Philadelphia first celebrated Independence Day on July 4, 1777, even while our new country was occupied with the ongoing Revolutionary War, according to History.com. The following year, “George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence.”
Two hundred-some years later, as we are gradually defeating the coronavirus and striving to find common ground politically, we can at least all agree to once again hoist Old Glory and raise a glass to our nation … check out some local Independence Day events happening this weekend.
Becky Blue Band at Whispering Oaks Vineyard
“Becky Blue is great. She has a unique, gritty voice, and she knows how to rock,” said Tracey Bonney, president/co-owner of Whispering Oaks Vineyard. “She and the band do a lot of great blues and rock and roll, both originals and covers. We have a lot of fun every time they are here.”
Full Throttle Food Truck will be on site. Reservations are not needed. Tables will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Outdoor event, weather permitting. Attendees are welcome to bring their own blanket, lawn chairs, snacks etc., but please, no outside beverages or pets.
Time: Thursday, 6:30 – 9 p.m.
Where: Whispering Oaks Vineyard, 1306 State Route 61 Sunbury
More info: “Whispering Oaks Vineyard” on Facebook or 844-968-9463
FRIDAY, July 2Live Music with Dustin Douglas at Iron Vines Winery
“Dustin Douglas plays Friday from 7 to 9 p.m., and Coast Two Coast Electric Trio plays Saturday, 7 to 9 p.m.,” said Jessica Reichner, general manager. “We are closed July 4th. Both of these shows will be free admission and tons of fun. We provide a relaxed and fun atmosphere to enjoy great wine, food and live music!”
Time: Friday, 7 – 9 p.m.
Where: Iron Vines Winery, 322 Raspberry Ave., Sunbury
More info: “Iron Vines Winery” on Facebook or 570-495-4766
Middlecreek Valley Antique Association Fireworks Show
Head to the showgrounds on Old Colony Road, in Selinsgrove, where you’ll find plenty of room to spread blankets or lawn chairs to enjoy Middlecree Valley Antique Association’s Fireworks Show on Friday.
“Our show is more like a program,” said Michael Clark, secretary. “We have music playing which leads us to the playing of the National Anthem. During the playing of the anthem, we fire off two rockets that continuously shoot red white and blue fireworks. Then after that, the main show begins.”
Parking and admission are free, and with three parking lots, there’s never a need to worry about finding a parking space, Clark said.
“Our shows usually last close to a half-hour long,” he said. “It’s a friendly atmosphere and everyone has a fun, relaxing time, and it’s great to see so many come together to celebrate our freedom and our country’s independence.”
The Antique Association will have its own Trackside Food Stand, with hot dogs, chips and drinks. Sweet Treats stand will offer drinks, fried dough and funnel cakes. The rain date is Saturday, July 3.
“Join us as we celebrate our Independence Day!” Clark said.
Time: Friday, 9:30 p.m.
Where: 500 Old Colony Rd, Selinsgrove
More info: “Middlecreek Valley Antique Association” on Facebook
Live Music with Coast Two Coast Electric Trio at Iron Vines Winery
“Coast Two Coast Electric Trio plays Saturday, 7 to 9 p.m.,” said Jessica Reichner, general manager. “We are closed July 4th. We provide a relaxed and fun atmosphere to enjoy great wine, food and live music!”
Time: Saturday, 7 – 9 p.m.
Where: Iron Vines Winery, 322 Raspberry Ave., Sunbury
More info: “Iron Vines Winery” on Facebook or 570-495-4766
Shamokin’s Independence on Independence
What better place to celebrate our country’s independence than on Independence Street? This event will run from 8th Street to Liberty Street, including the side streets between Water and Commerce
Throughout Independence Street, food trucks and local establishments will offer a variety of snacks and meals. Craft vendors will be there as well.
“We have something for every age group,” said Sarah Shepard, member of the Go Shamokin events committee. “There will be a kids’ section with different things to do, including pony rides. There will be food, snacks and drinks to enjoy throughout Shamokin. It’ll be a great day to hang out with friends. and of course, see the awesome fireworks show!”
The Dining Room at Sweet Tooth Café, on Market Street, will host kids’ activities, including a watermelon-eating contest (at 4:30 p.m.) and a water sprinkler area until 5 p.m. Other kids’ events include a chance to see emergency vehicles up close. Free pony rides will be offered on 9th Street, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., sponsored by Springfield Banquet Hall.
A corn hole tournament at Heritage Restaurant on North Market Street runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., with the championships at 5 p.m. Register at “GoShamokin” on Facebook, $20 per team. Participating businesses include Ale House Bar & Grill on Independence Street, Covered Bridge Brewhaus & Taproom on North 8th Street, Heritage Restaurant on North Market, Oliver’s Cigar Lounge on Independence Street, and Wayside Inn (Route 61) at a downtown location.
Enjoy Chalk Art with Artisan Alley, dance performances by both Heath’s Gym and Karen Gronsky School of Dance, bingo on 8th Street outside Tranquility Tattoo and Art Studio, and carnival games.
