Fourth of July events slated for area

Independence Day celebrations are being planned in upcoming days throughout Cherokee County, as residents celebrate that fateful July 4 when Colonial leaders approved and published the country's “Declaration of Independence” in 1776.

Groups in Jacksonville will mark the holiday with events on Thursdays at Love's Lookout and at Lake Jacksonville.

The Cherokee County Republican Club will host its free, annual Independence Day picnic, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the pavilion at Love's Lookout. Free brisket will be provided, with guests invited to bring a side dish and lawn chairs for extra seating. This year's event honors the Lone Star Military Resource Group/Farmers, with guest speaker Julianne Sanford sharing information about the group. For information, contact Josie Schoolcraft, 903-586-7555, or email josie930@hotmail.com.

The Lake Jacksonville Association will sponsor its annual flotilla around the lake at 10 a.m., starting near the west end of the dam on Thursday; the flotilla features decorated watercraft. Later that evening, the Association's traditional fireworks show begins at approximately 9:15 p.m. They will be set up at the mouth of Cat Creek, and the display will be visible from the public concession area. Organizers – who accept donations year-round to offset the cost of the show – said the display will begin a little after 9 p.m. To learn more, or to donate, visit www.lakejacksonville.org.

Outside Jacksonville, other Independence Day events include those in:

• Rusk – The Rusk Rotary Club's 12th annual holiday parade begins at 9 a.m. Thursday, and winds around the Cherokee County Courthouse square downtown. It is followed by the Gauge Lankford Memorial Fireman's Competition at 10 a.m. Former County Surveyor Wayne Morgan, also a military veteran, is this year's parade Grand Marshal.

• Cowboy Churches of Cherokee County will host an evening of festivities at Branded By Christ Cowboy Church, starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. Food, fun and fireworks are planned at the church, located at 5592 State Hwy 110 in Rusk.

• The Friends of the Rusk Public Library will host an Independence Day-themed dance on Friday at the Rusk Civic Center 555 Euclid St. Live music will be offered, with tickets at $5 per person. The center opens at 6 p.m.

• Lake Striker Resort, located at 18560 CR 4256 S, in Reklaw, will host an Independence Day Bash on Saturday, from 3 to 10 p.m. Live music, food, vendors and fireworks will be on hand, and the resort's restaurant also will be open. For more information, contact 903-854-2404.