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Sunnyside annual Fourth of July celebration spread over two days

Sunnyside's annual Welcome Back to the Country Fourth of July celebration will be held over the course of two days this year. The weekend festivities will include the annual soapbox derby, concluding with the biggest fireworks display in Sunnyside history.

New to this year's event will be a "Swim for the Fun of It" community relay meet, to be held Saturday, July 2. The swim meet is open to adults, as well as children and teenagers and will be held at the Sunnyside municipal pool Saturday, July 2, beginning at 9 a.m.

The community swim meet will included relays races with costumes, water balloons and even a kayak relay, according to Carolyn Knee of the Sunnyside Rotary Swim Team, the host for the event.

In addition to the novelty relays, a variety of traditional relay events will be held for youth, teens and adults. Cost per team is $6.

"We have scheduled 21 events," Knee said.

Entry deadline is June 30, at 5 p.m. To register call Knee at 837-5339.

One of the highlights of the weekend will be the annual Lower Valley Mayor's Challenge Race held in conjunction with the Sunnyside Parks and Recreation's seventh annual soapbox derby.

The derby's opening ceremonies are scheduled to begin at noon on July 2. Soapbox racers and drivers are to check-in at 10 a.m. with races to begin at 1 p.m.

In addition to the swim meet and the soapbox derby races on Saturday, a variety of food will be on sale at Central Park, courtesy of the SunnyView VFW Post and Ladies Auxiliary. The Rotary snack shack will be selling candy and sno-cones.

A number of community churches are planning special Sunday events in honor of the Fourth of July, including the Sunnyside First Baptist Church, which will celebrate with a Sunday worship on the lawn at the home of Charlie and Cindy Hoctor.

Monday, July 4, the community is invited to gather at Clem Senn Football Stadium for the Lions Club Fourth of July fireworks display.

Thanks to the generous support of the community, including that of the Sunnyside City Council and the Chamber of Commerce, the community will be treated to a 40-minute fireworks display under the direction of Eagle Fireworks of Kent.

"Our plan is to begin the fireworks as close to 10 p.m. as possible, but we may start a few minutes earlier," said Linn McBride, Lions Club president. Families are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and snacks inside the stadium to enjoy the show up close. Prior to the fireworks display, the SunnyView VFW Post and Veterans Color Guard will hold a brief ceremony honoring the American military personnel currently serving overseas.

In addition, Past Washington Department VFW Commander Gary Hulsey will be keynote speaker, according to Bill Ingram, SunnyView Post Commander.

"We invite the community to come inside the stadium to enjoy the fireworks display up close and personal," he said.

There is no charge to attend the fireworks display.

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