While Harker Heights will host no official Fourth of July celebrations this year, three Heights city officials plan to ride in the parade portion of Belton’s 89th Annual 4th of July Celebration at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Mayor Mike Aycock and Councilmen Hal Schiffman and Pat Christ will ride in separate trucks donated by Temple’s Don Ringler Chevrolet/Toyota, said Heather Cox, Heights activities coordinator.

Expected to draw 30,000 people, the two-hour parade will feature more than 140 entries, including a giant roller skate, a biodiesel RV and a drivable port-o-potty, dubbed the “Crapper Car,” said Mark Arrazola, Belton Chamber of Commerce programs director.

The three-mile parade will start at the main entrance of University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and end at the corner of Central Avenue and Birdwell Street.

A 9 a.m. patriotic program will precede the parade, and the Festival on Nolan Creek at Yettie Polk Park will immediately follow at about noon, lasting until about 7 p.m. Arrazola said the festival will host food vendors, arts and crafts vendors, family games and a fiddlers contest.

Arrazola said Belton traces its Fourth of July parade roots back to the 1850s, while it has been an annual event since 1919.

“It’s steeped in tradition,” Arrazola said. “We hope that everyone comes out to experience it firsthand. You can explain it all day long, but you’ve got to be there to really get the feel of it.”

Cox said she and two Parks and Recreation Department light crew operators – Chest Gill and Norris Locket – will drive Aycock, Schiffman and Christ. Cox encouraged Heights residents to celebrate Independence Day in Belton.

“It’s really spectacular,” Cox said. “If it’s two hours long, it’s going to be amazing.”

Contact Brian Bradley at bbradley@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7567

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