4th of July fireworks, parades, more. Modesto-area, Mother Lode guide to celebrations

Summer’s annual celebration of America, independence and community spirit starts early and continues late, giving patriots plenty of opportunities to party.

Red, white and blue will be on full display at a variety of Fourth of July events in cities and towns across the Modesto and Mother Lode regions. Some will fete the U.S. with parades and festivals; others will have full pyrotechnic displays to punctuate the holiday.

Don Pedro Reservoir gets into the spirit early, with a chance to watch bombs burst in air waterside on Saturday, June 29. Depending on where you go, a full slate of events will be offered through July 4 and right into the following weekend — including another chance to see fireworks over the water at Woodward Reservoir on Friday, July 5.

And if you miss all that, Ironstone Vineyards in Murphys offers one more chance at fun and blasts on Saturday, July 6. Here’s a rundown of some of the events planned:

Don Pedro

Saturday, June 29: 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 29-Thursday, 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 Wednesday, 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 and beverage booths, kids activities, live entertainment and more until 3 p.m. Later, fireworks at the Gustine High football field begin at dusk. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. for fireworks.


Wednesday, July 3: A fireworks show will follow the evening Modesto Nuts home game against San Jose. 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 $8 to $14.

Thursday, 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 “Celebrating Our Freedoms.” After the parade, the All American Festival kicks off with kids’ activities, live music, 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. Flag-raising immediately following the parade with festival: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tenth Street Plaza.

Thursday, July 4: The McHenry Mansion will be open to self-guided walk-through tours of the historic Victorian structure from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The mansion is on the parade route at 906 15th St. and its foundation will have booths selling coffee, donuts, hot dogs, cold drinks, water and ice cream during the parade. The Visitor Center & Gift Store, 924 15th St., also will be open.


Wednesday, July 3: The Independence Eve Party features the band Troublesome with a beer garden, The Tri-Tipery food truck and margaritas. 7-10 p.m. at Ralston Park. Concert free, food and drink for purchase.

Thursday, 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. Gates at Castle Air Base, 5050 Santa Fe Drive, open at 6 p.m. for music by The Shakers and Crosseyed, followed by a fireworks show at dusk. Castle admission is $10 per carload. Take lawn chairs and blankets. Gates close at 9 p.m. for fireworks.


Thursday, July 4: The Parade and Car Show in downtown Turlock includes family activities, cars, vendors and more. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Note: The annual fireworks at California State University, Stanislaus, have been canceled this year.


Thursday, July 4: Manteca’s celebration begins with a Sunrise Kiwanis Independence Day Parade at 10 a.m. beginning at Jason and Main streets, traveling to Center Street, ending at Library Park. The Fourth of July Liberty Festival follows the parade with a kids’ zone, entertainment, DJ, vendors, crafts, food and more. 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.


Thursday, July 4-6: Livingston holds its three-day independence celebration with a carnival, live music and festival. On Thursday, music will be by Rhythm Blenders with fireworks beginning at dusk; admission free. The carnival, music and festival continue Friday and Saturday. Friday admission is free with music by NB RIDAZ. Saturday also features a Spanish rodeo and bands with festival admission free, $10 for concert area. Gates open at 5 each evening and close at midnight. Max Foster Sports Complex, 2600 Walnut Ave. 209-394-8830.


Thursday, 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. and 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 4 p.m. is $10 general and $6 for children under 10. Music will be provided by Faux Renwah. 209-536-1672.

Twain Harte

Thursday, July 4: The 4th of July Parade and Family Fun Day 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.

Mokelumne Hill

Thursday, 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.

San Andreas

Thursday, 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 $15. Turner Park, 287 Treat Ave., San Andreas. Admission to concert is free.


Friday, July 5: Woodward Reservoir’s Fireworks Celebration offers a chance to watch the pyrotechnics waterside for the 24th 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.


Saturday, July 6: 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 Shane Dwight, Nick Tyrrel and Snarkey Cats. 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.

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Pat Clark covers entertainment and other stories for The Modesto Bee. She attended California State University, Stanislaus, and grew up in Modesto.
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