The weather may be hot and the fireworks explosive, but the entertainment at the Fourth of July celebration aboard Camp Lejeune this week will be downright “Cool.”

The weather may be hot and the fireworks explosive, but the entertainment at the Fourth of July celebration aboard Camp Lejeune this week will be downright “Cool.”

Yolanda Mayo, deputy operations officer for Marine Corps Community Services at Camp Lejeune and event coordinator, said the celebration begins at W.P.T. Hill Field at 4 p.m. and will include about 30 minutes of fireworks, entertainment from the 2nd Marine Division Rock Band, opening act Mike Corrado and a headliner: LL Cool J.

“We wanted to give a wonderful show this year,” she said.

Mayo said they’re planning for crowd of about 35,000 at the event, which is free and open to the public, due in part to last year’s sequestration and subsequent cancelation of the base’s fireworks display, but also to this year’s primary entertainer — international pop and movie star LL Cool J. 

“LL Cool J is a huge supporter of our military,” Mayo said, noting that within an hour of announcing him as the headliner at this year’s celebrations, the MCCS website got more than 30,000 hits.

LL Cool J gained initial fame as a rapper in the 80s and has appeared in more than 30 movies. He currently stars in NCIS: Los Angeles as an ex-Navy SEAL, and still performs as a music artist. LL Cool J has performed in the area before and has a brother who lives in the region, Mayo said. 

In the event of inclement weather, most notably due to the effects of Tropical Storm Arthur, Mayo said MCCS will announce a cancelation of the festivities on its website and through press releases to local media. They have a rain date designated for fireworks only on July 5. 

For those who have never come to a Fourth of July celebration aboard base, Mayo cautions people to “be prepared for a crowd,” and to leave plenty of time for travel and parking.

Once on base, staff will direct drivers to parking lots. Shuttles will then take guests from the parking lots to the event site. Parking for the event is free. 

The front gate will be open for regular traffic at 3 p.m. Those without base privileges can get in if they have a valid ID, registration and insurance ready. The event site opens at 4 p.m., according to Mayo.

Attendees will pass through security checkpoints with metal detectors. In addition, attendees will not be allowed to bring in alcohol, glass, pets or sparklers and other personal fireworks.  

The entire day’s celebrations are free, with exception of concessions.

There will also be a children’s area including bounce houses.  

Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets and settle in for hours of great music before the fireworks show, which will tak eplace after dark. 

Mayo will emcee the event.

The 2nd Marine Division Rock Band starts the entertainment at 5:30 p.m.

Cpl. David Corderman, the vocalist and guitarist for the band, said the four-member group — himself, a keyboard player, drummer, and bassist — will play a wide variety of songs to include country, rock and soul.

Corderman said the band will also play original music, including Wink, the song that won them their award as 2013 Small Ensemble of the Year across the Marine Corps band groups.  

Mike Corrado will take the stage at 7 p.m. Corrado, a Marine lieutenant colonel, built his fan base in Eastern North Carolina. The Citadel graduate formed a band with other musical Marines who, along with Corrado, were stationed with him at Camp Lejeune in the early 90s. Their sound blended jazz, funk and soul with down-to-earth lyrics. Corrado has since performed with John Mayer, The Black Eyed Peas, Hootie and the Blowfish and opened for Bon Jovi’s worldwide Circle Tour, according to his website at Corrado, currently stationed in New Orleans, recently released a music video of his song Stand, which stars the most recent Medal of Honor recipient Cpl. Kyle Carpenter.

“Any time I get to come back and play in North Carolina is like a homecoming,” Corrado said, adding that he enjoys playing for the people “who serve and protect the nation.” 

At 8:30 p.m. LL Cool J takes the stage featuring Z-Trip. Directly following the performance is the 30-minute fireworks display, which Mayo said the public can count on to be spectacular.

In addition, she said you cannot beat “celebrating the Fourth of July with the bravest men and women in the country.”

To learn more about the entertainers, check out their websites below:

LL Cool J:

2nd Marine Division Rock Band’s “Wink”:

Mike Corrado:


Area celebrations

The Independence Day concert and fireworks scheduled for Thursday night in Surf City have been canceled because of Tropical Storm Arthur.

The city has rescheduled the fireworks for an end of summer celebration on Aug. 29.

In a release, town clerk Stephanie Hobbs said “Surf City is very much open for business, and we expect this storm to have a relatively short term impacts and encourage visitors to keep their plans for enjoying their beach vacations during this holiday season.”

Arthur is expected to dump 1 to 2 inches of rain across coastal North Carolina on Thursday, but up to 4 inches are possible in isolated areas.

As of press time, the following Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks displays were still scheduled in the Topsail Island area. However, due to the uncertainty with Tropical Storm Arthur and its potential path, the events are subject to postponement or cancellation. 

The Town of Holly Ridge will celebrate Independence Day with the 4th of July Liberty Fest and Fireworks.

The festival, which will be held July 4 in Holly Ridge Municipal Park, begins at 2 p.m. Entertainment includes a D.J. starting at 2 p.m., Carolina Band performing at 7 and fireworks at 9. There will be food, arts and craft and retail vendors, as well as children’s activities. For more information, call 910-329-7081.   

Camp Lejeune will host its annual Fourth of July Celebration July 4 at the W.P.T. Hill Field aboard Camp Lejeune. Gates open at 4 p.m. Regular traffic will be permitted through the main gate beginning at 3 p.m. Those without base privileges should be ready to provide ID, registration and insurance. Entertainment begins at 5:30 p.m., with LL Cool J starting at 8:30 p.m. with fireworks after. For information, visit

July 4 Freedom Festival

Onslow County Parks and Recreation Department is sponsoring the 31st annual Freedom Festival on July 4 Onslow Pines Park, 1244 Onslow Pines Road in Jacksonville. Games, rides, music and vendor booths will open at 3 p.m., and the fireworks display will be at 9 p.m.