10 p.m. Saturday at Foster Park

At dusk Sunday at the town park

At dusk Sunday at Burlington Park

At dusk Monday at the Howard County fairgrounds.

10:10 p.m. Sunday at Tipton County Fairgrounds.

Almost a decade ago, Peru Mayor James Walker had an idea: The Fourth of July is usually celebrated with ice-cream socials and games, therefore, his community “needed to bring that back to life.”

As a result, a small committee convened to discuss what could be done in the Miami County city to celebrate the nation’s birthday. What transpired from that mayoral committee is now annually celebrated on the Fourth of July.

On Monday, the city hosts its eighth annual Hometown Celebration in Maconaquah Park off Park Drive.

Events begin at 8 a.m. with the Soap Box Derby near Peru High School on Broadway and the “Fire” Cracker 5K run/wall sponsored by the Peru Fire Department and concludes at 10 p.m. with fireworks by Circle City Pyrotechnics in the park.

Sometime between 9:30 and 10 p.m., Tammy Thomas will sing the national anthem.

Beginning at 3 p.m. at the park, there will be games — from sack races to watermelon seed spitting — food and music with DJ Tim Davies, and Spike and The Bulldogs.

Peru Baptist Church will have Bible-oriented games for children, said Pastor Rose Sorenson. And having the games or not, the pastor is “glad we are a part of this.”

“The mayor invited all the churches, and we jumped at this. We are a part of the community, and we look at this as an outreach. We are a small congregation, not many people know we are here. This is good community outreach for us.

“I see people from other cities coming here for this and I see the Hometown Celebration growing bigger each year. This shows what a small town with good hospitality can do.”

In her fourth year, but her first year as its coordinator, Peggy Garber will begin the celebration with 50 youth — aged 4 to 14 — in the Soap Box Derby.

As contestants leave the top of the hill on Broadway headed south, “there will be people lined up cheering for them. This give us something to do in the morning before we get ready for the fireworks.”

“This brings excitement to Peru,” continued Garber, whose 8-year-old daughter, Makayla, is a derby racer. “I know we don’t like to go anywhere during the holidays and there are other families who feel like that. With this excitement, you don’t have to leave town. You can stay here and have a very, good time.”

From a mere idea almost a decade ago until now, the committee’s plan of action is now celebrated annually in their hometown.

“This isn’t just about me,” Walker said. “There have been many people who have worked hard at this. I’ve always felt the community needs to celebrate July Fourth. We now have a full day of fun. People can come and enjoy the community and celebrate the nation’s birthday.”

The Haynes Apperson Festival kicks off with the commemorative run on Thursday evening, where old-time cars will parade from Boulevard to downtown Kokomo.

Waiting for them will be a host of food vendors, carnival games and more midway rides than the festival has ever seen, said Wyman.

Here Come the Mummies will perform its mummified funk set at 8 p.m., with a warm-up from local band InsideOut.

Friday will heat up with a repeat performance from LoCash Cowboys, the countrified group featuring Kokomo’s own Preston Brust, at 9 p.m.

Opening for the Cowboys will be Paul Stout at 7:30 p.m. and Jessie Brown at 6 p.m.

And Saturday will feature all the favorites fans have come to expect about the festival — such as the 4-mile run at 8 a.m. at Memorial Gym and the mush-loved parade through downtown Kokomo at 2 p.m. — but it will also feature events the fest hasn’t seen in a few years, such as the strongman contest at 5 p.m. Saturday in downtown Kokomo.

Saturday night will feature music from Joe Cameron Band at 6:30 p.m., headliners Boyz II Men at 8:15 p.m. and wrap up with fireworks at 10 p.m. in Foster Park.

VIP tickets are limited and cost $20 for Thursday and Friday, and $30 for Saturday. You may purchase VIP tickets at The Wyman Group, Palmer’s Jewelry and Granson Jewelers.

The best place to view Saturday’s fireworks is near the pavilion in Foster Park.

Schedule of Events:

Haynes Memorial Run – Kickoff Procession June 30, 2011 4 PM – 5 PM Haynes Monument at Goyer & Boulevard Tim Rivers (765) 271-6554 FREE
Thursday Night Cruise In June 30, 2011 6 PM – 9 PM Donwntown on the square Tim Rivers (765) 271-6554 FREE
Friday Night Cruise In July 1, 2011 6 PM – 9 PM Donwntown on the square Tim Rivers (765) 271-6554 FREE
Car Show July 2, 2011 11 AM – 7 PM Donwntown on the square Tim Rivers (765) 271-6554 $10 Registration Fee
Parade July 2, 2011 2:00 PM Parade Route FREE
Fireworks July 2, 2011 10:00 PM Downtown Kokomo FREE



Thursday, June 30th @ 6:00PM

InsideOut was formed in the summer of 2010. The band was initially formed as a one off group for a festival that ended up not happening. In the band’s infancy there were eight members. Melinda Smith fronts the group with her amazing vocal abilities. Brian Pavey lends backing vocals on most songs and sings lead…
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Here come the Mummies

Thursday, June 30th @ 8:00PM

Over 5000 years ago, from the dry stretches of the not-so-fertile crescent, wandered a well-endowed, if foul smelling tribe, Expleticus Deleticus. They played upon musical instruments that, although crude, were nevertheless vessels of seeming infinite funkiness. Unearthed hieroglyphs (some thought to be the fi…
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Jessie Brown

Friday, July 1st @ 6:00PM

Jessie Brown, country artist from the heartland of Indiana, is taking the country music industry by storm. Her breathtaking voice captivates anyone who is in range of her music. This 27-year-old carries a melody like it’s nobody’s business, and she is determined to share it with the world.

From a young age, Je…
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Paul Stout Country

Friday, July 1st @ 7:30PM

PAUL STOUT COUNTRY performs modern upbeat country, classic country, classic rock, and original music, this band has over 80 years of combined live performance experience, and these guys’ soul goal, is to share the moment with the fans and deliver a fun, and entertaining show!
Paul has had the honor of opening fo…
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LoCash Cowboys

Friday, July 1st @ 9:00PM

It was April of 2008, and the LoCash Cowboys were doing what they do best–rocking a packed house. They were at Nashville’s Wildhorse Saloon, where the two of them–Preston Brust and Chris Lucas–had met a few years earlier. The amped-up crowd was living, screaming proof that they had put the time since then to g…
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Joe Cameron Band

Saturday, July 2nd @ 6:30PM

The first unsigned recording artist to perform live on the Ellen Degeneres Show, Joe’s songs have been heard on NBC, CBS, HBO, MTV, VH1, CW, WGN, TLC, the Style Network, and on European TV.

Joe collaborated with producers Chris Sernel (Cee Lo Green) and Bill Bell (Jason Mraz) on his new music and is current…
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Boyz II Men

Saturday, July 2nd @ 8:15PM

Working once again with Motown producer Randy Jackson, Boyz II Men (Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris, Shawn Stockman) bring their distinctive individual voices and peerless harmonies to bear on songs made famous by Bonnie Raitt, The Manhattans, Journey, The Spinners, Sam Cooke, the Beatles, and Cyndi Lauper. Boyz II…
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