Sunnyside park hosts holiday celebration with live music



People dance to live music on the Fourth of July in 2011 at Sunnyside Park.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

Pullman’s Fourth of July Celebration at Sunnyside Park has been a community tradition for over 40 years.

From the fireworks show, to the old-fashioned barbecued food, to the live entertainment, this celebration is completely funded by the community.

Britnee Packwood, events coordinator for the Pullman Chamber of Commerce, is working on the Fourth of July Celebration for the first time this year. While she’s new to this celebration, she helped put together other annual Pullman events, like the Lentil Festival last year.

“I love this event because I get to meet so many people,” Packwood said. “The community is such a big part of this event, and that’s what’s so fun for me.”

Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson, who has been a chairman for the event for the past 20 years, said he also loves to meet new people and reunite with old friends who left Pullman years ago.

“So many people come back for family reunions around the Fourth and for the celebration,” Johnson said. “It’s a really old-fashioned celebration, with patriotic music and folk music and pie a la mode and all the barbecue that people really enjoy. Nobody wants to see it go away.”

The festivity will feature three live entertainment acts. The Community Band of the Palouse will perform first, then Dan Maher will perform his folk set. Until the fireworks show, the Fabulous Kingpins will perform a medley of songs from classic rock to the Black Eyed Peas, Packwood said.

“The younger people always enjoy the live entertainment,” Packwood said. “Some of the kids will go up and dance along with the music just to relax and not have a care in the world.”

Johnson said this is a family friendly event that all ages can enjoy. An area dedicated to the children will include bounce houses and treats.

“There’s a kid’s area with bouncy houses so they can run and jump off the sugar high from the cotton candy,” Packwood said. “It’s one of the only places in the area that the kids can get cotton candy, so it’s a really special treat for some of them.”

College students still in town can see a different side of Pullman, as well as learn some valuable lessons while having a great time, Johnson said.

“I think this is really great for the college students so they can see the importance and impact volunteering can have,” Johnson said.

Several park and ride options are made available as to accommodate for lack of parking at the event’s location.

“For Pullman this is a really good tradition because it celebrates the community and brings so many different parts of it together,” Packwood said. “Working together to make everything about Pullman great instills values in the young and reaffirms them in the old.”

The Pullman Fourth of July Celebration starts at 5 p.m. at Sunnyside Park. The synchronized fireworks show will start at around 10 p.m. to the tunes of radio station 104.3 FM, so audiences can listen from home.