Spending the Fourth of July in the Midwest is a very enjoyable experience. Charming small towns and bigger cities make sure that the celebration is fun and family-friendly. If you’re planning to visit Michigan during the Fourth of July weekend or you happen to live in the state, plan your long weekend around one of these great parades around the state.
4th Of July Parades Worth Seeing In Michigan
1. Ludington Freedom Festival
This festival has been held in Ludington since 1874! The fun begins the day before, on July 3rd, with the children and pet parade. Local children decorate their wagons or bikes, and dress the family pet in red, white, and blue. Categories are Most Creative, Most Original, Most Patriotic, and Best Costume. Line-up is at 6pm at the corner of Ferry and Loomis. The Grand Parade starts at 2pm on July 4th and features floats, bands, politicians, local residents, and of course, the Scottville Clown Band. Thousands line Ludington Avenue to watch this hometown parade and celebrate our nation's birthday. Starting around 10:30pm pick your favorite viewing site for the annual 4th of July fireworks. Don't worry if it's packed because anywhere you see water, you'll see the fireworks! Held in conjunction with Freedom Festival activities is the West Shore Art Fair open Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday from 10am-4pm in Rotary Park. This shopper's paradise is filled with one-of-a-kind paintings, jewelry, photographs, clothing, handmade items and more.
2. Leland July 4th Celebration
Kick off your July 4th celebration with a Patriotic Sing-Along at the Village Green at 8pm the night before. Be sure to stick around because the fireworks start at dusk at Hancock Field and Park. July 4th is packed with fun too. If you didn't get a chance to decorate your bike beforehand, stop by the Old Art Building between 1 and 3pm. Your kids will love turning their bike into a patriotic masterpiece and the best part? Decorations are supplied! While you're there, enjoy the music from the Concert on the Lawn, also from 1-3 at the Old Art Building Lawn. Once you're done there, hop on over to main street to enjoy the big parade. It starts at 3pm.
3. Frankfort 4th of July Fireworks and Celebration
Parade, Art in the Park, Sand Castle Sculpture Contest, fireworks - these are just a few of the festivities offered at the Frankfort 4th of July Fireworks and Celebration! The parade begins at 10am, starting on Main St, turning down 7th Street and continuing down Forest Ave. to Michigan Avenue and then back up Main St! Art in the Park also starts at 10am in Mineral Springs Park. The Carnival also opens at 10am, but if you're rather go to the parade, the Carnival is actually open for three days from July 1st through 4th. The festivities continue at noon for the Sand Castle Sculpture Contest at Frankfort Beach. Finish the day with amazing fireworks at the beach. They start at dusk which is usually around 10:30pm!
4. Harbor Springs Fourth of July
The City of Harbor Springs works hard every year to bring you a series of spectacular patriotic events on this special day of celebration, starting with the Fourth of July Art Fair. This free event is held each year in Zorn Park across from the city beach on Bay Street from 10am - 5pm. Next is the Paul Revere 3 Mile and 10 Mile Run. This special race raises proceeds for the Harbor Springs High School Track and Cross Country Teams. The Fourth of July Parade starts at 1pm at Zoll and Main Streets and heads west on Main to State Street, then down to Bay Street where it winds back east to Zoll Street. Excellent viewing spots are available all along Main, State and Bay Streets.
After the parade, enjoy the march of the bagpipers as they make their way down Bay Street and march right through Stafford's Pier Restaurant before a brief dining room concert. For more free, live entertainment, check out Young Americans Perform Live! at Shay Park. Beginning at 3pm is a performance by the ever talented Young Americans to celebrate the fabric of our community and the birth of our Nation. Dancing encouraged! Finally comes the "Crown Jewel of the North," Fireworks over the Harbor. There's nothing better than sitting in the grass on a warm July evening and watching the bright lights of the annual fireworks display. Fireworks begin just after dusk around 10pm.
5. Boyne City 4th of July
Start off the morning with the 40th Annual Independence Day Run Race Registration. The 2-mile and 10k races along the edge of Lake Charlevoix. At 9am watch the kids line up for the Children's Bike and Costume parade at the Early Childhood Development Center playground. Judging starts at 9:30 sharp! At 10am the Grand Parade begins at corner of East and Water Streets, proceeds west on Water Street to Lake Street, then north on Lake, ending at Glen's Market. At 2:30pm, join the fun at the Boyne Chamber's 28th Annual Duck Race in the Boyne River and compete for a chance to win $1,000, $250, $100, and seven $50 prizes.. At 10:30pm come the fireworks over Lake Charlevoix. Other fun events throughout the day are the Annual Waterside Arts & Craft Show, the Boyne City Rotary Club Chicken Barbecue, and the Kiwanis/Family Fare Supermarket Children's Pie-Eating Contest at Veterans Park.
6. Cadillac Freedom Festival
This festival is four fun-filled days of activities and celebrations plus three big nights of live music at the Cadillac Rotary Performing Arts Pavilion. Besides the Freedom Parade downtown at 10am on the 4th, some highlights of the festival are Fire on Water Military Tribute, Thunder on the Lakeshore, and the Pork in the Park BBQ Challenge. Honoring our active military, veterans and those we have lost, the Fire on Water Military Tribute brings the community on shore for a ceremony that represents freedoms we celebrate on July 4th. Thunder on the Lakeshore is the premiere independent motorcycle show in Michigan, held right on the shores of beautiful Lake Cadillac! Pork in the Park is a one-day pork rib BBQ cook-off. Pros and amateurs using wood, charcoal, or gas compete for $1,500 in cash and prizes. At dusk on July 3rd is the annual fireworks display. In 2015 the Cadillac Freedom Festival put on the largest fireworks show in Cadillac in over 20 years, so 2016 is bound to be spectacular.
7. Grayling's Fourth of July
Kicking off the Independence Day celebrations at Grayling is the parade sponsored by the Grayling VFW Women’s Auxiliary. Floats line up at 10am and the parade starts at 11. The rest of the day holds lots of fun for the kiddies like kids free fishing from noon-1:30. Kids ages 5-12 are welcome as long as you bring your own pole and bait. Prizes are awarded for the 1st fish boy and 1st fish girl! Also starting at noon is karaoke which is open noon-2pm and 4pm-6pm. The break in between is for the Karaoke Contest for ages 12 and under at 2pm and ages 13 and up at 3pm! Stay refreshed with the free watermelon, but grab it quick because it's only while supplies last. Finally, once the sun goes down, the fireworks go up, ending the Graylings Fourth of July celebration with a bang!
This article was written by Lauren Gaw.