June 29, 2005 - As the town of Marana gears up for the multitude of games, musical performances and fireworks featured annually at its Independence Day celebration, it can expect the same tradition with a few minor changes to its music and more open space in the sixth annual gala.
Beginning at 6 p.m. July 4 at Ora Mae Harn District Park, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road, the festival will include musical performances by the rock band Forin Policy, the harmonized B-bop group Seville, and Jane Crowe, a blues-based band.
The local twist on this year's music will be seen in the performances of Forin Policy and Seville.
Forin Policy is a band composed of junior high and high school students from Marana. Their music style is rock, however, the style is not too extreme for a family audience, said Ron Smith, Marana Parks and Recreation director.
Seville is a 50s-style group lead by Mel Rivers, a Tucson resident and former singer in the musical group The Drifters.
All the musical performers are deemed crowd pleasers, Tammy Reyes, the event coordinator, said.
Meritage Homes sponsors the event, which last year had a crowd that grew to nearly 14,000 people including Northwest residents, visitors from Tucson and a handful of people from Mesa, Reyes said.
This year, because the Marana Town Hall and police station have recently moved from Lon Adams Road to Civic Center Drive, there will be much more open space for the expected crowd of 12,000 people, she said.
The Marana Chamber of Commerce used to sponsor the event until four years ago, when the town's Parks and Recreation Department took over, moving the event from the Marana Northwest Regional Airport to the park, Reyes said. The grass and trees at the park make it a more comfortable location than the previous venue, Reyes said.
The park contains a number of trees to provide shade for visitors, who are welcome to bring lawn chairs, blankets and food to the event.
The 45 vendors at the event will provide an extensive variety of food and beverages but no alcohol.
Starting at 9 p.m., the 45-minute fireworks show will go off from the farm field across the street while the audience hears a recorded medley of patriotic songs.
The crowd can expect games and activities for adults and children, including a softball tournament, a home run derby, mechanical bull-riding, watermelon-eating contests, pie-eating contests, t-shirt tie dying, pony rides, bubble-blowing contests, carnival games, a face tattoo station, jumping castles, and arts and crafts.