CRESTVIEW — The city’s Fourth of July celebration promises fireworks on the ground as well as in the air.

The fun kicks off at 7 p.m. in Twin Hills Park with food, music and competitions, followed by fireworks at 9 p.m.

The Independence Day festivities also mark the launch of the city’s Red, White and Blue Challenge, which sparks competition between Crestview’s police officers (blue team); firefighters (red team) and their respective supporters; and community competitors (white team) of residents, EMTs, military, city employees and anyone else.

The teams will vie throughout the year in various competitions during public events including the Fall Festival, Christmas Parade, and others.

The first Red, White and Blue Challenge event is a watermelon eating contest on the Twin Hills Park football field 50-yard line. Teams will earn points at this and subsequent competitions with the winning team announced at the 2020 Fourth of July celebration.

Following the watermelon eating contest, a team of judges will award first-, second-, and third-place ribbons to winners of the Great American Freeze-Out Ice Cream Competition. The public is encouraged to sample the entries, which will be submitted anonymously, and vote for a People’s Choice award.

“This is going to be fun,” said Parks and Recreation Programs manager Alisa Burleson. “We want to make our city events something that our great Public Safety officials, city workers and our residents can all interact and actively participate in together.”

All civic, cultural, social, religious, business or other local organizations are invited to enter a team in the watermelon eating contest, and anyone with a favorite family ice cream recipe is welcome to start cranking their churns and bring the results to Twin Hills Park.

Adding a patriotic soundtrack to the event, the North Okaloosa Community Band, a symphonic concert band of more than 50 members ranging from high school students to retirees, will perform a concert of American national standards.

In addition to Parks and Recreation events, Mosaic Church will provide family-friendly games, and the church’s volunteers will assist with clean-up after the celebration.

Attendees should bring their own folding chairs and blankets. Food vendors will be available. City and police officials suggest parking downtown, including the Wilson Street public parking lot just south of the railroad tracks, and taking the quick walk under the State Road 85 overpass to the park. Parking in private parking lots without permission is prohibited. Police officers will be available to escort those who park north of Hwy. 90 across the busy road.