OTTUMWA — Next week will be filled with a slew of events celebrating Independence Day.
The week will kick off with a reading of the Declaration of Independence outside the Ottumwa Public Library at 6:15 p.m. Monday.
Two days later, the first Bowling RV Summer Fest will fill Ottumwa Park for a day filled with music and food. The event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday, will feature campers on display, three bands and food and beverages.
"It's actually my 25th anniversary of being here, so we're just basically doing it as a thank you to our customers and to the local people," said Randy Bowling of Bowling Motors. "It's a basic thing we wanted to do to promote Ottumwa, promote our business and get people involved. You hear so many times that there's nothing to do and nowhere to go."
If the festival becomes an annual event, Bowling said he would like to bring in bigger and bigger names to provide entertainment for the crowd.
"We're doing it more for the community than for us," he said. "It's costing us money; we're not charging anybody to come. And it allows a lot of people that would never get the opportunity to go see a big-name band to go see one, see it for free and be in the front row."
No Justice, a country band that recently performed at Bridge View Center in January, will headline the event.
Next year, Bowling hopes to get another big country name, such as Jason Aldean or Luke Bryan.
"If it goes over well and people have fun, maybe next year we'll get a bigger band and charge $10.50 to get in, but for now we want people to show up and enjoy the atmosphere," he said. "That's all we care about."