JONESBORO, Ark. – Years of tradition are ending this year as a new tradition begins, all centered around the birthday of America.
For decades, Fourth in the Forest has filled Craighead Forest Park to capacity with motorists and families looking to watch one of the largest displays of fireworks in Arkansas. Some nearby residents even watch the display from their homes, while others pack a car completely full to take advantage of the per-car fee. The event was a project of East Arkansas Broadcasters, the radio group including 107.9 KFIN, 101.7 KISS FM, 95.9 The Wolf, and others.
However, that tradition is passé as of 2016.
Replacing it will be 4th Fest at Joe Mack Campbell Park. Beginning Friday night, July 1, a carnival will be in place at Joe Mack Campbell Park for families to enjoy. It runs through the weekend, which culminates with a 5K race the morning of the 4th and an epic fireworks show later in the evening at 9 p.m. Food vendors will also be at the park.
Brandon Baxter, morning show host on 107.9 KFIN, said it will be a better experience for families who want to enjoy the holiday.
“The change was about the listener experience,” Baxter said. “We had maxed out the park.
People had to walk half of the park if they arrived later in the day. We also wanted the event to be free. So this year, the thought was ‘reinvent the wheel now and start building the future.'”
As mentioned, the first change many will notice is attendance is free. Baxter also said more parking, more lights and more access points for entry and exit will make for an easier time getting in and out of the location. There will be less walking for families and more room to lay out blankets and picnic before or during the fireworks show, he said.
“Everyone will have a great view of the fireworks show as opposed to some of the views at the forest,” Baxter said.
EAB has a Facebook page dedicated to the event. Baxter said the staff is very excited about the new event.