Independence Day falls mid-week this year which might mean you’re in the mood for less planning. Check out our list for picnics where you can have your plate of barbecue, or hike to an overlook for a hot dog roast. Or maybe you’re on summer vacay and you’d like to make a day of it. Rest assured, you can wave your flag from dawn to dark thanks to races, parades, festivals and fireworks displays.
All events are on Wednesday, July 4, unless otherwise noted.
The Ingles Independence Day Celebration takes over downtown Asheville's Pack Square Park from 4-10 p.m. Plan on family-friendly activities, live music, food vendors and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. http://www.ashevillenc.gov/Departments/ParksRecreation.aspx.
Want to get even more all-American? Local baseball team Asheville Tourists play a home game against the Augusta GreenJackets at 7:05 p.m. Afterwards, Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministries presents a fireworks display. Advance tickets are $10. http://asheville.tourists.milb.com.
Black Mountain, Montreat and Swannanoa
Forget the running shoes and slip on your majorette boots: Montreat hosts a parade at 10:30 a.m. and neighboring Black Mountain has a celebration with fireworks planned, beginning at 7 p.m. Info at http://www.blackmountain.org/calendar.php. Need a little pre-picnic exercise? The Swannanoa Valley Museum leads its annual fireworks hike. Climb Sunset Mountain to view the pyrotechnics; enjoy a hot dog roast and fresh watermelon. 6-10 p.m., $35 for non-members or $20 for members. Register at http://www.swannanoavalleymuseum.org.
Brevard's annual Fourth of July Celebration, held in the heart of downtown, begins at 8 a.m. with the Firecracker 5K and 10K races (registration is $30 for the 5K and $35 for the 10K). Events throughout the day include the Transylvania Community Arts Council's 40th annual Fine Arts & Crafts Showcase, a classic-car show and music from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. with acts like Pyramid Brass, Deano and the Dreamers, A Dead Masquerade and more. The Fourth of July Parade starts marching at 1:30 p.m.; there's also a hot dog eating contest, a pet show, kids’ activities and more. The day culminates with the annual Brevard Fourth of July fireworks at 9:30 p.m. on the Brevard College campus. http://brevardnc.org/july-4th-celebration.
Live cannons are a July Fourth tradition and Brevard Music Center, 349 Andante Lane, will celebrate Independence Day with a bang. The Pendergrast Family Patriotic Pops concert will feature the Transylvania Symphonic Band and the Brevard Community Band performing Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" and other seasonal favorites. The concert starts at 2 p.m. and concert-goers can sit inside or enjoy the music under the stars. $20-$30 inside; $15 on the lawn (free for students). Info: http://www.brevardmusic.org.
Rubber duckies will float down Kings Creek near Brevard College at a benefit duck race to raise money for the Transylvania Community Arts Council's Kreative Kids Art program. On July 4 at 5 p.m., the public is invited to adopt a rubber duck and launch it down the river (no cages, cleanup or vet visits required). The plastic fowl won't just splash around; they're in stiff competition. Whoever releases the fastest duck can win up to $250 in prizes from local merchants. Adopt a duck in advance at the TC Arts Council, 349 S. Caldwell St. in Brevard, or call 884-2787. $5 per duck or $25 for a flock of six.
Cashiers Mountain Music Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday, June 30 and July 1. Bands include Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, The Tony Rice Unit, Acoustic Syndicate and Balsam Range, among others. Tickets are $25 for one day or $40 for both days. Fireworks happen at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday. http://www.cashiersnorthcarolina.com/cmmf.
Cherokee and Maggie Valley
Even when neighboring towns do without fireworks, Cherokee’s Annual Fourth of July display, held at the Acquoni Expo Center, proves as dependable as soaring summer temps and hand-cracked nice cream. This year is no exception: Watch the show at dark. http://visitcherokeenc.com.
Maggie Valley's Red White & Boom! is a free family fun event held at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds. Games, pony rides, a petting zoo, a bounce house, live entertainment, food, crafts and fireworks are all part of the free celebration, from 2-11 p.m. http://www.maggievalleyfestivalgrounds.org.
The Blue Ridge Cowboy Church, ("If you like the cowboy culture, you'll love the cowboy church!" And, "you don't have to be a cowboy to attend.") holds Let Freedom Ring, a patriotic-themed Independence Day celebration, at the WNC Agriculture Center's Sale Barn (1301 Fanning Bridge Road, Fletcher). Tuesday, July 3, 7-8 p.m.
The Fourth of July Parade through historic Downtown Franklin starts at 10 a.m. At 2:30 p.m., Stars & Stripes Forever, starring Linda Gentille and the American Big Band, takes place at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $13-$16. Info at http://www.greatmountainmusic.com.
Or, just spend the whole day at the Macon County Veteran's Memorial Recreational Park on U.S. 441 South. Contests, food, games, music and "WNC's largest fireworks display" take place from 3 p.m. till dark. Info at http://www.franklin-chamber.com.
The Independence Day Parade makes its way down Main Street at 11 a.m. Later in the day, the 14th annual Music on Main Street series offers up a Fourth of July concert featuring Tom Brown One Man Band. Do bring a chair; don't bring pets, alcohol or coolers to the Visitor's Information Center at 201 Main St. The evening ends with a fireworks display. Info at http://www.historichendersonville.org/july.htm.
Marion, Old Fort and Little Switzerland
McDowell County holds a number of Independence Day events. Feeling sporty? There's the Catawba Inner Tube Regatta (which also raises awareness and funds for the McDowell Trails Association). Here's what you do: "Bring your tubes, decorate them and yourself and float down the beautiful Catawba River" — $10 for individual entries and $25 per four-person team — and also hang out for games, prizes and food. Held at the Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Info at http://www.mcdowellnc.org.
Then, there's the annual July Fourth Barbecue and Covered Dish Dinner: A day filled with music, storytelling and hayrides at the The Orchard at Altapass, Milepost 328.3 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Little Switzerland. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. http://www.altapassorchard.com.
Downtown Little Switzerland holds its annual Fourth of July parade (this year's theme is "Flags … Let 'em Fly!"). 4-5 p.m.; info at http://www.mcdowellnc.org.
In Marion, festivities run from 6-10 p.m. There's a parade, a street dance and fireworks at 9:45 p.m. http://www.mcdowellnc.org.
Finally, strike it rich (festivity-wise) at the Lucky Strike Mine Celebration at the Lucky Strike Gold Mine in Marion. For $8 you get a barbecue plate along with live music and fireworks. 7-10 p.m. Reservations at 738-4893, info at http://www.luckystrikegoldandgem.com.
The Stars and Stripes Celebration promises plenty of small-town charm. Shops and restaurants are open with sidewalk sales, and there's live music, entertainment and refreshments. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. in downtown Waynesville. http://www.downtownwaynesville.com
Fourth of July in Weaverville also begins with a race: The 19th annual Firecracker 5K starts at 8 a.m. and benefits the The Kiwanis Club of North Buncombe. Held at PNC Bank (81 Weaver Blvd., Weaverville); entry fee is $25. Info at http://www.northbuncombekiwanis.org.
Later in the day (5 p.m.), the Fire on the Lake Music Festival takes place at Lake Louise with performances by Cripps Puppets, Moses Atwood, Glory on the Floor and David Holt and the Lightening Bolts, followed by fireworks. http://www.weavervillenc.org.
— Alli Marshall can be reached at email@example.com.