DIETERICH — This year’s July 4 celebration in Dieterich will commemorate over 100 years of Independence Day celebrations in the community.

Village President Brad Hardiek said the July 4 festivities draw Dieterich community members, as well as area locals.

“It does bring the community closer. It’s a great opportunity to visit with friends, as well as meet new ones,” Hardiek said. “We also get a lot of people that used to live in the area come back every year just for this event. Of all the annual parades in the county in any given year, this one draws the largest crowd.”

The two-day event will begin Monday, July 3, at 6:30 p.m. in Liberty Memorial Park with a food stand selling barbecue sandwiches, hot dogs, potato chips and beverages. The beer garden will serve drinks from 7 p.m. to midnight while Flight 50 will perform from 8 to 11 p.m.

Independence Day events begin early Tuesday morning with the 11th annual Firecraker 5K run and walk at 7:30 a.m. Participants are guaranteed a T-shirt if they register by June 26, but runners and walkers can still sign up the day of the race at the park pavilion. The race is open to people of all ages and costs $25, and winners of 12 age groups and overall male and female winners will be recognized. Those interested can register online at www.active.com or send in a registration form and payment to the village of Dieterich at P.O. Box 243.

The beer garden opens back up at 7:30 a.m. and runs all day until 11 p.m. Food is also served all day with pork burgers, brats, hot dogs, nachos, pretzels and much more on the menu. A bag lunch is available for $5 inside the Dieterich Civic Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes a pork burger, chips, a cookie and drink.

The festivities feature activities for all ages, too. Hardiek said the small community feeling of the celebration makes the Fourth of July festivities worthwhile.

“(It’s) just the laid back, small-town type celebration. No carnival, just a parade, food, drinks, a few vendors, games to keep the kids — big and small — entertained, some music and fireworks,” Hardiek said.

The celebration will feature bounce houses, a petting zoo, a pedal tractor pull, Power Wheels demolition derby, turtle races, gravity golf and face painting for the kids. Adults can enjoy gravity golf, a bags tournament, bingo and a performance by Thunder Road Tuesday evening. Kids' toys, 125th anniversary cookbooks, 1993 centennial special edition books and tickets for Queen of Hearts and raffles will be available for purchase all day.

The parade will begin Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. with Wrights Furniture owners Cedric and Ruth Wright serving as parade marshals. The parade will feature floats from area businesses and organizations, as well as one for the quasquicentennial celebration that will take place next year.

Twelve youngsters will vie for the titles of little king and queen, and the winners will be announced at 7 p.m. Contestants for little queen are Aliza Brummer, Kynzly Douthit, Josie Fritch, Lydia Fuesting, Bailey Meinhart and Ava Ohnesorge. King candidates are Brody Gerth, Keith Hoelscher, Dylan Huber, Vincent Meinhart, Blake Westendorf and Ryerson Zumbahlen.

Votes via donation for favorite king and queen can be placed at Dieterich Bank, Old Mac’s Drive Thru Convenience Store and Café and Dieterich Mart. A penny equals one vote, and all proceeds go toward the purchase of fireworks for 2018.

All of the events and contests are ran by Dieterich community members, said Village Clerk Brittny Gipson.

"It's volunteer organized and ran by people who just want to see the celebration succeed," Gipson said. "We as community members also fill in shifts (at the celebration)."

The Independence Day celebrations will conclude with a firework display starting at 9:15 p.m. The display will take place July 8 should it be rained out. Proceeds made go to next year's firework show.

Hardiek said the celebration is well known and is an opportunity for community members to socialize and make friends.

“It’s a great way for the village and the organizations that run it … to give everybody a day to relax and enjoy themselves. I think it stays big because it’s a tradition. Everybody knows about the Dieterich Fourth (celebration) and make it a priority to make it every year,” Hardiek said.

Kaitlin Cordes can be reached at 217-347-7151 or kaitlin.cordes@effinghamdailynews.com.

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