Big bang theory: Where to spend your Fourth of July

Wave the flag: There’s something for kids of all ages at Independence Day celebrations throughout WNC. Courtesy of Transylvania County Tourism Development. Photo by Mike Belleme.

From fireworks to festivals, from water sports to watermelon, from road races to hot rods, we’ve got a Fourth of July celebration for pretty much every kind of Independence Day reveler. All events are on Thursday, July 4, unless otherwise noted. For more ideas, visit Clubland, Calendar and

Carnavalito returns. Now in its second year, the festival, curated by Toubab Krewe, takes place at Pisgah Brewery. Sol Driven Train, The Broadcast, DJ Camaro and more will perform on the outdoor stage, beginning at 3 p.m. Advance ticket holders are also invited to a special intimate set by Toubab Krewe on Pisgah's indoor stage on July 3 at 9 p.m. Shuttles run between Asheville and Pisgah both days and the nearby KOA offers a discounted rate to festival attendees. Tickets are $12 advance/$15 day of show for July 3 only; $18/$22 for July 4. VIP tickets are $50 and include a brewery tour and special seating. $1 from each ticket goes to Toubab Krewe's charity — working to build a music school in Bamako, Mali.

The annual Red, White and Bluegrass Festival runs through Independence Day at Catawba Meadows Park in Morganton. While alcohol, smoking and pets are prohibited, there's plenty to keep you busy: There's a bluegrass camp for kids (Steep Canyon Rangers host on July 3) and a packed daily music roster. On July 4, the lineup includes The Idle Time Band, Most Wanted Bluegrass, Moore Brothers Band, Tone Blazers, Audie Blaylock & Redline, David Peterson & Old Time Country, Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers and a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. Daily admission is $35 at the gate. July 4 is free.

Hit it out of the park with an evening of fireworks and baseball. The Asheville Tourists play a double header at 7:05 p.m. on McCormick Field, followed by a fireworks display. Advance tickets are recommended. $4-$10. If old-fashioned baseball is more your style, spend the night with the Forest City Owls at McNair Field in Forest City. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. and fireworks explode at dusk. $6.

Brevard goes all out, all day, beginning with a 5k/10k Firecracker race. During the day there's the annual Fine Arts & Craft Showcase, the Classic Automobile Show and live music on stage at the Courthouse Gazebo. Stay for a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.

Make a day of it with a covered-dish picnic and live music at the Orchard at Altapass on Blue Ridge Parkway. Free. admission $10 for the meal, or bring a dish to share; the Orchard provides barbecue, water, iced tea and paper goods. 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Covered dish picnic open to all.

Head to Waynesville for The Stars and Stripes daytime celebration along Main Street with music and sidewalk sales. Bring the children for a “Kids on Main” parade, a cookout on Main Street and music on the courthouse lawn. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Bite into a slice of watermelon, see the annual soapbox derby and race your friends in a pie-eating contest at Rutherfordton’s July Fourth celebration. Downtown will be filled with live music and vendors starting at 1 p.m. and fireworks begin at dusk. Free.

Join in a community picnic on the grounds of Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort between 1 and 3 p.m. Bring your food, drinks, chairs or blankets and family to enjoy the shaded landscape bordering picturesque Mill Creek. An Independence Day Parade begins at 4 p.m. on Catawba Avenue.

When it comes to an Independence Day soundtrack, the Brevard Music Center Festival is a good bet. Transylvania Symphonic Band presents the Pendergrast Family Patriotic Pops Concert at 2 p.m. The program includes marches and patriotic songs and ends with the 1812 Overture, complete with live cannon. $30/$25/$20 or $15 for the lawn.

Looking for family fun, fireworks and live music? You don’t have to head any farther than downtown Asheville. The Ingles Fourth of July Celebration takes over Pack Square Park starting at 4 p.m. Come for the live music, old-fashioned games and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Free.

The Fourth of July in Dillsboro is all about games: checkers, horseshoes, corn hole and more. Entertainment on the main stage (at the intersection of Church and Front Streets) starts at 5 p.m. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Stay for fireworks at dark from Harrison Quarry.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a picnic to Lake Julian. Fireworks start at dark; pre-game with grilling, volleyball, horseshoes and boating. Park at Estes Elementary School on Long Shoals Road. Free celebration.

View fireworks from the peak of Sunset Mountain on the annual Black Mountain fireworks hike. Meet in parking lot of Black Mountain Savings Bank, 200 E. State St. at 6 p.m. Bring dinner, water, folding chair, flashlight, poncho and warm clothes. The hike is moderate-to-easy. $20 for members of the Swannanoa Valley Museum, $35 for non-members. To register, call 669-9566 or email

Or keep your Black Mountain Fourth of July on level ground: Nearby Montreat hosts a parade at 10:30 a.m. (barbecue lunch at noon is $10). Black Mountain offers up family fun and fireworks beginning at 7 p.m.

“Celebrate the immortal monster that is God Bless America with a night full of hazy textures, hard rhythms, and post-acid bliss,” says the invite for Apothecary’s Fourth of July Bash. The lineup includes local electronic/ambient composer dep, desecrated dance act Páciens Trine, psych-pop band Moon Jelly and Orlando-based cellphone band Zenas Fisk. 8 p.m., $3-$5.

Follow the red balloon, launched on the morning of July 4, to ensure a good seat for Hendersonville’s fireworks display that night. The best place to hear the booms is on the south side of town near Highway 25 and Highway 276. After you secure your seat, enjoy music, hot dogs, drinks and ice cream in front of the Henderson County Courthouse on Main Street. Info: 694-1619.

Road trip! More fireworks worth making a drive for: at dark at Macon County Veteran’s Memorial Rec Park, U.S. 441 South in Franklin; at sundown from the shores of Lake Lure; at sundown at Lake Louise in Weaverville; at 10 p.m. at Maggie Valley Festival Grounds (as part of Maggie Valley’s free Red White & Boom, from 2-11p.m.); at dark as part of Cherokee’s Annual Fourth of July Fireworks display, held at the Acquoni Expo Center; the beach at Lake Lure at 8 p.m.

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