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Fourth events see big crowds

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CAR SHOW: The July 4th Celebration at TPA Park also included several participants in the annual Fourth of July Car Show to benefit COACH Kids.
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DARLINGTON ROAD: John Darlington of Crawfordsville's Darlington Road provided musical entertainment during Thursday's July 4th Celebration at TPA Park.
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LIGHTING IT UP: Fireworks lit up the sky from the July 4th Celebration at TPA Park on Thursday, with organizers noting festivities around Frankfort drawing big crowds.

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

Frankfort celebrated the nation's birthday with few problems and large crowds reported at TPA Park for the annual fireworks show on the Fourth of July.

“We had an excellent crowd,” Frankfort Director of Parks and Recreation Travis Sheets said. “We don't have a particular number, but it was comparable to recent years.”

He noted that an average crowd generally runs between 7,000 and 10,000 and he would put this year's crowd in that range “and that's just a good estimate.

“They are all spread out through TPA Park, the golf course and Wesley Manor,” Sheets said, making a more precise accounting difficult.

“The vendors that we had said they did very well and even the food vendors did well and ran out of food in some cases,” he added.

Sheets noted no significant problems near the park with any revelers becoming two rowdy.

“It was one of the smoothest Fourth of Julys I can remember,” he said. “I know there were two or three incidents, but nothing major at all."

Frankfort Police Chief Troy Bacon reiterated those statements.

"I would call this Fourth of July a success," he said. "There was nothing out of the ordinary when you put that many people in a small location. Everything went smoothly.

"I think we had a couple of arrests, but again nothing out of the ordinary. Kudos to everybody that helped make it a success." 

Sheets praised the work of several city departments for working well together to pull off a fairly seamless event.

“The park staff worked extremely hard to keep the park presentable to those who came,” Sheets said.

He also thanked the police and street departments for their efforts in making the Fourth go so smoothly.

“I just really appreciate the city departments working together like they do,” Sheets said.

Thursday provided perfect weather that likely helped events around the area see big crowds.

“I was watching the forecast (on Wednesday night) and was very happy when I woke up in the morning and saw sunshine,” Harvard Terrace Fourth of July Parade organizer Kristen Beardsley said.

“I think this may have been the biggest turnout since I've been involved with it,” she said of the neighborhood bicycle parade started by the late Stacy Baugh about 30 years ago.

Beardsley has organized the parade the last 10 years.

“I would say there were a couple hundred,” she said of participants. “I know we had one unicyclist, that was my uncle.”

The parade included a caravan of bikes, golf carts, kids on 4-wheelers and walkers, with Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes starting the parade before the kids took over.

“We could barely keep them back this year,” Beardsley said. “It's just a fun thing with the different generations that come back (for the event).”