parks and Recreation District.

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