July 4 is still a couple of holidays away, but it's not too early to sign up to help with the Champaign County Freedom Celebration or make a donation.
CHAMPAIGN — July 4 is still a couple of holidays away, but it's not too early to sign up to help with the Champaign County Freedom Celebration or make a donation toward the festivities' cost.
Sign-ups are also underway for the 5K race/walk included in the event lineup, says Marie Polk, the Freedom Celebration's general chairwoman.
This year's celebration will feature the run/walk starting at 9:05 a.m., parade starting at 11:05 a.m. and entertainment starting at 7 p.m., followed by fireworks.
For a second year in a row, the parade will be starting two hours earlier than on previous years, organizers said. The evening entertainment and fireworks will be launched from parking lot E14, just west of State Farm Center, and there will be a bounce house and inflatables for the kids, a stage with musical entertainment and food vendors.
"The event 100 percent happens with the help of volunteers and with the help of donations," Polk says.
Volunteers can sign up online at july4th.net to work July 3-5 with jobs such as helping with the parade and the run, selling concessions, directing parking lot traffic and cleaning up afterward. You can even help with the parade as a balloon handler or parade marshal, Polk said.
"They can make it a family affair," she said. "They can come and spend an hour or two with us, or more if they wish."
The same website can be used to sign up for the race/walk, which includes a youth run, and to make a donation.
An event such as this usually runs around $100,000, and both individual donors and corporate sponsors are needed to foot the bill, Polk said.