Go Fourth! | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Go Fourth!

A guide to statewide Independence Day festivities


Burlingtons Rock the Dock Celebration
  • courtesy of the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center
  • Burlington's Rock the Dock Celebration
Fireworks light up the state for the Fourth of July, but there’s more to these celebrations than smoke and lights. The festivities are a chance for families and neighbors to come together and commemorate the anniversary of our nation’s independence. Ready to party, patriot-style? Vermont towns host parades, street fairs, cookouts, concerts and even outhouse races. Read on to find the fun in your own hometown.

Thrill seekers watch racetrack action before a special fireworks show. July 4, 6:30 p.m., Thunder Road SpeedBowl. Info, 244-6963. thunderroadspeedbowl.com

Agricultural amusements — from a tractor pull to games on horseback — kick off the festivities. A grand parade at 3 p.m. leads from downtown to the Fairgrounds; fireworks follow at dusk. July 4, 8 a.m.-dusk, Orleans County Fairgrounds. Info, 525-3555. orleanscountyfair.net

Family fun kicks off on Friday with a food fest and street dance. Saturday festivities include karaoke, a bounce house, children's games, a 1 p.m. parade and afternoon music. Fireworks burst over the village at dusk. July 5, 5-10 p.m., and July 6, 11 a.m.-dusk, Central Park. Info, 247-6401. brandon.org

The small town celebrates the Fourth in a big way with live music, games, crafts and a bright lights show ending Wednesday evening with a bang. The Great Bristol Outhouse Race, a 5K road race and a themed parade extend the fun to Thursday. July 3, 6 p.m.-dusk, and July 4, 7:30 a.m., various downtown locations. Info, 453-5451. bristol4th.com

Revelers chow down at an outdoor barbecue and soak up the scenery from the chairlifts before an exciting display of sky bursts. July 5, 6:30 p.m., at Burke Mountain Ski Resort. Info, 626-7300. skiburke.com

Live bands and fun-filled activities — including an air show, obstacle course and bounce house — set the scene for spectacular fireworks over Lake Champlain. July 3, 3 p.m.-dusk; fireworks at 9:30 p.m., various waterfront locations. Info, 864-0123. enjoyburlington.com

Rock the Dock Celebration: Queen City sailors host a benefit for the CSC McConnell Scholarship Fund with prime lakeside seating, restaurant eats and DJ’d tunes. July 3, 6:30 p.m., Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center dock. $25-65. Info, 864-2499. communitysailingcenter.org

A Main Street parade leads to an afternoon of fun in the sun, including field games, a chicken barbecue and a dunk tank. July 4, 11 a.m., Cabot Recreation Field. Info, 563-9907.

Amateur athletes make strides at a fun run, then take in a Main Street parade and evening concerts before a fireworks finale at Bayside Beach. July 4, 8:15 a.m.-dusk, various locations. Info, 264-5640. colchestervt.gov

Independence Day makes a splash at the swimming pool. Other festivities include live music, a bounce castle, an obstacle course, circus acts and Super Nova Disc Dogs. July 4, 6 p.m.; fireworks at 9:30 p.m., Maple Street Park. Rain site: Essex High School ice rink. Info, 878-1375. ejrp.org

A two-mile parade route to the recreation park is followed by the always-popular Ducky Race, now in its 21st year. July 4, 1 p.m., Fairfax Community Park. Info, 849-2641. fairfaxrecreation.com

Grand Isle
Neighbors come together for potato-sack and three-legged races, a chicken barbecue, pie contests, pony rides and other blast-from-the-past celebrations. July 4, 1 p.m., Grand Isle Recreation Field. Info, 598-6533. champlainislands.com

“The Funky Fourth of July” features a lively parade at 10 a.m. and fireworks at dusk. July 6, 10 a.m.-dusk, various locations. Info, 533-7723. greensborovt.org

Warrens Fourth of July parade
  • courtesy of Jeff Knight
  • Warren's Fourth of July parade

Island Pond
Three days of festivities are jam-packed with a duck race, parade, music and fireworks. July 5-7, all day, at various locations. Info, islandpondchamber.org

Dinner, light fare and swimming precede magnificent sky blossoms. July 4, fireworks at dusk, Jay Village Inn & Restaurant. Info, 988-2306. jayvt.com

An old-fashioned town parade kicks off carnival-style entertainment and a frog-jumping contest. Head to Smugglers’ Notch Resort at 5 p.m. for the Firemen’s Barbecue on the Green, patriotic music by the Vermont National Guard 40th Army Band and fireworks in front of the Green Mountains. July 4, 10 a.m.-dusk, various locations. Info, 644-1118. smuggs.com

