Ned Tovey

Terrel “Ned” Tovey

POCATELLO — It won’t cost guests anything for parking or to enter the fairgrounds in Pocatello for the second annual Bannock County Independence Celebration on Thursday, July 4.

Parking and admission fees for a full slate of Independence Day activities at the Bannock County Event Center, which includes both the fairgrounds area and Portneuf Wellness Complex, have been eliminated in 2019, and Bannock County Commissioner Terrel “Ned” Tovey says he expects this year to be the biggest show yet.

“This year we have enough sponsorship that the entire event will be free for both parking and entrance fees,” Tovey said. “We have a great partnership with Bingham Health Care and are looking forward to building off such an awesome show from last year. This show is getting better and better every year and this year we are expecting our best yet.”

July 4 activities at the Portneuf Wellness Complex begin at 1 p.m. with a beach party at the lake and the first annual Classy Car Club car and bike show on the Championship Field on the east side of the complex.

Barrie’s Ski and Sports is expected to provide free paddle-boards and the Idaho State University Outdoor Adventure Club is set to provide free kayaks and paddle-boards for the public to enjoy.

The beach party will feature live music brought to you by KORR 104’s Kelly Martinez and free disc golf from Infinite Discs Idaho.

It’s $15 to register a vehicle in the Classy Car Club car show, which opens at 11 a.m., and the first 50 entries are set to receive a free dash plate. The beach party and car show end at 5 p.m.

Activities at the multi-use soccer fields east of the fairground grandstands, known as the celebration location, also begin at 1 p.m. and will feature dozens of food and beverage vendors and the family fun land, complete with bouncy houses and other family activities.

A disc jockey will provide live music at the soccer fields from 1-5 p.m., Arbon native and rising country music star Brody Fitch is set to play from 5-7 p.m. and Pocatello’s own Happy Havoc, a rock-country fusion group, will close out the live music before the fireworks from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Bingham Health Care’s Tribute to America fireworks show is set to begin at 10 p.m. and will launch from the same location as in previous years.

Tovey says the best location to view the fireworks display is on the multi-use soccer fields just east of the fairground grandstands near the music stage.

“Similar to last year, the fireworks this year will include a close proximity show with various pyrotechnic displays closer to the audience and ground level,” Tovey said. “For the best viewing opportunity, the soccer fields is where you want to be.”

Tovey said he is uncertain of the exact dollar amount of the 2019 fireworks display, but those who attend the second annual Bannock County Independence Celebration can expect a show twice as large as last year’s.

“The show will feature huge artillery shells and different effects for people that are sitting on the field,” said Tovey, adding that during the fireworks display Bingham Health Care will pay tribute to local everyday heroes with special dedications on several large LED screens.

In addition to Bingham Health Care, other sponsors of the 2019 Bannock County Independence Celebration include the Idaho State Journal, KPVI and KZBQ.

New at the Bannock County Fairgrounds and Event Center this year is an asphalt walking path that loops around the parking lots, RV lot, fairground’s playground, soccer fields and Portneuf Wellness Complex, which will make for an easy traverse from one end of the celebration to the other, Tovey said.

No pets are allowed at the event except for credentialed service dogs. Outside alcoholic beverages are prohibited and event staff will check coolers. Shade canopies are approved in designated areas only and must be lowered by 9 p.m.

The annual July 4 Old Town Pocatello Inc. parade begins at 10 a.m. and will follow the same route as in 2018.

Sponsored by Idaho Central Credit Union and Portneuf Medical Center, the parade starts at the Old Town Pavilion and will travel south on Main Street, ending on South First Avenue.

Prizes for floats this year include $150 each and a trophy for best school spirit, most original, best business or commercial and most patriotic. The grand prize winning float will receive $250 and a trophy. Those interested in registering a float or accessing a parade route map can do so online at oldtownpocatello.com.

Reporter Shelbie Harris can be reached at 208-239-3525. Follow him on Twitter: @shelbietharris.