By Rusty Bradshaw
That sound heard emanating from Bell Recreation Center, 16820 N. 99th Ave., next week will be yet another sound of freedom in Sun City.
The 39th Annual Ring That Bell ceremony is scheduled 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 4 at the social hall of the recreation center. Festivities will include patriotic presentations in the social hall followed by the traditional ringing of the bell outside in the plaza, according to Joelyn Higgins, Recreation Centers of Sun City communication and marketing coordinator.
The celebration will not end there. An old fashioned picnic — indoors to beat the heat — will be offered 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Featured delicacies will include hot dogs, potato chips, cake and bottled water for $3. Proceeds from the sale of picnic meals will be earmarked for the Recreation Centers of Sun City management team’s 2017 fundraising beneficiary, the Del Webb Sun Cities Museum and the Sun City Historical Society, according to Ms. Higgins.
The Ring That Bell ceremony is sponsored by RCSC.
Leading the festivities will be Uncle Sam, aka Sun City resident Mike Lindquist. There will be games, prizes, music, dancing and more. Free bowling, shuffleboard, darts and billiards will also be available 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Bell Lanes sports area, Ms. Higgins stated in a press release.
In addition to the activities at Bell, the All Stars Big Band 21st Anniversary Celebration will be at the Mountain View Recreation Center, 9749 N. 107th Ave., at 3 p.m. Sponsored by the Sun City Players Community Theater, this event is free and open to the public, Ms. Higgins stated.
The Sun City All Stars Big Band began with a group of 20 handpicked former professional musicians who retired in the Sun City area. Under the direction of Clark Chaffee, this afternoon performance will include soloists, dancers, readings, sing-alongs together with Earl Bracken’s Historical Scenes from “Remembering Our Independence.”
Donations will accepted at the end of the concert to help defray expenses.
The Ring That Bell ceremony got its start in 1975 when 120 Sun Citians were tasked with finding a single event or project that would have permanence and significance after the community celebrated the country’s bicentennial in 1976. The most popular suggestion was acquiring the community’s own Liberty Bell.
To involve the entire community, a metal drive was conducted and about 1,500 residents donated items. More than 7,000 pounds was collected. A duplicate of the Liberty Bell was cast and, upon completion, arrived in Sun City July 5, 1976. The bell was dedicated the following November and a time capsule containing various items from the time was sealed at the base. The time capsule is scheduled to be unsealed in 2026.