OAKBORO — In an annual set of festivities that have brought in attendees from all across North Carolina, the Oakboro Fourth of July Celebration returned over the past week with its 65th year of Independence Day events.
The full slate of parade, rides, pageants, talent show, live bands and fireworks ran from June 25 to the end of July 4.
“Today is what living in rural Oakboro/Stanly County is all about,” Oakboro Police Chief T.J. Smith stated in a social media post for the event. “Listening to good music, smelling the different delicious foods, watching our hard-working friends/neighbors win prizes for their babies/wives, and simply saying hi to all of the great people of our community.”
Oakboro Fire & Rescue has hosted the Oakboro celebration ever since 1958.
The Oakboro Fire Department has estimated that on certain occasions in the past, anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 people have traveled to Oakboro to partake in the Independence Day events. Over time, the celebration has become one of Stanly County’s most anticipated yearly traditions.
“It’s a great night in Oakboro!” event planners posted on social media, highlighting attendees that have turned a July 4 trip to Oakboro into an annual tradition. “Some of these smiling faces have been coming out year after year! We love our hometown!”
The week’s lineup of events officially kicked off on June 25 with a community worship service at the Oakboro District Park pavilion, followed by the opening of the rides (provided by the B&K Carnival Company) on June 29; the events concluded on the evening of July 4 with a fireworks show.
Each night featured free live music acts performing on the Union Power Stage, including Too Much Sylvia, Ryan Perry, The Entertainers, Cat5 Band, and festival headliner The Tonez.
The annual Oakboro Fourth of July parade was followed by patriotic ceremonies, a speech by Oakboro Mayor Chris Huneycutt, and the Miss Stanly County Fire Queen Pageant.
“This celebration puts us on the map. We have people who come from multiple counties away,” Shea Morton, the assistant fire chief and chairman of the Fourth of July Celebration Committee for the Oakboro Fire Department told SCJ. “There’s even a lady from Florida who came across us about 12 years ago, and now she makes the drive every year.”
The Oakboro festivities will return again next summer for their 66th incarnation as July 4 lands on a Thursday. Information regarding the annual celebration can be found at www.oakboro4th.com.