MARION, Va. -

The Town of Marion, Va. released the following information about an upcoming holiday block party:

"This year, the Town of Marion is “painting the town” for the 4th of July. The colors? Patriotic, of course! Smyth County’s courthouse town is hosting their inaugural “Red White and Blues” festival in the heart of historic downtown.

“This is an opportunity for the community to come together for the evening,” said Ken Heath, Director of Community and Economic Development for the Town of Marion. “Instead of spending more time in traffic than at a fireworks show, the Town is providing nearly six hours of free entertainment for people of all ages.”

The Town of Marion voted to not continue their traditional fireworks show after increased regulations and difficulty in securing licensed pyrotechnicians for the event. In its place, the Town Council asked Heath and his staff to come up with an alternative. “Nobody enjoys fireworks more than me,” said Heath, “but they just can’t happen this year. And everybody wanted to have an event for our community. Music is something that brings people together, and we have such talent here in our community and throughout the region that we wanted to do something that we don’t normally offer. So we proposed a blues festival. And admission is absolutely free!” Bands kick off with Glen Body & The Blues Cruisers at 5, and include The Bloodkin Jam Band AND an “All-Star Blues Jam” at 10pm to wrap up the concert.

Participating restaurants and eateries will have special “blues influenced” food and beverage menus, and participating businesses will be offering sales. Participants are invited to bring a lawn chair. Main Street will be closed July 4th from 4 til 11pm for the event, and downtown businesses will be open all evening.

For those wanting to start the day off with a bang, Marion Downtown is hosting a 5k Freedom Run. The race starts at Holston Hills Community Club at 8 (registration at 7), and ends at the Marion Farmers Market Finish Line. Prizes will be awarded to top three adult category finishers, “best dressed”, oldest and youngest participants. Early bird registration is $20, and fee is $25 day of event, with proceeds benefitting Marion VFW Post 4667. For race registration or information, contact Olivia Hall, Executive Director of Marion Downtown at (276) 783-4190 ohall@marionva.org.

Marion, Virginia’s “Red White and Blues” Festival
Friday, July 4 2014
• 5k “Freedom Run” 7am registration at Holston Hills Community Club
• Free Concert at the North Iron Street Main Stage with Glen Body & The Blues Cruisers, The Bloodkin Jam Band, and more beginning at 5pm
• Special sales and themed menus at participating businesses
For information, contact Ken Heath at (276) 378-5026 or Olivia Hall at (276) 783-4190"