Best Fireworks & 4th of July Celebrations 2009
The 4th of July is such a popular time to road trip, we’ve written a whole series of articles, dedicated to helping you find the best celebrations for your family — whether you prefer small and hometown or the biggest and best the country has to offer. We don’t repeat recommendations, so check out this year’s picks, our picks from 2009, some hometown celebrations and parades and the best picks from 2010 as well as our favorite 4th of July road trips. We also have lots of fireworks for other holidays as well — search “fireworks” in the search bar at the top right of our site. And, to find celebrations near you that aren’t listed (yet), use our Event and Festival Calendar.
You don’t have time for a full-fledged road trip, but still want to find a great fireworks display. Maybe something new and different this year, or perhaps a little weekend getaway or day trip. (Or, on a sad note, maybe your usual celebration was cancelled because of the economy.)
Check out our list of the best celebrations, make some plans, pack a picnic, get some smoke on the barbecue or whatever else your family does to celebrate. Then, kick back and wish America “Happy Birthday”.
Feel free to comment on your favorite place to watch the fireworks.
Farm Sanctuary’s Fourth of July Pignic — I couldn’t make this one up if I tried. The Farm Sanctuary is apparently the largest rescue and refuge network for farm animals in North America. And, this July 4th, they want to promote life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for farm animals. The Pignic comes complete with tours of the facility, vegan food and compassionate entertainment. Whatever that is.
Breckenridge Independence Day Celebration — Start with the Breckenridge Recreation Department 10k race. The Firecracker 50k bike race kicks off the Main Street Parade, followed by entertainment, fire hose competitions and afternoon concert. End the night with the concert at the Riverwalk Center and fireworks display.
Steamboat Springs’ Cowboys’ Roundup Days (July 4th and 5th) — The community enjoys the cowboy spirit with an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, children’s activities, rodeo, parade and fireworks. Sunday morning begins with a real cattle drive — local ranchers drive 100 pair of cattle from their ranch down Lincoln Avenue to Romick Arena where they then take part in the Ranch Horse Competition and Ranch Rodeo.
Lenox Square Mall, Atlanta — Jump on MARTA and head to Lenox Square for fun, music and the giant party. The fireworks show is billed as the largest in the southeast.
Stone Mountain Park — At Georgia’s #1 attraction, the Fourth of July celebration is Georgia’s largest. The lasershow and fireworks are free (there is a parking fee) and the park warns that you should be prepared for large crowds.
Waterfront Independence Day Festival, Louisville (July 3 & 4) — Two days of fun, food, music and fireworks. Live music ranges from hip-hop to country, and there are fireworks both nights.
Go Fourth on the River — New Orleans’ biggest celebration, on the banks of the Mississippi River. Fireworks cruises offer up close and personal views from historic steamboats, but the fireworks are also visible from many locations along the river.
Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville — Four Days of Fun in the Midcoast features two nights of fireworks, parade and lots more.
Thomaston — A full day of firecracker races, barbeque, horseshoe tournament, and of course, fireworks.
Ludington Freedom Festival — Parade, fireworks and a day of family-friendly fun.
Muskegon Summer Celebration (July 1-5) — Large arts and crafts fair, music, midway, petting zoo and pig races plus fireworks.
St. Joseph — A full weekend of celebrations including Brown Bag Concert, State Street Experience, Friday Night Concert Series, parade, and concert under the stars with fireworks. Enjoy the horse-drawn trolley, Antiques on the Bluff (July 5) and lots more.
Whitelake — Parade and fireworks as well as additional festivities on the 3rd.
Minneapolis Red White & Boom — Enjoy the historic Minneapolis Riverfront and stay for children’s activities, food and fireworks.
Jacinto Fourth of July Festival — Arts and crafts vendors, Civil War re-enactors, music and more.
Caramoor International Music Festival — Special celebration “Pops, Patriots & Fireworks” features patriotic music for the whole family followed by first-ever fireworks display. You’re welcome to bring your own picnic or enjoy hot dogs and burgers.
Genesee CountyVillage & Museum — Enjoy the parade, pie-eating contest, and other old-fashioned fun.
Village of Homer — Reading of the Declaration of Independence in the town square, followed by church bells and cannons.
Wilmington & Cape Fear Coast — Pleasure Island’s fireworks display takes place July 3rd, followed by Wilmington’s July 4th Riverfront Celebration & Battleship Blast. Featuring live patriotic music followed by fireworks display over the Battleship North Carolina.
Mandan Rodeo Days — A 4th of July tradition, enjoy the parade, fireworks and rodeo. North Dakota was recently named the most affordable destination by AAA, so you’ll have money left over for some souveniers.
Molalla Buckeroo — PRCA rodeo event that’s been a tradition since 1913. Enjoy local beer, food and family fun for the whole weekend.
Vampire Baseball (Portland) — Are you a fan of Twilight Saga? This event, organized by Fan Trip.Travel, gives you a chance to play Vampire Baseball (whatever that is?) with many of the actors, as well as enjoy a buffet dinner and fireworks. There’s also a baseball game with professional players (Portland Beavers) and autograph signing, etc.
Penn State 4th Fest — The third best fireworks display in the whole country, 4th Fest takes place on the Penn State Campus and features the Firecracker 4k Run, food festival, bands, street dance and carnival, plua a whole lot more.
Bristol’s 4th of July Parade — The longest running parade in the country, and only a short drive from Providence. Special celebration honoring George M. Cohan (author of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag”, etc.) as well as fireworks and Waterfire (Providence’s famed visual art installation).
Historic Brattonsville — Historic readings, militia muster and firearms demonstrations, as well as meet veterans of the American Revolution.
Lake Murray — Boat parade, concert by Lake Murray Symphony Orchestra and South Carolina’s largest fireworks show. Bring a picnic and enjoy!
American Family Fest (July 2-4) — Offers national talent search, nightly concerts, family sports competition, geneology and a family cook-off. The town is the gateway to Bryce Canyon, Zion, Kolob Canyons and Cedar Breaks National Monument.
Champlain Burlington International Waterfront (July 2-14) — One of the biggest events in Vermont’s history, events include the Taste of Champlain Food Festival.
A Capitol Fourth — What do Barry Manilow, Aretha Franklin and The Muppets have in common? They are all performing at this year’s A Capitol Fourth, in our nation’s capital and on a TV near you. For the 29th year, the performance and fireworks will be broadcast on PBS, NPR and American Forces Radio and Television Network. Hundreds of thousands pack the West Lawn of the United States Capitol for the event, and the largest fireworks display in the country. This is on our family’s “Do It Before We’re Too Old” list, but this year we’ll record it and watch on TV. Happy Birthday, America!
Greenbrier Resort — This National Historic Landmark, also known as America’s Resort, will host an entire weekend of festivities, including sand sculpting workshops, 10th Annual Grand Parade, and Summer Lawn Party.
Old World Fourth of July — Authentic, historic activities including greased pole climb, cannon firing, barn dance patriotic recitations, parade and more, all at the historical recreation of rural life in the 1800’s and turn of the century.