Changes coming to Orange Park 4th of July event

Rotary Club won't host celebration after $5 fee implemented


ORANGE PARK, Fla. – The annual American Pie Fourth of July celebration is still on for this year, just without the Rotary Club of Orange Park.

The Rotary Club backed out of hosting the event because a $5 charge for teen and adult admission is being implemented by Moosehaven Retirement Community at its Orange Park campus, and the club does not want to charge people.

"I think the concern is exaggerated, to be honest with you," Moosehaven Executive Director John Capes said. "You go down to the fair, the Clay County Fair and they had a great year, and people pay considerably more than what they'll pay here."

The reason for the charge is that this year there will be a live concert from big name country artist Jerrod Niemann.

"We've never stepped out like this, and we think this is a great addition for those people who want to see a platinum recording artist for a very nominal fee," Capes said.

Capes said those who don't want to pay can still enjoy other parts of the celebration, including the fireworks after the concert at 9:15 p.m.

"It's free from 11 (a.m.) to 3 (p.m.), no charge," Capes said. "From 3 (p.m.) until the concert is over there will be a $5 charge for anyone 13 and over."

Other changes to this year's event include a different name. It's changing to American Pride Fourth of July. There will also be free shuttle services for those who may park a distance away from the event.

"It's becoming more of a family picnic, people bring in blankets and spread them out on the ground, and the kids run around and there's a kids play area there this year," Capes said.

Until now, admission has been free. The Rotary Club has put on the party since 2000, except for 2010. Moosehaven has a new partner this year -- a country music station.

The Rotary Club has not yet commented on the changes.