LAKE TOWNSHIP—Fourth of July celebrations kick off in southern Wayne County with the area's annual fireworks on Lake Ariel beach on Sunday, July 2, followed by the fire company's Penny House 5K and Picnic & Barbecue on Saturday, July 8.

Hosted by the Lake Ariel Cottagers Association, the fireworks display will start at dusk next Sunday with the Lake Ariel Volunteer Fire Company overseeing traffic and safety concerns.

The event is free and open to all members of the public with food available for sale for hungry spectators.

The firefighters will have hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, mozzarella sticks, pirogies, french fries, and other similar fair snacks said fire company President Alex Rae.

There will also be a “boot drop” donation drive with proceeds supporting both the fire department and cottagers association in a 50-50 split.

In the event of a rain-out, the fireworks celebration will be rescheduled for Wednesday, July 5.

The following weekend, Lake Station will host an all-day independence extravaganza starting at 9 a.m. with its fourth annual Penny House 5K run/walk.

Pre-race registration ends today, but day-of registration will still be permitted on July 8 at a cost of $20.

Prizes are available for overall fastest male and female finish, as well as fastest male and female finish in each age group.

All proceeds benefit the fire department.

The race starts at the corner of East Shore Drive and 191 traces the lake down to Golf Park Drive and back.

Later that day, the fire company will host its annual picnic and chicken barbecue, starting with take-outs at 4 p.m. and dine-ins an hour later.

Aside from the exquisite titular chicken for sale, the barbecue will also feature classic picnic dishes like potato salad, pasta salad, cole slaw and beans.

According to Lake Ariel Volunteer Fire Company Auxiliary President Sue Koerber, her organization will provide sausage for sale as well.

Accompanying the afternoon's feast are games set up around Lake Station including a bounce house and fish pond.

Rounding out the evening will be an Independence Day parade starting from the bank at 7 p.m.

The parade route follows 191 down to Maple Avenue. It then turns left onto Maple and follows it to East Shore Drive where it turns right and heads back toward 191.

Once on 191, the parade passes the fire house and heads toward the township playground.

Following the parade, live music, games, activities and all around fun will continue at Lake Station.

“It's a blast,” said Fire Chief Mike DiPierro.

Fire company auxiliary member Kathleen Milenkowic stated,“It is a wonderful social event for the area and many happily contribute their time.”

Participants are welcome from all over Wayne County and the surrounding areas.

For over 70 years, Lake Ariel has presented an annual parade honoring the nation's birth with the village's local fire company hosting a picnic celebration for nearly the same amount of time.

Though an exact date for the inception of the picnic is unknown, Lake Township Supervisor and local history enthusiast Fred Birmelin estimates it likely dates back at least 50 years.

Both these events benefit the hard-working Lake Ariel firefighters and auxiliary members who volunteer their time to keep safe the roughly 7,000 homes in their coverage area pervading Lake Ariel, the Hideout, parts of South Canaan and a piece of Cherry Ridge.

The company recently added a new apparatus, bringing their total of active vehicles to four engines, one rescue truck, one supply truck, one brush truck and one first response/command car, according to DiPierro.

The department also has one high pressure truck dating back to 1964 which is not in service.

The company has just under 60 members between the firefighters and auxiliary.

They are always looking for more help to bolster their ranks and safeguard their community and any other areas that call for their aid.

“We'll take the time to train anybody,” stated Rae. “It's a great opportunity.”

Junior members can start as young as 14.

Lake Ariel Volunteer Fire Company is in its 101st year as a firefighting force.

Other upcoming fundraisers to support the company are frequent breakfast buffets – the next being September 10 – a bloodmobile in September, a pasta dinner and turkey raffle, both in November.

“We appreciate everybody who supports us,” said Rae. “We have very good participation from the community … The township and supervisors are a great support for us.”

Birmelin added, “The concept is that it's everybody's fire company.”

More information about the Lake Ariel Volunteer Fire Company can be found on their Facebook page.