By Josette Keelor
Independence Day events are beginning early this year, starting Thursday with Winchester's Rockin' Independence Eve event, Front Royal's Independence Day celebration and Harrisonburg's Summer Jam at Massanutten Resort. Other area celebrations will be on Friday and Saturday.
Fireworks safety is important to remember at any celebration, and a new fireworks safety video from the Town of Front Royal and Warren County Fire & Rescue encourages the safe and legal use of fireworks. In the video, at http://tiny.cc/s2qdix, Sgt. Crystal Cline and Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico discuss fireworks safety. The video also can be found on the town's mobile app and Vimeo webpage.
Winchester's second Rockin' Independence Eve celebration will launch family friendly activities from 5 to 9:15 p.m. Thursday on the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall, ending the evening with fireworks launched from in front of Mount Hebron Cemetery and visible from locations in old town and along North Kent Street.
The goal is to build upon last year's event, which was a bigger success than expected, said Downtown Manager Jennifer Bell.
Last year, she said, "It was huge, it was wonderful. It really exceeded our expectation for a first-year event. Well over 5,000 people came out for it."
Musical entertainment will include Winchester singer Britani Myers, performing at 5:30 p.m., and the Christian Lopez Band of Martinsburg, West Virginia, at 7:30 p.m. The band features two-time American Idol Hollywood round finalist Christian Lopez.
Acoustic performers, a balloon artist, a magician and others also will canvass the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall throughout the evening. A Sons of Liberty colonial-era reenactor will talk on Fort Loudoun and answer questions about colonial times. The Winchester Art Market will offer local art for sale, Body Renew Fitness will give fitness tips, Big Brothers Big Sisters will have a football toss,and a "Show us your stars and stripes" costume contest will award prizes to visitors wearing red, white and blue.
Different this year, Bell said the Winchester Parking Authority has decided to close viewing of the fireworks from parking garages rooftops for safety reasons, instead closing off a portion of Kent Street for viewing between Boscawen Street and the George Washington Hotel parking garage.
"It will be held rain or shine," Bell said. "We're hoping for the best."
Information: 540-535-3661, http://tiny.cc/m7qdix
Front Royal's Independence Day Celebration at the Northern Virginia 4-H Educational Center, 600 4-H Center Drive, will feature The American Legion Community Band and Front Royal Oratorio Society performing patriotic music starting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday
A fireworks display will begin at dark. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. Information: 540-635-6828, www.alcband.org.
Massanutten Resort will hold its Summer Jam event rain or shine from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday, with music by JunkFood, Cazhmiere and the Travelin' Hillbillies.
Children's activities will include arts and crafts, face painting, a hoop dance and corn hole. A beer garden and wine also will be available. Fireworks will begin at 10 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults and free to children 7 and younger. No pets, coolers or outside food and beverages are permitted. Information: 540-607-0264, www.massresort.com/summerjam.
In Winchester, the 17th annual Liberty 5k and Kids Run will begin at 8 a.m. in Jim Barnett Park. The 5k course consists of a single loop around the park, through the grounds of Shenandoah University using roads and sidewalks, according to the event's website, svrunners.org. There will be a 45-minute time limit.
Awards will go to the top three men and women overall, the top three in various age groups, the first place runners in the 40 and older "masters" category, and first place "grand masters" 50 and over runners.
The Kids Mile & Fun Run, held after the 5k, is for children ages 6-12, with awards for the top two male and female runners in the following age groups: 6-8, 9-10 and 11-12. A 100-yard dash will be open to children ages 2-5. The top two runners in this race will win an award.
Entry fees for participants are $25 for all runners on race day. Children pay $15 for the Kids Run. T-shirts will be available on a first-come basis. Registration will be from 6:45 to 7:45 a.m. Thursday. Show up early to get a T-shirt.
Bicycles, skateboards, strollers, roller skates, inline skates, animals and radio headsets will not be allowed on the course.
