HUNTSVILLE — The Huntsville Fire & Rescue’s annual Firemen’s Fourth Festival was to have kicked off here yesterday (Wednesday) with an antique car show and firemen’s competition, and will continue all day today on the courthouse mall downtown.

Today’s festivities will begin with the Oneida Kiwanis’ annual pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. The Independence Day parade will step off from its traditional location — just east of Huntsville Elementary School — at 11 a.m. and follow the usual route along Baker Highway and around the mall before returning to the school. Lineup for the parade will begin at 10 a.m.

Live entertainment will resume after the parade.

Among the special festivities planned for today, the Boy Scouts will have a soap box derby on Fire Hall Drive, just east of the mall, at 1 p.m.

Thousands are expected to crowd the mall and adjacent areas for the annual fireworks display tonight. The show is slated to begin at 10 p.m., with fireworks again being shot from the football field at Huntsville Middle School.

Live entertainment was to have begun at 6 p.m. yesterday and will continue throughout the day today. Today’s entertainment will begin with the New Haven Singers at noon and conclude with Band 13 at 10 p.m. In between, the Singing Cousins, Tiffany Chambers, The Hughetts, Jay Faires and Gavin Gregg, Great Day In The Morning, and Chloe Litton & Bandy Creek will all perform. The full lineup is available at

Atkins to perform: One of his biggest hits to date is a song celebrating Americaís uniqueness, and on Saturday Rodney Atkins will perform locally to close out four days of celebration of Americaís independence.

Atkins is slated to headline the Stars & Stripes event at Trail's End Campground Saturday evening.

Opening for Atkins will be up-and-coming country artists Matt Stillwell and Michael Hardy, along with local country singer Jason Terry.

The concert is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the campground, which is located on River Road between Huntsville and the Winona community. Tickets are $35.

Atkins, 44, was the Academy of Country Music's Top Male Vocalist in 2006 and has emerged as one of the biggest names of the genre, primarily due to his breakthrough album, If You're Going Through Hell, released in 2006.

Atkins has had six No. 1 hits, the last being "Take A Back Road" in 2011.