The annual Independence Day concert and fireworks display on the shared campus of The Ohio State University at Newark and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) set an attendance record. Public safety officials estimate the crowd at about 20,000 people. The annual event was held on Sunday, July 3.
The evening began with the presentation of the COTC John C. “Jay” Barker Community Service Alumni Award. The award recognizes COTC alumni who have made a significant impact by their service to the betterment of our community. This year’s award was given to Sandra L. Miller of Newark. Miller, 69, graduated with a nursing degree from COTC in 1981. Miller worked at health centers and hospitals after graduation, but eventually realized that she wanted to use her skills to help people across the nation as a disaster relief volunteer with the American Red Cross (ARC). Miller served 19 years with the ARC and assisted in 38 disasters, including September 11th. She received accolades from across the state of Ohio for her work. She was also recognized nationally with the Clara Barton Honor Award for Meritorious Leadership. The award is one of the highest awards the ARC bestows on volunteers. Recipients of the award are inducted into the Clara Barton Honor Society.
After the award announcement, local cover band Sticks & Stones started playing at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Heisey Wind Ensemble (HWE) at approximately 8 p.m. The fireworks display started at about 9:45 p.m. After the fireworks, Sticks & Stones returned to the stage for an encore presentation.
All performances were held at the Martha Grace Reese Amphitheatre. A number of local vendors were on hand serving food and beverages on the campus grounds during the event. The public brought lawn chairs, picnics and blankets for a fun-filled evening of music and entertainment. Free parking was available on campus. The annual Independence Day Concert and Fireworks is sponsored annually by Central Ohio Technical College, Ohio State Newark and the Reese Family Foundation.
The Licking County Veterans Project was also on display during the event. The poster presentation with pictures of local veterans was put together by the Licking County Library. The display was located inside Hopewell Hall.
Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark have forged an outstanding array of educational opportunities for the central Ohio region and beyond. This partnership is viewed as a model for higher education in the state of Ohio. At Central Ohio Technical College, students gain hands-on, applicable experience to begin working in the field, or to transfer those credits toward a bachelor's degree program. The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that’s challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors.