Independence Day Concert and Fireworks

Fireworks explode over the campus while onlookers watch from the campus lawn.

In collaboration with our generous community sponsors, the Gilbert Reese Family Foundation, Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark warmly welcome you to the Independence Day Concert and Fireworks held annually on July 3.

The evening’s celebration begins with popular local musical groups performing in the Martha Grace Reese Amphitheatre. The crowd-favorite fireworks display begins at dusk to the accompaniment of patriotic favorites performed live.

This event is free and open to the public. Parking is also free.​​ A number of local vendors will be serving food and beverages. The public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs, picnics and blankets for a fun-filled evening of music and entertainment.


Founding Sponsors

 Gilbert Reese Family Foundation.

The Ohio State University at Newark and Central Ohio Technical College logos.

2023 Community Sponsors

Rules and Regulations

For the safety of our guests, we ask that you follow these guidelines:

  • Reserving space on campus is prohibited until 10 a.m. on July 3. Personal items will be considered abandoned property and discarded.
  • Parking in grass is prohibited. 
  • Portions of University Drive and the recreational trail (bike path) are closed to the public. Please adhere to signage and stay off of closed roadways and trails. 
  • Please leave pets at home. Fireworks, heat and crowds can create potentially stressful and unsafe conditions for dogs and other pets.
  • Personal fireworks, including sparklers and smoke bombs, are prohibited.
  • The COTC and Ohio State Newark campus is 100% tobacco-free—no tobacco use or vaping anytime, anywhere on campus.
  • Alcoholic beverages, portable gas or charcoal grills, temporary pools and generators are prohibited.
  • Political campaigning and posting political signs on campus is prohibited.
  • Refrain from riding bicycles, skateboards, scooters and other similar devices on campus during the event.
  • Drones are prohibited.
  • Swimming is prohibited.

Stationed around the campus are law enforcement officers, but in the event of an emergency please call 911.

Vendor Application

Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University seek food vendors to serve thousands of guests anticipated on the shared Newark campus for this event. Please note that submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance. Once notified, accepted vendors are required to pay a $150 fee and submit a certificate of insurance. Vendors are responsible for complying with the Licking County Health Department.

Deadline: April 16, 2024

Submit application


On Sept. 18, 1999, a dedication ceremony featuring a concert and fireworks marked the completion of the Martha Grace Reese Amphitheater. Located at the heart of the shared Newark campus of Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark, this multi-purpose amphitheater, covered by a permanent white canopy, was generously gifted to the community by Mr. and Mrs. J. Gilbert Reese and the Gilbert Reese Family Foundation. Named after Reese’s mother, Martha Grace Reese, the amphitheater serves as a cultural facility and gathering space for the community. 

In 2000, through their foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Reese initiated the tradition of sponsoring the annual Independence Day Concert and Fireworks to capture the community camaraderie and celebratory fanfare of the dedication and make the community aware of the affordable and accessible education available locally at Ohio State Newark and COTC. Local musicians performed live music in the Martha Grace Reese Amphitheater, while families and friends gathered on the surrounding lawn to enjoy music, picnic, and embrace the sense of community and celebration. A fantastic fireworks display capped off the night.

Over 20 years later, the Independence Day Concert and Fireworks celebration continues to attract community members to the campus’s scenic central core, bringing together our community in a patriotic celebration. Around 25,000 Licking County residents attend this free, family-friendly event each year. The Gilbert Reese Family Foundation continues to proudly support this event as the founding sponsor in partnership with Central Ohio Technical College and Ohio State Newark.