Red, white, blue and pyrotechnics — it's time to gear up for summer's annual blowout of America, independence and community spirit.
Patriotism on full display will be available to one and all at a variety of events in cities and towns across the Modesto and Mother Lode regions.
On Saturday, June 30, you can watch the bombs burst in air waterside at both Woodward Reservoir and Don Pedro Lake, where the holiday kicks off early and with a bang. Following will be a week of options all over the region to celebrate with music, parades, festivals and — of course — more fireworks.
In Modesto, John Thurman Field again hosts a large-scale fireworks display following the Modesto Nuts game there on Tuesday night, July 3. The next day, the city fetes the fourth with a parade and festival in downtown.
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And if something keeps you from enjoying the holiday action before or during, there's one more late chance to see pyrotechnics light up the sky: Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys holds it celebration with fireworks on Saturday, July 7.
Here's a rundown of events, beginning with the earliest celebrations:
Friday, July 29-Sunday, July 1: Livingston holds its three-day independence celebration with a carnival, live music and fireworks. Music on Friday will be by Frankie J and Joe Cooley at 6 p.m., $10 presale; Saturday features Lupillo Rivera at 6 p.m., $15; and Sunday Rhythm Blenders The Valley Cats, free. Gates open at 5 p.m. each evening at the Max Foster Sports Complex, 2600 Walnut Ave. Fireworks will begin at dusk on Sunday at the sports complex. www.livingston4thofjuly.com.
Saturday, June 30: Woodward Reservoir's Fireworks Celebration offers a chance to watch the pyrotechnics waterside for the 23rd year. Arrive early, because upon reaching capacity, the park will be closed to all inbound traffic. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. Attendees should plan to stay inside the park until the fireworks end. Woodward Reservoir, 14528 26 Mile Road. $25 per carload. www.stancountyparks.com.
Don Pedro Lake
Saturday, June 30: The skies over Don Pedro Reservoir will be aglow with fireworks during the weekend prior to the holiday. Spectators should arrive by 8 p.m. for the 9:30 p.m. show near the Blue Oaks recreation area in La Grange. $20 per vehicle. 209-852-2396.
Saturday, June 30-Wednesday, July 4 Gustine starts a days-long celebration with the West Side 5K Color Run on Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. at Gustine High School; that evening, the Miss Gustine Pageant will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the high school auditorium. On Tuesday, July 3, the annual FFA tractor pull will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the high school. On July 4, festivities start with a parade at 10:30 a.m. on Main Street and end at Henry Miller Park, where there will be food booths, kids activities, live entertainment and more until 4 p.m. Later, fireworks at the Gustine High football field begin at dusk. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. for fireworks. http://www.members.tripod.com/gustinecofc/calendarofevents
Tuesday, July 3: A fireworks show will follow the evening Modesto Nuts home game against Lake Elsinore. The pre-Fourth pyrotechnics will mark the team’s longest fireworks show of the year. Game time is 7:05 p.m. at John Thurman Field, 601 Neece Drive, Modesto. Admission $7 to $14. www.modestonuts.com.
Wednesday, July 4: The city’s annual Fourth of July Celebration has been going on since 1874 and returns this year with a parade and festival. The parade theme – complete with marching bands, floats, performers and more – is "The Land of Liberty." After the parade, the All American Festival kicks off with kids activities, live music, dance demonstrations, a classic car show, food and craft booths as well as a flag-raising ceremony by the American Legion. Both events are organized by the Modesto Kiwanis Club. Parade: 9:30 a.m. from 10th and F streets to J Street, then back to 11th Street to I Street, ending at 17th Street. Festival: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (flag-raising 12:15 p.m.) at Tenth Street Plaza. www.modestojulyparade.com
Wednesday, July 4: Parade and Car Show in downtown Turlock includes family activities, cars, vendors and more. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. In the evening, the fun moves to California State University, Stanislaus, where activities begin at 7 p.m. leading up to the big fireworks show at 9 p.m. One University Circle. Free. www.turlockdowntown.com or www.csustan.edu/fireworks.
Wednesday, July 4: Columbia State Historic Park's annual Glorious 4th of July Celebration begins with a ceremonial flag raising and black powder musket salute at 11 a.m. near the gazebo on Main Street. The Great Mother Lode Brass & Reed Band will play at 11 a.m. on Main Street. A parade begins at noon running along Main Street. Activities will be held throughout the town, including a greased pole climbing and a bucket brigade. Other contests include nail pounding, watermelon eating, egg relay race and egg toss, and a five-way tug-of-war. Barbecue lunch at 1 p.m. is $10 general and $6 for children under 10. Music after the barbecue will be provided by The Lucky Cousins Brass Band. 209-536-1672.
Wednesday, July 4: The Run for Independence starts the day at 7:30 a.m. A parade starts at 9 a.m. at Foster's Freeze on Winton Way and ends at Ralston Park. The festival at Ralston Park is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with entertainment from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The national anthem will be sung at 11 and a tug-of-war competitions will be held from noon-3:30 p.m. Gates at Castle Air Base, 5050 Santa Fe Drive, open at 6 p.m. for music by Danny Castro and Mike Hammer & the Nails, followed by a fireworks show. Castle admission is $10 per carload. Take lawn chairs and blankets. Gates close at 9 for fireworks. www.atwater4thofjuly.org.
Wednesday, July 4: Food vendors and music with a car show beginning at 5 p.m. Look for the city’s pyrotechnics celebration to begin around 9:25 p.m. at Mistlin Park, 1201 W. River Road. Admission is free with a $5 parking fee. 209-599-7519.
Wednesday, July 4: The community-inclusive 4th of July Parade is open to all. Registration begins at 10 a.m. followed by a sing-a-long at 10:30 at All That Matters Gallery, 22990 Joaquin Gully Road. The parade begins at 11 a.m. Following the parade, family activities along Cedar Street in downtown include food booths, bounce house and more. Free. www.twainhartecc.com.
Wednesday, July 4: The community's "Small Town, Big Heart July 4th Celebration" begins with a pancake breakfast at the Town Hall from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. A parade starts at 11 a.m. on Main Street with food, music and vendors available along with kids games at Shutter Tree Park after the parade. www.gocalaveras.com/calendar-of-events.
Wednesday, July 4: The Fourth of July Concert and Barbecue returns featuring the Calaveras Community Band playing patriotic favorites, marches, swing and popular tunes from the past beginning at 6:30 p.m. Before the concert, a barbecue will be served from 5 to 6 p.m. for $16. Turner Park, 287 Treat Ave., San Andreas. Admission to concert is free. www.gocalaveras.com/calendar-of-events.
Wednesday, July 4: Manteca celebrates its centennial this year and plans a Fourth of July fete beginning with an Sunrise Kiwanis Independence Day Parade at 10 a.m. beginning Jason and Main streets, traveling to Center Street, ending at Library Park. Centennial fireworks will go off over Big League Dreams sports park with gates to the park opening at 7 p.m., fireworks starting at 9:45 p.m., 1077 Milo Candini Drive. $2. 209-456-8600.
Saturday, July 7: Keep the fireworks and the spirit of Independence alive with Ironstone Vineyards’ 4th of July Celebration the weekend after the Fourth. The event features live entertainment by Daniel Kushnir, The Cool Shifters Band and Shane Dwight. Family fun is promised with bounce houses, a rock wall and face painting as well as fire jugglers, food and beverages. Gates open at 2 p.m., and fireworks begin at dusk. Adults $15, children 6-12 $10, age 5 and under free. www.ironstonevineyards.com.