Stephens City's Independence Day Celebration at Sherando Park will begin at 5 p.m. and include food, music and longer hours at the pool, which will remain open until 8 p.m. Fireworks will begin at dusk, and visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner or snacks. The event is free to the public, and parking will be available for free at Sherando High School.
Information: 540-722-8307, www.fcva.us
All town and county offices will be closed on the Fourth of July.
Strasburg will hold its Fourth of July festivities from 5 to 9 p.m. at the town park. Children's amusements will be free, except for pony rides. A food court will offer hamburgers, barbecue, hot dogs, Italian ice, kettle corn, ice cream, funnel cakes and more.
Music will be provided by John Richards and the Virginians, and the Cruise In of Classic Trucks & Cars will be sponsored by Valley Cruisers of Winchester.
Fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m., with a pool party to follow from 10 to 11:15 p.m. The pool party will charge $1 for anyone entering through the gate. Pool passes will not be accepted for the party. The rain date for the day's celebration will be Saturday.
For more information, call 540-465-9197 or visit www.strasburgva.com.
Woodstock's Independence Day fireworks display will be held at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds. Gates will open at 8:30 p.m., and fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m. Admission is free. The rain date will be at 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Information: 540-459-3621, townofwoodstockva.com
In Middletown, Independence Day will be a daylong celebration, beginning with a softball tournament from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Starting at noon, crafters, food vendors and children's games will keep families entertained until a parade at 5 p.m. The parade's grand marshal will be Sen. Jill H. Vogel, and Citizen of the Year is Joan Roche.
The Robbie Limon Band will perform from 6 p.m. until dusk, when fireworks will begin.
Events will take place at the Middletown Community Park, 7850 Senseny Ave., Middletown. Information: 540-869-2226, www.middletownva.gov.
In Berryville, The Bank of Clarke County will sponsor a fireworks display at the Clarke County Ruritan Fairgrounds. Festivities will begin at 6 p.m. with an old-fashioned family picnic and games at the fairgrounds, followed by a performance by The Clarke County Community Band at 8:30 p.m. Fireworks will begin at dusk.
In Harrisonburg, the full day festival Valley Fourth will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday.
A day of food, music and entertainment for the family will begin with the Valley Fourth Run, continue at noon with the reading of the Declaration of Independence. There will be puppet shows of "The Little Red Hen" at 11 a.m. and 1 and 4 p.m., and the Beers N' Cheers wine and beer garden will open at 4 p.m. Purchase tasting tickets for $5 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Turner Pavilion information booth.
Fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m. at the Turner Pavilion and Park. Bring a blanket and chairs. Information: 540-432-8909, www.downtownharrisonburg.org/valleyfourth.
In Luray, the Fourth of July celebration will begin with the Children's Parade in Inn Lawn Park at 10 a.m. and continue with activities including a rock climbing wall, carnival games, barrel train rides and a variety of food vendors from 3 to 8 p.m. Live music by Made in the USA will be from 7 to 9 p.m., and fireworks at dusk will end the evening with a bang. Information: 540-843-0770, townofluray.com
In Washington, D.C., , the annual National Independence Day Parade will begin at Constitution Avenue and 7th Street at 11:45 a.m., and end at 17th Street.
Fireworks will be held Friday night, with the recommended view from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Celebrating the country's 239th birthday will be an all-star salute led by two-time Emmy Award-winning television personality Tom Bergeron and a cast of performers. The show will be aired on PBS and NPR for those who can't attend. After the concert, Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" will announce the start of the fireworks.
The 15th Annual BryceFest at Bryce Resort in Basye will celebrate the holiday by offering vendors, food, a beer/wine garden and music by The Robbie Limon Band. Many of the resort's summer activities will operate throughout the day, including the new Mountain Bike Park. Fireworks will begin at dusk. Pets are welcome but must be on a leash, and pet owners must clean up after their pets. Admission is free. Information: 540-856-2121, bryceresort.com
Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or firstname.lastname@example.org