MENTOR, Ohio — The City of Mentor is bringing back its Independence Day celebrations at Mentor City Center Park with a free concert followed by fireworks.
Country music recording artist Darryl Worley will perform at the Mentor Civic Amphitheater at 8:00 p.m. with a 25-minute fireworks display immediately following the concert.
“It’s just great to be back,” said Mentor City Manager Kenneth J.Filipiak. “It's really a reopening of sorts. Four years ago today we dedicated this beautiful amphitheater.”
Amphitheater grounds open at 6:00 PM. Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. Coolers are welcomed. No pets, glass containers, outside alcohol, tents or shelters are permitted on Amphitheater grounds.
Several popular local food trucks will be serving their festival favorites including burgers, gyros, pizza and more.
“To be a part of it again after having a year off really brings it into perspective. Great appreciation for it,” said owner of Nick’s Gyros Peter Foradis.
Foradis, his brother George and father Nick have been in business for nearly 40 years in Mentor. Like many businesses during the pandemic, they didn’t know what to expect so they did the best they could.
“Luckily for us, we have a drive-thru. I think drive-thru businesses thrived during the pandemic. It was one of the only restaurant type businesses to make it through,” Foradis said. “That was big for us. I don’t know how we would’ve made it to be honest.”
Also making a return this year is their food truck, which will greet guests at the Amphitheater. Foradis said the food truck helps them adapt to an ever-changing business model in the post-pandemic word.
“Takeout food and carryout now are huge. I’d say 70% of our business before the pandemic was people sit down, eat, dine in for a good hour,” Foradis said. “Now, it’s really flipped. It’s like 80/20.”
But Foradis, like many other vendors, is just excited to be back at an outdoor concert at the Amphitheater. For them, Sunday is about celebrating the return to business as normal as much as it is about Independence Day.
“The feeling to come out and see the gatherings of people getting together, celebrating the Fourth, having fireworks—it’s America. Everyone loves it,” he said.
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