The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Coralville 4thFest returns with timeless fun

The annual July Fourth celebration will return with plenty of free fun.
Cody Blissett
Fireworks explode over a carnival ride during the annual 4thFest in Coralville on Tuesday, July 4, 2023.

With a free concert, carnival, and fireworks show, Coralville’s Fourth of July celebration — 4thFest — is back with more timeless fun this year.

The two-day celebration will kick off in S.T. Morrison Park on Wednesday, July 3, and end on Thursday, July 4, with a fireworks show after dark.

The festival began in the 1980s as a small parade among friends and families in a Coralville neighborhood, 4thFest Organizer Paula Bakey said. Now, the festival has grown to boast the largest Fourth of July parade in the area with roughly 120 floats in this year’s event.

“The number of families that have moved away — they come back, and they purposely plan their family reunions over the Fourth, and they take [the festival] all in,” Bakey said. “It’s just so enjoyable.”

Lynn Snyder, who co-chairs the 4thFest planning committee with Bakey, said she’s glad to see so many people enjoy the festivities year after year in a great community.

The festival has a variety of activities for families and other attendees to enjoy. A free petting zoo and a Kids’ Pedal Tractor Pull are the most recent additions to the lineup, Bakey said.

The Kids’ Pedal Tractor Pull will be on July 4 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Registration and weigh-in are required. Registration is located in S.T. Morrison Park from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. on July 4. Kids must weigh 80 pounds or less, and there will be awards in eight weight classes.

4thFest also hosts the biggest Fourth of July parade in the Iowa Corridor. This year, Herky the Hawk will be the Parade Marshal along with Coralville City Attorney Don Diehl as the festival’s Grand Marshal.

The festival includes a free concert on Wednesday with Solon rock band Trophy Dads opening for Yacht Rock Revue. The Trophy Dads’ set begins at 6:30 p.m., and Yacht Rock Revue will start at 8:30 p.m.

Attendees can find a variety of food and non-food vendors around S.T. Morrison Park during the festival. Food vendors will be open from noon to 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the festival’s schedule. Non-food vendors are open from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.

Sharon Sauer, the owner of Sno Biz of Iowa City that serves “Real Shave Ice Made Right,” has sold shaved ice at the 4thFest for about 16 years of her 20 years in business.

Sauer said she goes back because of the number of people who attend the mostly free event. Sauer said the event is family-oriented and allows her to connect with a much different market than those in downtown Iowa City.

“With this economy, any time I can get in front of that sheer number of people at a free event, I’m going to be there,” Sauer said.

Also on July 4 at the Showcase Stage, attendees can enjoy performances by the Young Footliters and City Circle Theatre at 7 p.m. and the Iowa City Community Band at 8:30 p.m.

The Corridor Kiwanis Club will host a pancake breakfast at the Coralville Recreation Center from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on July 4. Tickets are $8 at the door, $5 for children five through 10, and children under five eat free.

The American Legion is hosting Bingo at the Hilltop Shelter in S.T. Morrison park from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on July 4.

The Festival will finish with a fireworks show at 9:45 p.m. on Thursday, July 4, well after dark to ensure maximum visibility, Bakey said.

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About the Contributors
Liam Halawith
Liam Halawith, Politics Editor
Liam Halawith is a third-year student at the University of Iowa studying Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Public Policy. Before his role as Politics Editor Liam was a politics reporter for the DI. Outside of the DI Liam has interned at the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Southeast Iowa Union. This is his second year working for the DI.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.