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Lancaster hosts ‘Celebrate America’ in honor of military service personnel

OW Staff Writer | 8/29/2014, midnight
The city of Lancaster’s fifth Celebrate America on the BLVD, an annual patriotic party and military tribute, will take place ...

The city of Lancaster’s fifth Celebrate America on the BLVD, an annual patriotic party and military tribute, will take place in downtown Lancaster on Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m.

The city’s salute to those who have served and those currently serving our country will feature live musical entertainment, a classic car and motorcycle show, and a wide variety of activities for all ages.

“Celebrate America is symbolic of our city’s appreciation for the many men and women who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice immensely for our freedoms as American citizens,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “We can never do enough to show our gratitude and the pride we feel for these self-sacrificing individuals. What we can do as a community, though, is come out and share a great time in honor of their service and dedication to upholding the American dream.”

The festivities begin with the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West presenting Travis Brass at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center at 3 p.m. The band is from Travis Air Force Base in Northern California and is comprised of two trumpets, a French horn, tuba, and percussion. The ensemble’s patriotic numbers include marches, Jazz, Ragtime, Classical music, and popular music of today. Admission is free but seating is limited, consequently only those with a tickets will be allowed in the stadium. Tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 2 p.m.

Following the Travis Brass performance, the BLVD will come alive at 5 p.m. with the main festivities of Celebrate America. The evening’s entertainment will feature the Swing Dolls, a trio performing the music of the Andrews Sisters and the McGuire Sisters; as well as Big Lucky, who will present innovative arrangements of nostalgic music from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley will also join the festivities–with skilled impersonators taking the audience back to the good old days of these classic performers. Local talent will be on display with dancers from AV Dance Studio 81 showcasing their sock hop era skills at the Western Hotel stage.

At 6 p.m., the BeX Bandstand will host the event’s opening ceremonies, where active and former military personnel will be honored and recognized. A flyover by the Mojo Flight Formation Team will take place during the ceremony.

As an added highlight, a video presentation of all of Lancaster’s Hometown Heroes, who have been honored throughout the past three years, will be projected onto the Lancaster Performing Arts Center tower throughout the event.

Additionally, displays of military aircraft, police and fire vehicles, as well as an All-American classic car and motorcycle show will delight attendees of all ages. Moving “tributes” to Iwo Jima, the Wright Brothers, 9/11, Neal Armstrong, and the Korean War will also make history come to life throughout downtown.

New this year, a Patriotic Pooch Parade debuts at 7:45 p.m. at the BeX Bandstand. Dress up your favorite canine in their best red, white and blue ensemble to join the march down The BLVD.

An ice cream social that will be hosted on the lawn of the revitalized Cedar Center for the Arts is another inaugural feature at this year’s event. If a cool scoop isn’t what you’re craving, be sure to check out the pie eating contest at the BeX Bandstand at 7:15 p.m. Sign-up by 7 p.m. to book your spot in this fun and messy challenge.

Local high schools with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs will join in the celebration by featuring their students’ tech-savvy displays, including robotics, video gaming, and aerospace exhibits. Many of these are interactive activities, allowing attendees to participate in the cutting-edge technology of future scientists.

A star-spangled explosion of fireworks, will close out the night and fill the sky with patriotic sparkle at 8:40 p.m.

For more information, visit: www.cityoflancasterca.org/celebrateamerica.