High spirits fly at this Fourth of July celebration, which includes a parade, barbecue potluck, pool party and nighttime fireworks. July 4, all day, Herbert I. Johnson Recreation Center. Info, 422-2105. discoverkillington.com

Popular blues artists steal the stage at the picnic-friendly Red, White & Blues Festival. The Adventure Zone will be open for trampoline bungee jumping, mini golf, zipline tours and more. July 6, 11:30 a.m., Okemo Mountain Resort. Info, 228-1947. okemo.com

A parade, music, magic, tethered hot-air balloon rides and chicken barbecue culminate in "the most spectacular fireworks display Milton has ever seen." July 4, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Bombardier Park. Info, 893-4077. milton250.org

Patriots catch street entertainment, circus arts, concerts on the Statehouse steps and a 6 p.m. parade. Downtown fills with bands and vendors before evening fireworks. July 3, 10 a.m.-10:45 p.m., downtown Montpelier. Info, 223-9604. montpelieralive.org

Bring your own picnic to this spirited shindig featuring music, entertainment, kids activities, food and, naturally, fireworks. Don’t miss the bed races down Main Street. July 4, noon-10:30 p.m., Gardner Memorial Park. Info, 334-6345. kingdomaquafest.com

North Hero
Sky bursts bloom after dark at a fireworks extravaganza in the middle of Lake Champlain. July 3, park opens at 10 a.m. for swimming and picnicking; fireworks at dusk, Knight Point State Park. Info, 372-8400. champlainislands.com

Folks reflect on American life in a themed promenade and street fest featuring unique floats, antique cars and live music. July 4, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Merchant's Row. Info, 728-9027. randolph-chamber.com

Patriots celebrate the nation’s birthday with the Independence Day Dash, supporting Pierce Hall’s renovation project. A colorful community parade follows at 11 a.m. July 4, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Rochester Park. Info, 767-3631. rochestervermont.org

Award-winning fireworks at 9:45 p.m. cap Summer Smash 2013, which includes carnival-style concessions and the Stoney Roberts Demolition Derby. July 4, 4:30 p.m.; fireworks at 9:45 p.m., Vermont State Fairgrounds. Info, 773-2747. rutlandvermont.com

St. Albans
Bay Day begins with the Great Race, a 3.1-mile run, 12-mile bike and 3-mile canoe race. Town celebrations continue with games in the park and a sparkling fireworks display at dusk. July 7, 9:45 a.m.-dusk, St. Albans Bay Park. Info, 524-2415. stalbanstown.com

For the 51st year, the church hosts an auction and bazaar, followed by a barbecue with all the fixings. July 4, 9 a.m., Shelburne United Methodist Church. Info, 985-3981.

South Hero
A colorful themed parade starts at the corner of Landon Road and South Street. July 4, 11 a.m., various locations. Info, 372-5566. champlainislands.com

This old-fashioned celebration starts with marching music in the Moscow parade. Face painting, music, clowns and food in the village follow from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The fun picks up at Mayo Farm at 6 p.m., with fireworks at dusk. July 4, 10 a.m.-dark, various locations. Info, 253-7321. gostowe.com or stowevibrancy.com

Folks ooh and ahh as fireworks illuminate the evening sky above the Red Mill Restaurant. July 3, 5-10 p.m., Basin Harbor Club. Info, 475-2311. basinharbor.com

This two-day soiree features a carnival atmosphere of clowns, a hypnotist show, lawn-tractor jousting, a parade, live music and more. June 28, 6-10 p.m., and June 29, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. with fireworks at dusk. Info, 760-8080. waterburynqid.com

Thousands don red, white and blue to attend one of the state’s largest parades. After, they head to Lincoln Peak for a barbecue, live music in Castlerock Pub and dazzling fireworks come nightfall. July 4, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., various locations. Info, 496-3409. madrivervalley.com

Beatles tribute band British Mania cover classic-pop hits on the green before a fireworks display. July 4, 6 p.m., Maple Tree Place. Info, 879-9100. shopmtp.com

Independence Day starts off on the right foot with a road race and kids fun run, followed by live music, a community cookout, a flag ceremony and booming fireworks. July 4, 7:30 a.m.-dusk, various locations. Info, 457-2500. unionarena.org

Old Vermont Fourth: Celebrate the Fourth the old-fashioned way — with patriotic speeches, wagon rides, ice-cream making and an egg toss. July 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Billings Farm & Museum. $3-12; free for kids under 3. Info, 457-2355. billingsfarm.org

Carolyn Fox
  • Carolyn Fox

This post was written by Kids VT managing editor Carolyn Fox.

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.