MERRIMACK — Local families will have plenty to do this Independence Day, as thousands of people are expected to attend the town’s annual Fourth of July Midway Celebration.
A full slate of events is planned for Thursday, with entertainment for all ages throughout the day.
The Americana mood will actually begin tonight with a free patriotic concert by the Merrimack Concert Association at 7 p.m. at Abbey Griffin Park.
Thursday’s festivities will kick off at 8 a.m. with the Merrimack Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast at the Merrimack High School cafeteria until noon. Breakfast tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and $4 for children under 12, and free for children under four.
“The pancake breakfast is always a huge hit,” said Maureen Mooney, one of the event organizers.
Also at 8 a.m. is the Sparkler 5K Road Race from the Merrimack YMCA. At noon, the Merrimack Rotary Club’s Family Fun Day will begin at the town center, including numerous activities around Mastricola Elementary School.
A chalk art contest for adults and children will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. in the parking lot near O’Gara Drive.
“We are super excited about this year’s event. We are expecting a good crowd,” Mooney said.
One of the featured activities is a dunk tank that will hold local celebrity guests. Taking the seat inside of the dunk tank will be Police Chief Mark Doyle, Capt. Peter Albert, Pastor Ron Moore and elected town and school officials including Chris Ortega, Bill Boyd and others.
On stage will be the Paul Compton Band, Spirit Fiddlers, the Old Time Country Pand, Judy Pancoast, Jerry D. and more.
A square dance competition will also be held, along with a baton twirling exhibition, balloon artist, bounce houses and other kid-friendly activities.
“We go all out for this each year. Merrimack places a lot of emphasis on Independence Day because the last signer of the Declaration of Independence, Matthew Thornton, is buried in a local cemetery,” Mooney said.
At noon, the Fourth of July parade will begin at the Tractor Supply plaza and travel toward Merrimack Town Hall.
The midway will remain open all day following the parade, and will include food vendors, entertainment, crafts and gifts, specialty vendors, live demonstrations and more.
The fireworks celebration will begin at dusk at the Merrimack High School football field. Organizers suggest people park at the high school, Woodbury Street and the CVS parking lot on Daniel Webster Highway.
“We are very prepared for the fireworks. It should be the best display yet,” said Mooney, adding all of the events will be held rain or shine.
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