By Josette Keelor -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Opportunities to celebrate Independence Day last for more than a week, with music, family friendly fun and fireworks lighting up the valley.
- Begin the festivities this weekend with 4th of July festivities at North Mountain Vineyard & Winery, featuring live music by Rhonda Sager & Doug Arthur from 2 to 5 p.m. and by Rick Burnette & Bill Foster, from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 436-9463 or visit www.northmountainvineyard.com.
- Summer Jam at Massanutten Resort will return for the 17th time at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Sons of Bill, out of Charlottesville, will take the stage first using their style of blues infused with rock and roll, followed by Bryan Elijah Smith and The Wildhearts.
Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band will headline the event, with a unique sound that sometimes includes flaming washboards.
Summer Jam will end with fireworks at 10 p.m. from the top of Massanutten Peak. The event also will include food, a hoop dance by the RVA Hoop Lovers and children's activities like face painting, a petting zoo, a rock climbing wall and tee-shirt coloring.
All proceeds of Summer Jam will go to the Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online and printed at home through Monday at www.massresort.com/summerjam. The ticket price will rise to $25 the day of the event. Children 8 and under will get in free.
- In Warren County, Wednesday's events begin with a river float at 9:30 a.m. at Shenandoah River State Park, at 350 Daughter of Stars Dr., in Bentonville. Join staff for a relaxing kayak float down the Shenandoah River. The launching point is the Brown's Cabin in the park.
The trip will be about two miles and take about an hour so please wear sunscreen and bring water to drink. Water shoes should be worn, as you may get wet.
Minimum age for the trip is 6 years old. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. There will be two people per kayak. Space is limited to 14 people and seven kayaks so please call the Visitor Center at 540-622-6840 at least a day in advance to make your reservation. The cost for the float is $11 per person, and Shenandoah River State Park will provide the kayaks.
There is no kayak experience necessary and this trip will be relaxing with no strenuous or difficult areas.
For general park information go to www.virginiastateparks.gov, contact the park office at 540-622-6840 or email Shenandoah River State Park at email@example.com.
- In Shenandoah County, area fireworks displays include the Town of Woodstock display by Fireworks Extravaganza Inc. at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds, lasting about 40 minutes. The gates will open to the public at 8:30 p.m. The fireworks will start at 9:30 p.m. The rain date is Saturday, July 7 at 9:30 p.m.
- The Town of Strasburg will have its celebration from 4 to 11:30 p.m. at the town park, with games, food and fireworks. For more information, visit http://strasburgva.com.
- The Town of Middletown will celebrate its July 4th Celebration event at the Middletown Town Park beginning with a sofball tournament at 8:30 a.m. in the park and a children's carnival, crafts fair and farmer's market.
A parade will begin at 4 p.m. and will hit Main Street, 5th Street, and Church Street. Following the parade, there will be food, games, children's carnival, horse-drawn carriage rides, live music by The Instigators, and fireworks at dusk.
For more details, registration forms, and the complete schedule of events, please go to www.middletownfire.com/4thofjuly
But the party doesn't end with the fireworks grand finale.
Next weekend, Brycefest will take place from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. On the Front Lawn Stage, Wes Iseli, Magician Extraordinaire will perform twice, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The band Word of Mouth will make its debut in a concert from noon to 12:45 p.m., followed by Chordwood from 1 to 4 p.m. and DryMill Road from 4:15 to 7 p.m.
At the Ski Slope Deck Stage, the Robbie Limon Band will perform from 7 to 10 p.m.
Admission and parking are free, and arts and crafts vendors will be on site. The night will end with fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
For more information, visit bryceresort.com.
The Forest Service has issued a reminder that the use of fireworks is prohibited on all national forests and national grasslands.
Fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are prohibited on national forests and grasslands year-round, regardless of weather conditions or holidays. Regulations are enforced and a violation is punishable, as a misdemeanor, by a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment of not more than six months, or both.
Forest visitors are reminded to ensure that all fires are extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving them.