Believe it or not, it is year # 34 for the Firecracker Four Mile Run in Cranford! Started in 1980, this race has become a beloved tradition in the neighborhood. The tradition continues on Thursday, July 4th, at 9:00 AM, beginning in front of Union County College, across from Nomahegan Park.
The race, run (pardon the pun!) by the Cranford Jaycees, is a great way to kick off a full day of celebration, and it is fun for all ages. The race is the major fundraiser for the Cranford Jaycees scholarship fund, which awards scholarships to Cranford residents graduating high school, based on community service and academics. In 2013, the Jaycees awarded more than $25,000 in scholarships to Cranford senior students.
Many of the same amenities that drew the large crowds in the past will also be available this year. Investors Bank will again be the lead race sponsor, and pretty much all of the other top supporters are also returning and will be visible. In addition to the run itself, there will also be music, face painting face painting, and lots of food and snacks to offset the healthy aspect of the running.
And it’s not just a four mile run. There’s so much more to the day!
At 8:00, there will be the canoe races. Registration for this begins at 7:30 at the Cranford Canoe Club on Springfield Avenue, so come early and bring your arm muscles. There are categories for ages 10-13, ages 14-20, ages 21 and older, Ma & Pa, Mother & Child, Father & Child, ages 13-17 Marthon, and ages 18 and older Marathon. Trophies will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each category.
Then it’s time to run! If four miles sounds like too much for you or the kids to handle, there is a one-mile fun run at 8:30 a.m. That will be immediately followed by the Firecracker Run, promptly at 9:00. The race will be timed by Split Second Racing using the race CHIP program, which automatically times each runner. Registration for each race is available at the Jaycee website or at raceforum.com. The Jaycees are also asking for non-perishable food donations for Cranford Family Care, so you can contribute to two worthy causes in one day! Interested runners can still register online at www.Raceforum.com/fire-4 And if you are running, I hope you enjoy your shirt! And look for my name on the back….. I am THRILLED to be a sponsor for this special community event. I just wish I had the get up and go to take part in it!!
Don’t forget the bike decorating contest at Nomahegan Park! Judging starts at 1:30, and trophies are awarded in the categories of ages 4 and under, ages 5-7, and ages 8-10.
Ribbons will also be awarded in the games, beginning at 2:00, at Nomahegan Park. Participants can try out the egg toss, or the parent-child backwards race.
Beginning at 2:00 PM, start stuffing your patriotic American faces! Food vendors will include zeppoles, funnel cakes, BBQ, hot dogs, ice cream, cotton candy, popcorn, drinks . . . . . . can’t you just smell and taste it right now? There will also be games, inflatable bouncers, rides, and even a train, to amuse the little ones.
And, of course, what would the Fourth of July be without fireworks? A fireworks display will be the highlight of Cranford’s Annual Fourth of July Celebration, and will begin at approximately 9:05, or when it is dark enough. If you’ve come out to Nomahegan Park or the surrounding area to enjoy the fireworks before, you’ll know it is not a joke when I say WALK, BIKE, OR CAR POOL!!!!! Parking is at a premium, and even if you are lucky enough to grab a spot, trying to drive out of it when everyone is leaving at the same time is quite the challenge. It’s a small, quaint neighborhood. Walk at least some of the way there, if you can. Besides, that way you get to say hello to all of those neighbors that you pass in a good, holiday mood, and smell all of the BBQ’s going on in their yards.
All activities will go on as planned, rain or shine. The only exception would be the actual fireworks, which have a rain date of July 5th. But, Mother Nature wouldn’t DARE to rain down on our celebration of freedom, now would she?