By Emily Metcalfe Smith
The 4th of July may fall on a Wednesday this year, but that’s no excuse to sit home and mope. Take advantage of this middle-of-the-week day off to celebrate our nation’s birthday at one of the many family-fun events around the Sound — from a quiet walk on the beach, to an interactive history tour to an out-and-out boom-fest, we’ve got the scoop on where to go. (See our calendar for even more, and email us if we missed something great.)
An old-fashioned Fourth
Norman Rockwell would be proud of these good ol’ fashioned family-friendly festivals and parades. Pack a chair, pick a spot roadside and get your baseball mitt ready to catch some flying candy.
The Grand Old Fourth on Bainbridge Island: This small-town festival is worth the ferry ride. It includes a pancake breakfast, an all-day street fair, foot races, a classic car show, a historic baseball game, music, food, entertainment, a beer garden, and the “Best Small Town Parade in America.” Family entertainment includes kids’ shows, pony rides, bouncy house, Big Purple Slide, miniature golf, the Kitsap Mounted Posse, and more. 7 a.m.–5 p.m. Parade 1 p.m.
Auburn 4th of July Festival: The day’s event at Les Gove Park includes a noon bike parade, various entertainment on two stages, a kids’ craft tent, an arts and craft grove with over 50 artists, a car show, eight inflatable rides, a rock wall, euro-bungee trampolines, bingo, mini golf, bocce, food concessions, and spray park. 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Old-Fashioned Fourth at Fort Worden Plus Fiddle Concert: For a small-town Fourth plus fantastic music, ferry and drive over to Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend. You can attend a fiddle concert at 1:30 p.m., featuring some of the best musicians in the country (Fort Worden hosts its annual "Fiddle Tunes" festival this week), followed by its "Old-Fashioned Fourth" celebration: kids' games and lawn pinball at 5 p.m., and a fireworks display at 10 p.m. Note: You'll need a Discover Pass to park, and there is a fee to attend the concert.
Everett Colors of Freedom Watch: World-class marching bands, dance & drill teams, giant puppets, stilt walkers, clowns and more. Enjoy a family picnic on the grassy bluff overlooking Port Gardner Bay. Free kids’ activities, a food fair, live music, and a stunning view of the fireworks over Port Gardner Bay. Parade 11 a.m. Thunder on the Bay Fireworks 10:20 p.m.
An Edmonds Kind of 4th: A fun run, a children’s parade and a main parade, the Edmonds Firefighters Waterball Competition, vendors and entertainment. If the weather is nice, spend some time exploring the waterfront; we give you lots of ideas for how to do that in this article. Children’s parade 11:30 a.m. Parade at noon. Fireworks at 10 p.m.
Bothell Freedom Festival: A pancake breakfast, a kids’ parade and a Grand Parade. This year they celebrate “Protecting Our Freedom — Recognizing Those Who Serve” as their theme to support the troops. Parade participants and attendees are encouraged to wear yellow ribbons. Children’s Parade 11:15 a.m.; Grand Parade at noon.
Issaquah’s Down Home Fourth of July: Follow the Kids, Pets ‘n Pride Parade to Veteran’s Memorial Park, where an afternoon of fun-tastic activities will unfold. Watch performers, participate in one-legged and sack races, bounce in the inflatables, try your hand at making butter or gobble it up in the pie-eating contest. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If you just have to have the whole red-white-n-blue experience, you have to get in on some spectacular fireworks. Here’s where they’re blasting off this year.
Family 4th at Lake Union: Seattle’s big bash has been a tradition for nearly 25 years. This year, the Family 4th is collaborating with the Wooden Boat Festival to organize festivities at both Gas Works Park and Lake Union Park, with live music, a broadcast of the National Anthem and synchronized fireworks soundtrack at both parks. Gas Works Park opens at noon. Lake Union Park opens at 10 a.m. for the Wooden Boat Festival. Fireworks at 10 p.m.
Symetra Bellevue Family 4th. The Eastside’s biggest celebration, held at Downtown Park. For kids, there is a Family Fun Zone with inflatables, a bungee trampoline, candy art, face art and more. Plus, live music and, of course, a large and spectacular fireworks show set to live performance by the Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra. 2–10:30 p.m.
Fourth on the Plateau: Celebrate at the Commons Park in Sammamish. Festivities begin in the early evening, with a kid zone and a variety of activities and games, food and beverages from local vendors, and live music. 6–10:15 p.m. Fireworks at 10:15 p.m.
