Children compete in the annual watermelon-eating contest at the 2013 Moab Chamber of Commerce Fourth of July celebration at Swanny City Park. [File photo]

Everyone waits expectantly, looking down the street, craning their necks to see if anything is happening yet. Beads of perspiration start to roll down faces, mixing with sunscreen. There is a commotion at the end of the street. Fire trucks round the corner and everyone cheers. The firefighters release a spray of cool mist into the crowd as they pass.

The Fourth of July parade has begun.

More automobiles follow, decorated in red, white and blue. Sports teams and dance teams wave to all the spectators as they walk by, kids on bikes and scooters decorated with streamers show off their tricks.

“The parade is open for everyone to participate, it is to celebrate the beginning of our country, and everyone is encouraged to participate, or just enjoy the spectacle,” parade coordinator Jim Thuesen said. “A true family event.”

Sponsored by the Moab Chamber of Commerce, the parade has been a tradition for over 10 years. The parade starts at 9:30 a.m. at MC’s on the Corner (495 W. 400 North) and will make its way up Main Street. It will feature firefighters, boy scouts, veterans, decorated four-wheelers and other cars, ball teams, dance groups, and more. Thuesen will bring up the rear again in his Uncle Sam outfit. This year, however, he will be riding his bike. In January, Thuesen had a total knee replacement and via physical therapy, has the goal of riding his bike in this year’s parade.

“This is truly a great time for us all to gather and remember the roots of our country and enjoy the camaraderie of our friends and neighbors,” he said.

After the parade, the Moab Chamber of Commerce invites everyone to Swanny City Park for the Celebration in the Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be food and vendors, pie- and watermelon-eating contests, and a dunk tank to support the high school volleyball team. New this year there will be live music. Desert Winds performs at the beginning of the celebration and then Mill Creek Station will provide the entertainment. Also, during this time the Moab Recreation and Aquatic Center is offering free family swim for anyone who wants to cool off.

The fireworks show provided by Grand County, Moab City and the Recreation Special Service District, will go off at about 10 p.m. above the Grand Valley Cemetery on Sand Flats Road. Radio station 97.1 FM KCYN will provide a music program choreographed to the fireworks.

Moab resident Jon McKay has been watching the fireworks for almost 10 years. He says the best views of the show are from the top of his house or on Sand Flats Road near Slickrock.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said. “You get to be close to where they set them off and there’s tons of people there too.”

There will be road closures around the set-off site during the show. The Grand County Sheriff’s Department and the Moab Valley Fire Department will be on stand-by. There is currently a statewide firework restriction that is lifted from July 1 through July 7 and July 21 through July 25 for the Fourth of July and Pioneer Day, said Jason Curry, public information officer of Forestry, Fire and State Land. However, there may be citywide restrictions during those dates that have yet to be determined.

“This is truly a great time for us all to gather and remember the roots of our country and enjoy the camaraderie of our friends and neighbors.”

Fourth of July parade – 9:30 a.m. on Main Street

Celebration in the park – 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. at Swanny City Park

Fourth of July fireworks – 10 p.m. will go off near the Grand Valley Cemetery

Parade, park celebration and fireworks fill the Fourth