In her second year as Lexington's Fourth of July Festival Committee chairwoman, Donna Moloney wanted to do things a little differently.
"I'm an Army brat, so when I was thinking about the theme for this year's festival I thought, 'Let's celebrate veterans and celebrate the freedoms that we share,'" Moloney said. "'Let's honor the current and former soldiers, police officers, first responders and anybody who really goes out of their way to make our lives so much more comfortable.'"
The theme she decided on is "Celebrating Heroes." Moloney said many Lexington traditions for this year's Fourth of July celebration will stay the same, such as the reading of the Declaration of Independence at 11 a.m. Friday near Fifth Third Bank on West Main Street.
But people heading to this year's festival will notice some changes, many caused by construction in various spots downtown.
Due to construction at the CentrePointe block, activities that were previously held on the grass there will now be spread throughout the downtown area.
■ A new entertainment stage has been added in the parking lot at Short Street and North Limestone, where performers will play from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday.
■ Food trucks, concession vendors and nonprofit booths will be set up along Short Street between Limestone and Mill. Concessions will also be available at the Fifth Third Bank Pavilion.
■ Refreshment stands will be available throughout the festival.
■ Pony rides have been moved from the CentrePointe block to the corner of Short and North Limestone.
■ There will be no vendors in the upper plaza of the courthouse, so people will have a place to sit, eat and relax during the festival.
The parade route will remain the same, though people will not be permitted to stand along streets where there is construction.
The city's Helix Parking Garage will be open for parking. But construction on the garage façade will partially block the view of the street, making it a less desirable place from which to watch the parade.
The festival's music also will be a bit different this year. In accordance with the festival's theme, the 202nd Army Band of the Kentucky National Guard will be performing at the Patriotic Music Concert on Thursday at Transylvania University. The band will also be leading the parade Friday afternoon. The patriotic concert had long been performed by the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra.
Former Miss America and current commissioner of Kentucky's Department of Veterans Affairs, Heather French Henry, will be co-hosting the Patriotic Music Concert.
With an ideal weather forecast of sunshine and temperatures in the high 70s, Moloney said she does not expect downtown construction to hinder the events.
"I'm positive it's going to be one of the largest patriotic festivals we've ever had," she said.