OAKBORO — Now a few years removed from a brief hiatus, the 64th annual Oakboro Fourth of July Celebration returned over the past week for its second-consecutive set of festivities that was as attended and elaborate as it’s ever been.
The full slate of parade, rides, pageants, a talent show, live bands, and fireworks ran from June 29 to the end of July 4.
“This celebration puts us on the map — we have people who come from multiple counties away,” said Shea Morton, the assistant fire chief and chairman of the Fourth of July Celebration Committee for the Oakboro Fire Department. “There’s even a lady from Florida who came across us about 12 years ago, and now she makes the drive every year.”
Morton told SCJ that the fire department is always expecting — and hoping — for a big turnout to come celebrate the holiday in a welcoming, small-town environment. He 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.
The week’s lineup of events officially kicked off on June 29 with the Little Miss 4th of July Pageant and the opening of the rides provided by the B&K Carnival Company; 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 Jim Quick & Coastline, The Embers, The Entertainers, The Tams, and festival headliner The Tonez.
The annual Oakboro Fourth of July parade was followed by patriotic ceremonies, a speech by Oakboro Mayor Joyce Little, and the Miss Stanly County Fire Queen Pageant. Kindal Helms, representing the Richfield-Misenheimer Fire Department, was crowned in this year’s pageant.
At the parade, Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle BJ Hill — an Oakboro native as well as a former West Stanly Colt — served as the Grand Marshall of the celebration.
The Oakboro festivities will return again next summer for their 65th incarnation as July 4 lands on a Tuesday.