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Emily Keener, Rutledge to perform July 4 before fireworks

Cary Ashby • Updated Jun 8, 2017 at 1:02 AM

As the legendary TV host Ed Sullivan often said about performances on his series, the July 4 fireworks in Norwalk promises to be “a really big show.”

And that’s what Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan is saying.

“It’s going to be the biggest show we’ve ever had,” he said Wednesday.

In the past, the mayor had raised $18,000 to $20,000 for the fireworks show, but this year the goal is $32,000, which covers the cost of two performers and the fireworks.

“We had some funds saved,” Duncan said. “We had to raise about $8,000 additional. We still have $7,000 to $8,000 to raise. … The money we are raising now is specifically (for the) fireworks.”

For the first time in many years, a live band will perform at the Huron County Fairgrounds — Rutledge from Roanoke, Va. Duncan said “it may have been a long time” since a band played July 4.

“The Rutledge band is sponsored by NOPEC,” the mayor added. “He has one song that’s gone pretty big in Nashville right now – ‘Rub a Little Dirt On It,” now streaming on Spotify.”

Duncan also has contracted with Emily Keener, known for her run on Season 10 of “The Voice,” to be the opening act. The 18-year-old Wakeman singer-songwriter advanced to the top 12 before being eliminated from the NBC competition TV series.

“She will be the warm-up (performer) and she also will do the National Anthem before the fireworks,” Duncan said.

July 4 in Norwalk will include several activities.

The festivities start with the Norwalk Lions parade in the morning.

“My understanding is the Clydesdales will be there,” Duncan said, referring to the famous horses.

The fairground will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Free games for children and adults will be available in addition to food vendors.

“The Small Town Singers will be performing,” Duncan said.

“My understanding is this happened years ago. I’ve been here 23 years and it hadn’t happened since since I’ve been here,” he added, referring to the pre-fireworks festivities. “Obviously with the (city’s) bicentennial, we wanted to bring some of that here.”

Any businesses that want to donate to the fireworks should make their checks payable to the VFW — not city hall — and mail them to Fireworks 2017, P.O. Box 872, Norwalk, Ohio 44857. They also can be dropped off at city hall, 38 Whittlesey Ave. 

“It’s tax-deductible,” Duncan said.

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