After a patriotic kickoff with parades in Modesto, Turlock and other Valley communities Friday, the sky will be on fire at night with fireworks diplays at the Stanislaus County Fairground in Turlock, Mistlin Sports Park in Ripon, Woodward Reservoir near Oakdale, and locations in Manteca, Livingston, Los Banos, Atwater and Gustine.
Over the next couple of days, the area will have festivals, car shows, carnivals, parades and more, all to celebrate Independence Day. A look at what is happening:
Friday, 9:30 a.m., downtown – The 140th annual Modesto Independence Day Parade. The popular parade this year is themed “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave” and will have some 125 entries including marching bands, floats, performers and more. The parade moves from 10th and F streets to J Street, then up 11th Street and back to I Street to 17th Street. The parade is organized by the Modesto Kiwanis Club, and the grand marshals will be the nonprofit groups The Salvation Army, United Way and the Modesto Symphony Orchestra. Special this year will be the raffle giveaway of a restored 1965 Mustang. www.modestojulyparade.com.
Friday, 10 a.m. downtown – The day begins with a traditional Fourth of July parade down Main Street, followed by a street fair (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) that will include a car show. The Patriotic Parade will begin at East Main and Palm streets, then continue to West Main Street and Broadway Avenue. The Fire and Police departments will be in Central Park, along with an entertainment stage and kids park. A fireworks show starts at 9 p.m. at the Stanislaus County Fairground, 900 N. Broadway. Gates open at 7:30 p.m.; admission and parking are free. (209) 632-2221.
Friday, 9:30 p.m., Woodward Reservoir, 14528 26 Mile Road – Woodward Fireworks Celebration. Arrive early, because upon reaching capacity, the park will be closed to all inbound traffic. Attendees should plan to stay inside the park until the fireworks end. $20 per carload. (209) 525-6750.
Friday, 9 p.m., Mistlin Sports Park, 1201 West River Road, Ripon – The community event moves to Mistlin park this year and scales back, with no parade or carnival. Fireworks will go off about 9 p.m., and food vendors will be available. Admission and parking are free. (209) 599-4411. www.ripon4thofjuly.com.
Friday, 6 to 10:30 p.m., Big League Dreams, 1077 Milo Candini Drive – The city of Manteca’s celebration will have vendor booths, a softball tournament, live family entertainment, children’s rides, a Teen Zone and fireworks. Fireworks will start after 9:30 p.m. $2 for age 13 and up; free for 12 and under. (209) 456-8600.
Friday, 10:30 a.m., downtown and Gustine High – Festivities start with a parade at 10:30 a.m. on Fifth Street. There will be activities at Henry Miller Park from noon to 4 p.m., then fireworks at the Gustine High School football field at dusk. Gates open at 6:40 p.m. for fireworks. Saturday, there will be a Gustine High School centennial celebration starting at 5:30 p.m. with dinner and entertainment. Tickets are $45 and must be purchased in advance. (209) 854-3052.
Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Ralston Park and Castle Airport – The Run for Independence starts the day at 7:30 a.m. The parade starts at 9 a.m. at Foster’s Freeze on Winton Way and ends at Ralston Park. The reviewing stand is on Third Street in front of the APC Hall. The festival at Ralston Park is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with entertainment from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Gates at Castle Airport open at 6 p.m. for the concert and fireworks show. Performing are the Whiskey Tones & Friends. Castle admission is $5 per carload; no walk-ins. Bring lawn chairs and blankets. Gates close at 9 for fireworks. (209) 358-2260. www.atwater4thofjuly.org.
Through Sunday, Memorial Park and Livingston High School – A carnival runs through Sunday. A festival starts Friday at 3 p.m. and includes live music, dancing and other entertainment; fireworks start at 9:15 p.m. at the high school. Saturday, there will be a parade of hot rods and classic cars downtown starting at 9 a.m. and a classic-car show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cooling stations will be available throughout. The Fourth of July festival and parade are free. (209) 277-1402. www.livingston4thofjuly.com.
Friday, 5 p.m. – The Los Banos Chamber of Commerce presents its 18th annual fireworks show with musicians, food, bounce houses and a free fireworks display. Gates open at 5 p.m., fireworks at dusk. Veterans Memorial Stadium, Pacheco High School, 200 Ward Road. Free. (209) 826-2495.
Friday, 11 a.m., Columbia State Historic Park, off Parrotts Ferry Road – Columbia’s Glorious Fourth of July Celebration begins with a flag-raising and cannon fire by the Columbia Foot Dragoons at 11 a.m., followed by a noon parade. After the parade will be a Great Mother Lode Brass & Reed Band concert, dancing in the street and contests popular in the early days of Columbia, including a greased-pole climb, bucket brigade, cake walk, nail-pounding, watermelon- and pie-eating, egg relay race and egg toss, and five-way tug of war. Tri-tip will be available for $8.50 adults, $5.50 children starting at 2 p.m. Admission is free; contests are $1 each. (209) 536-1672 or www.visitcolumbiacalifornia.com.
Friday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Railtown 1897 State Historic Park, at Fifth Avenue and Reservoir Road – Railtown offers rides, tours and more with three days of excursion trains. There will be live music Friday. $15 adults, $8 children 6-17 and kids under 5 free. (209) 984-3953. www.railtown1897.org.
Friday, 1 to 6 p.m., Utica Park – Old-Fashioned Fourth of July in Angels Camp features a patriotic picnic with music and a salute to veterans, old-fashioned games with prizes and trophies, and food. Admission is free, and a $10 barbecue dinner is available. (209) 736-1333. www.gocalaveras.com/calendar-of-events.
Saturday, 4:30 p.m., Ironstone Vineyards, 1894 Six Mile Road – The Independence Day Celebration at Ironstone Vineyards will feature family fun with live music, wine, food, bounce houses, climbing walls, jugglers and more. There will be performances by Shane Dwight, Uplands Drive and Jill Warren. Gates open at 4:30 p.m., fireworks begin at dark. Adults $10, children 6-12 $5, children 5 and under free. www.ironstonevineyards.com.
Friday, 3:30 p.m., Turner Park, 287 Treat Ave. – The community celebrates the Fourth with the Calaveras Community Band BBQ and Concert. Barbecue will be served from 3:30 to 6 p.m., and the concert begins at 6:30 p.m. There is barbecue barrel chicken, vegetable salad, linguica and beans, and garlic bread for $10. The concert includes patriotic favorites and 1940s swing tunes. Free admission. www.gocalaveras.com/calendar-of-events.
Friday, 7:30 a.m. – A veterans pancake breakfast in the town hall starts the day from 7:30 to 11 a.m. The parade is at 11 a.m., followed by activities, music and food in Shutter Tree Park. Mokelumne Hill has one of the oldest continuous July Fourth parades in the Mother Lode, with riders on horseback, antique cars and trucks, floats, cowboys and, as the finale, a display of fire engines and trucks. Free.