Gahanna's parks and recreation department will host its annual Freedom Festival on July 4.

Gahanna's parks and recreation department will host its annual Freedom Festival on July 4.

This festival will start with the Lions Club parade at 10:30 a.m. This year's theme is "In God We Trust," with several Gahanna ministers serving as grand marshals, Lions Club's Bob Burris said. "I will be riding in a convertible with a retired minister."

The parade will feature the herb queen, politicians, new businesses from the Creekside development, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and firefighters.

Burris said he sent parade applications to 120 potential parade participants.

The parade will start at Gahanna Lincoln High School and end at the Royal Plaza shopping center at Agler and Stygler roads.

The Freedom Festival begins at 5:30 p.m. with the band, Flash Back. From 8 to 10 p.m. hip-hop group Lt. Dan's New Legs will perform. Juggler Matt Jergens will entertain the crowd between musical acts.

As in previous years, a children's activity area with inflatable games and a dunking booth will be set up. In addition, more food vendors will be set up this year, with funnel cakes, hot dogs, pizza and ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery.

For the first time in three years, Gahanna Events will not participate.

Until last year, Gahanna Events handled the administrative aspects of the event and the city was responsible for coordinating activities and fireworks.

Last year, Gahanna Events was responsible for handing event sponsors and the city took over organizational duties.

"We tried to do something a little bit different," recreation supervisor Mike Musser said.

Musser said with the parks department organizing the event, corporate sponsorship wasn't a factor, so the parks department could offer more food options for residents.

The fireworks will start at about 10 p.m.

"The show should be a little bigger this year than the past," he said.