Get ready for a weekend full of revelry as the Tri-Cities helps mark America's 234th birthday July 4 with festivals, parades and lots of fireworks.
New to this year's Independence Day festivities is Richland's centennial celebration.
Festivities in Pasco begin at 3 p.m. July 2 with an Independence Day Car Show with everything from vintage to modern vehicles in the parking lot at TRAC, off Interstate 182 at Road 68. There's a $20 registration fee to participate in the car show.
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"The last two years we've had this more than 200 cars were in the show and they come from all over the Northwest," said event coordinator Rick Long. "We expect to exceed that number this year."
A barbecue will be held with the car show from 5 to 7 p.m. for $5. A deejay will play '50s and '60s music from 7 to 9 p.m. Then a free outdoor family movie will be shown at dusk with free popcorn and Pepsi provided.
The car show begins again at 8 a.m. on Saturday and continues until the awards presentation at 2 p.m. There will be slow drags, cinder block blow-ups and more rock 'n' roll music during the day.
Also Saturday, the Grand Old 4th festivities organized by the city of Pasco Parks & Rec Department begin with a $5 pancake breakfast starting at 7 a.m. in Memorial Park at 14th Avenue and Clark Street. Chow will be served until noon.
At 10 a.m. the parade starts in front of the Franklin County Courthouse at Fourth Avenue and Sylvester Street and ends near Memorial Park. Grand marshal of this year's parade is retired Superior Court Judge Duane Tabor.
On Sunday, July 4 festivities begin at 7 p.m. at Dust Devils Stadium next to TRAC. The evening starts with music provided by the Spokane Drum & Bugle Corps and That '80s Show band, a Seattle band that plays nothing but 1980s tunes. The fireworks show starts at dusk, around 10 p.m.
There is no admission fee to any Pasco Grand Old 4th events.
The River of Fire festival, organized by the Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, offers a July 4th full of family fun at Columbia Park with music, bounce houses for the kids, commercial vendors, food and crafts booths and a fireworks extravaganza launched from a Tidewater barge in the middle of the Columbia River.
Admission to Columbia Park is $7 a carload. No alcohol is allowed in the park, and personal fireworks also are prohibited.
"We'll have maps and music schedules available at the park," said Roland Thompson, with the organizing committee. "There also will be cardboard boat races from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the lagoon."
Prebuilt boats will be on display and the public is invited to vote for their favorite boat, said Mike Blatman, crime prevention specialist for the Kennewick Police Department.
The build-a-boat competition starts at 8 a.m. Participants will get a boat kit made up of four pieces of corrugated cardboard, a roll of duct tape and a bottle of Elmer’s glue, Blatman said.
“They’ll have until 10:30 a.m. to build and decorate the boat and then race against others.”
The entry fee is $35. and includes the boat building materials. Proceeds will go to the Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers reward fund.
The cardboard races themselves start at 10 a.m. and will be divided into adult and youth categories.
There will be entertainment throughout the day on the outdoor stage near the Playground of Dreams.
Music begins at noon with an opening ceremony with Prosser vocalist Adrienne Bousquet singing the National Anthem.
At 12:30 p.m. Pigeon Fist alternative rock band performs, followed by the Dara Quinn Project at 1:30 p.m.
Then at 2:30 p.m. the 17 South classic rock band will perform, followed by Andrew Vait & The Eternal Fair pop/rock group. Beau Stephenson plays at 4:30 p.m., with Allen Stone's acoustic soul performance at 5:30 p.m.
Run for Cover rock band plays at 6:30 p.m., and Goodnight Argent with Chase Thompson performs at 7:30 p.m..
Special guest Andrew Belle, who recently won MTV's best new artist award, performs at 8:30 p.m. He also is the 2009 recipient of the Lennon Award for pop music.
Adrienne Bousquet wraps up the evening's music at 9:30 p.m.
The fireworks show starts at 10 p.m.
Organizers plan to blast off $20,000 of fireworks over the river to cap the night.
Richland's festivities begin at noon at Howard Amon Park at Lee Boulevard and George Washington Way.
There will be patriotic music concerts throughout the afternoon, with conductor Larry Bunch leading the Old Fashioned Concert Band and the OverForte Quartet providing barbershop harmony.
Free hot dogs and beverages will be provided to the first 2,000 people at the park.
Perhaps the coolest and most historically significant part of the July 4th celebration in Richland will be the city's dedication of the Amon Park Arch, said organizer Burt Pierard.
The original 1912 arch, which served as a gateway to Amon Park, was destroyed in 1943 by the federal government. Through grants and donations, the city's centennial committee has been able to recreate the $30,000 arch, which will be unveiled July 4.
The ceremony will give visitors an interesting glimpse into Richland's past. They will learn how Howard Amon Park was on the verge of being destroyed until family member Alfred Amon sat down in protest in front of a bulldozer to prevent the park from being flattened, Pierard said.
"You could call him the original tree hugger," he joked.
The pioneer Amon family had planted every tree in Howard Amon Park in the early part of last century, but when the government took over the town during World War II it attempted to flatten the park for reasons no one is really sure of, Pierard said.
What the government didn't know, however, was the Amon family had a provision written up that protected the park from any kind of destruction.
The dedication starts at 5:45 p.m. There is no admission fee.
The Mid-Columbia Mastersingers perform a patriotic concert starting at 7 p.m. July 2 in the gazebo at Flat Top Park on Bombing Range Road.
Admission is free.
Prosser's Old Fashioned 4th of July celebration starts with a car show at 10:30 a.m. July 4 at City Park.
There also will be games for all ages starting at noon that will include old-fashioned favorites like sack races, three-legged races and pie eating contests.
Food and beverage booths will be open from noon to 3 p.m. and there will be a kiddies parade starting at 1 p.m. in front of the courthouse on Market Street and ending at City Park.
A performance by soloist Dale Brown is set for 1:15 p.m., and the Little Junior Miss and Little Miss Prosser contests start at 2 p.m., both at City Park at Seventh and Sommers avenues.
The fireworks display starts at dusk at Art Fiker Stadium a few blocks from City Park. There is no admission to any event.
Stanfield also is celebrating its centennial along with the country's birthday July 3-4 with events both days.
There will be a steak feed at 7 p.m. July 3 followed by live music by Hired Guns. Cost is $19.95 for adults and $9.95 for kids.
On July 4 the fun starts with a fireman's breakfast at the Stanfield community center. Cost is $4.50.
The parade starts at 10 a.m. on North Sherman Street and goes through the middle of town.
Daytime activities are centered at Bard Park at Harding Street and Highway 395, where there will be magic acts, Tae Kwon Do exhibitions, dancing and music. The fireworks show starts at dusk and can be viewed from Bard Park. There is no cost.
The historic Maryhill Museum of Art will celebrate Independence Day with a family-friendly outing that includes kids'' activities, a laser light show at dusk, picnic, live music, craft workshops and more.
There is no admission to the museum that day and events start at 5 p.m.
The museum is at 35 Maryhill Museum Drive, off Highway 14 in Washington across the Columbia River from Biggs, Ore.
* Dori O'Neal: 509-582-1514; email@example.com