Fourth of July in Akron

A couple years ago we met our friend for our first Akron-based Fourth of July and enjoyed the experience so much we thought we would give it a go again!

Unfortunately the weather has been so hot and humid we could hardly take it this time around. We delayed heading over to Akron as long as possible (e.g. until our stomachs were rumbling) and found quick and easy parking and headed down to Lock 3.

This was the annual Rib, White and Blue, Akron’s national rib festival, featuring almost a dozen award-winning BBQ stops from around the United States, including a handful from Ohio. We perused the competition and the fiance selected a brisket sandwich from one stand while I waited on the pulled pork from the Old Carolina BBQ stand.

When I finally had my sandwich and started pouring on the sauces from the pumps out front, a TV camera ran up and started filming my squirting! The cameraman told the fiance to take a huge bite out of his sandwich, which he did, and then he and the anchorwoman headed down the strip.

I tried looking online to see if we made the NBC segment, but I haven’t come across anything yet!

We found half a park bench open down fairly close to the stage and grabbed those seats just as the Akron Symphony Orchestra started. It was just about the best people-watching spot available as the path to the food, beer tent and restrooms was right in front of us. I ran to get us giant lemonades at one point, but otherwise we relaxed, albeit sweating profusely, and listened to the blues and jazz, which was fantastic.

Around 9 p.m. it started to get dark but the wind also started to pick up. We checked our phones and a huge storm was heading our way from Cleveland–it looked like we would get drenched.

It started to lighting in the distance, but it looked like we might just make the fireworks before the rain hit so we decided to stick it out. The orchestra played a few more songs and then cleared the stage.

The fireworks began about 10 minutes early. We figured they would want to move the timeline up.

Rib, White and Blue, Akron’s National Rib Festival
Crowd settling in for the Akron Symphony Orchestra
Sunscreen and hats–check!
Lightening glowing in the sky behind the amphitheater

We had given up our seats and moved up and out to the main road to stand and watch them there so we could make a quick dash when the rain started. The grassy park is closed in by fencing so we didn’t want to get stuck with thousands of other scrambling to get out.

It was definitely the right decision.

The fireworks had just ended and we were running up to our parking lot when the rain started–huge drops. There were so many people heading to their cars or already in their cars, and we felt bad for the people on motorcycles who were clearly going to get drenched.

I only fell victim to a couple sprinkles– we were able to stay under cover and get into the garage. It was so hot and muggy that it actually felt pretty good. I was dry by the time I jumped in my car.

The rain didn’t last– the bikers especially could have hung out a couple more minutes and made it home dry.

It was fun and I would consider going again, but maybe not on the actual fourth of July.

The rib festival is a three-day event and there is live music in the pavilion each day so I think we could try for one of the first couple days, depending on the weather, and see fireworks elsewhere.

Did you celebrate Independence Day? What did you do?

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