Celebrate Kirkland: Kirkland's Fourth is another event that combines lots of family-friendly and fireworks. There's a children's walking parade at 11:30 a.m. (start decorating at 10 a.m.), an "old-fashioned parade" at noon, fireworks plus music at 5 p.m., then a fireworks display off Marina Park at 10:10 p.m.
Log Boom Park: Bring a flashlight and seating to the fireworks display at Log Boom Park in Kenmore. Fireworks start at 10 p.m.
Tumwater’s 25th Annual Independence Day Celebration: The parade’s theme is “Four-Legged Fourth.” Tumwater PD’s own K-9 Otis will be the Grand Marshal. The Artesian Family Festival and Thunder Valley Fireworks Show will be held at the golf course driving range. Music, food, games and more! Parade 11 a.m. Gates open at 6 p.m. Fireworks at 10:15 p.m.
Kent’s 14th Annual Fourth of July Splash: The Band of the Golden West will perform at Lake Meridian Park. Fireworks will light up the sky over Lake Meridian following the concert.
Renton’s Fabulous Fourth of July celebration at Gene Coulon Memorial Park includes kids’ activities like inflatables and face painting, and entertainment all day. Noon–10 p.m.
Tacoma Freedom Fair. The south Sound’s biggest Fourth celebration covers two miles of the Ruston Way waterfront and includes six live entertainment performance areas, an air show, car show, the Lost Boys Pirates Cove and bouncies for the kids, and an open-air market and international food court. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
A musical Fourth
4th of July Concert at the Locks. They’re moving water and moving feet with a special concert by the Seattle Civic Marching Band at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. 2 p.m.
Woodinville’s Free Concert at Wilmot Gateway Park: An afternoon of good music and good food from The Box, Mocha Medic, and POP! Gourmet Popcorn. Featured bands include the Brian Butler Blues Band bringing a mix of blues, pop, soul, Latin, jazz band fusion, and rockin' blues and The Freckles Brown Band with their original and classic rock sounds. 1:30–7 p.m.
Boats, beaches, history and civics
Want an alternative to things that go boom in the night? Check out these other options:
The Wooden Boat Festival, sponsored by One Reel, runs for five days at Lake Union and culminates on the Fourth, in collaboration with the Family 4th at Lake Union. Enjoy live music, a Microbrew Festival, 200 wooden boats ranging from rowing dinghies to the 133-foot classical schooner Adventuress. Board dozens of historic sailing and rowing vessels from the CWB collection and historic private vessels brought to the show by their proud owners. Rent a classic rowboat or take a free steam or sail ride. On Wednesday, July 4, stake out your patch of grass and watch the fireworks! June 30–July 4.
The Cheshiahud Challenge: As part of the many festivities at Lake Union on the Fourth, MOHAI and One Reel are organizing an interactive, family-friendly history trivia tour of Lake Union. Walk or bike your way around Lake Union on the six-mile Cheshiahud Loop to visit 15 historic places, answer a trivia question at each place and record your answers on a game map. Complete the Cheshiahud Challenge and be entered to win a Grand Prize — two 3-Day Gold Passes to Bumbershoot! Download the official game map here. Noon–6 p.m.
Children's Museum Fourth: The Children's Museum in Seattle is open for the Fourth and a great place for wearing 'em out before other festivities, especially if it's raining. It's open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. with many activities, including pop-pom and windsock making.
Low-tide nature walk: Local beaches will experience some of the lowest tides of the year around the Fourth, and Seattle Aquarium Beach Naturalists will be on hand at area beach favorites, including Richmond Beach, Carkeek Park, Golden Gardens, South Alki, Lincoln Park, Seahurst and Des Moines beaches, for onsite tutoring about critters like anemones and moon snails, and beach ecology. 10:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Naturalization ceremony at Seattle Center: The Ethnic Heritage Council hosts the event in which the Honorable Richard C. Tallman, U.S. Circuit Court Judge, swears in over 500 candidates from more than 80 countries as new citizens of the United States of America. The ceremony will include speeches by United States Senator Maria Cantwell, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed, U.S. Representative Jim McDermott, with Seattle City Mayor Mike McGinn as Master of Ceremonies. 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
An active Fourth
Free swims in Tacoma: Tacoma’s Kandle Pool and Stewart Heights Pool are offering free swimming. Noon–5 p.m.
Fire & Ice skate: Chill out on the ice before and after the parade in downtown Everett. Comcast Community Ice Rink is offering a discounted public skating rate of $4. 8:15 a.m.–4:45 p.m.