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Your guide to Newark's Independence Day festival, fireworks display

Bands will play, vendors will serve up a variety of food, and fireworks will light up the night sky Thursday as the Newark Parks and Recreation Department holds its annual Independence Day celebration.

Known officially as Liberty Day, the free event will be held, as usual, starting at 6 p.m. July 4, at the University of Delaware athletic complex.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to be in one location with your family and enjoy the evening in a safe area,” Recreation Superintendent Paula Ennis said. “You don’t have to travel far to see fireworks. They’re right here.”

The Mason-Dixon Band will kick off the celebration with country songs at 6 p.m., followed by a performance by rock band Club Phred, a local favorite making its 10th Liberty Day appearance, at 7:45 p.m.

There will also be children’s games and food vendors set up throughout the event.

“We’ll definitely have some of the old standbys. The fries, the ice cream, the stuff everybody likes will be back,” Ennis said.

The fireworks will begin around 9:30 p.m. Many attendees set up chairs and blankets on the lawn in front of Delaware Stadium for the optimal view of the fireworks, which will appear over the UD Field House, but anywhere in the lots surrounding the stadium will provide a good view.

However, Ennis advised those hoping for a spot on the lawn to arrive earlier than usual because space will be limited this year.

Delaware Stadium and the surrounding area is undergoing construction – which includes renovations to the seating area and the addition of an athletic performance center in front of the stadium – and the work is blocking part of the lawn.

The parking lot in front of the field house also will be closed due to sewer work.

That said, plenty of free parking is still available in UD lots surrounding the stadium and Bob Carpenter Center, as well as at the STAR Campus and UD’s Woods Lot, which is accessible from East Chestnut Hill Road.

However, make sure not to pull over or park on the shoulders or median of East Chestnut Hill Road. Police will be blocking those areas, and tow trucks will be on call to remove any cars that violate the restrictions. Police began that enforcement four years ago, after years of motorists crowding the road and creating an unsafe situation.

Newark’s fireworks display draws spectators from around the tri-state area. Officials say the event itself usually attracts about 20,000 people, with another 20,000 watching from nearby streets, parking lots and other areas.

If rain forces the event to be postponed, the fireworks, music and entertainment will be rescheduled for Friday, July 5, at the same times. For weather-related updates, call the Leisure Time Hotline at 302-366-7147.

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