Live music will play throughout the day:
- 2 – 6 p.m., Gemini at Oliver’s Cigar Lounge on Independence Street
- 4 – 7 p.m., Eighty6 at Covered Bridge Brewhaus & Taproom on North 8th Street
- 6 – 9 p.m., Merely Players at Heritage Restaurant on North Market Street
- 7 p.m., SilverHeel starts off Music in the Park at Claude Kehler Park on West Arch Street
Time: Saturday, Noon – 9 p.m.
Where: Independence Street, Shamokin
More info: “GoShamokin” on Facebook
Watsontown’s 4th of July Celebration in the Park
Unique to Watsontown’s Independence Day celebration is the Passing of the American Flag, where, just before the parade, community members join in the center of the street to pass the flag from hand to hand before it is raised at the Watsontown Memorial Park.
“The parade, sponsored by The Watsontown Area Business Association, steps off at 10 a.m.,” said Liz Folk, member of the Watsontown Fourth of July Committee. “Before the parade begins, there will be the passing of the flag down Main Street starting sometime between 9:30 and 9:45 a.m.”
Beyond that, the park is filled with food stands, crafters, vendors, a basket raffle, rock wall, face painting, a balloon artist, cake wheel, kids’ games and live music. Activities include corn hole and horseshoe tournaments, arm wrestling and the annual Watsontown Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show, where visitors can stroll through the lines of specialty and antique vehicles and talk to the owners.
“The entire Watsontown Fourth of July Celebration is centered around family-friendly activities,” Folk said. “At the car show, we have a Kids’ Choice award, where the kiddos can vote on their favorite vehicle. The kids love to do this every year, and it gives them something fun to do. This year when they turn in their vote, they will get a small treat. In the park, there is face painting, the balloon man, a cake wheel and soda pitch, as well as the popular goldfish stand.”
Fireworks are scheduled for some time around 9:15 p.m.
Back again this year is the “What’s That Junk in Your Trunk Contest,” along with car culture trivia.
“Car show registrants can also win some very nice door prizes as they do every year,” Folk said. “We have switched up the trophies this year and will not have classes such as first, second, third. Rather we will be handing out 18 trophies for favorite vehicles.”
They have also created specialty categories: Most Patriotic, The Vehicle You Would Have the Most Fun In, The Vehicle for a First Date, Most Interesting Paint, and Coolest Steering Wheel, as well as the standards of Mayor’s Choice, Farthest Traveled, Best in Show and more.
Registration for the car show begins at 8 a.m. and is $15, with all proceeds benefiting the Watsontown Fourth of July Celebration. Vehicle owners are invited to participate in the parade. For more information contact Liz Folk at 570-538-5738.
Music throughout the day includes:
- 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., DJ Don Cicero and AM Flashback, sponsored by the Turbotville National Bank and offering music, trivia questions and prizes
- 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Music by The Guys, sponsored by Service First Federal Credit Union
- 2 – 4:30 p.m. Music by Rapid Run, sponsored by Muncy Bank & Trust Company
- 6:15 – 9 p.m. – Music by Milltown Blues, sponsored by Susquehanna Community Bank and the Watson Inn.
Time: Saturday, 8 a.m. – 9:15 p.m.
Where: Watsontown Memorial Park
More info: “Watsontown’s 4th of July Celebration” on Facebook
Mifflinburg’s 49th Annual 4th of July Celebration
Start Independence Day with a brisk 5K race — or just line up with the other spectators to cheer on the runners. If racing isn’t your speed, try your hand at a tennis tournament or horseshoe and quoit pitching contests. and if sports aren’t your thing, you might want to enter Mifflinburg’s Got Talent. Either way, everyone is sure to enjoy the celebrations at the Mifflinburg Community Park on North 5th Street.
“We’ve always classified ourselves as an old-fashioned community event,” said Jeff Mensch, chairman of Mifflinburg 4th of July Celebration committee. “You can spend the whole day, run a 5K in the morning and see fireworks at the end of the day, and play games and enjoy good food in between. and you don’t have to travel because it’s all in our backyard.”
The 37th Annual 5K Race starts at 8 a.m. Registration must be done online ahead of time at www.mifflinburg5k.com.
The Kid’s Fun Run is back and free. Races begin at 8:50 a.m. for 5-year-olds and under, 9:05 a.m. for 6 to 7 year-olds, and 9:15 a.m. for 8 to 9-year-olds. The 1st and 2nd place male and female in each age group will be recognized.
The Tennis Tournament takes place at 9 a.m. on the 2nd Street Courts. Pre-register by calling Matt Wells at 570-939-2080.
At 11 a.m., attendees can enjoy the annual Pet Parade, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. The parade will move from 8th Street, to the Rail Trail, and to the 5th Street Park.
Horseshoe & Quoit Pitching Contests take place at 1 p.m., with a $5 registration for a two-member team.
Also at 1 p.m. are Children’s Games for kids 10 and under.
At 2:30 p.m., sit back on your lawn chair to check out the acts in the Mifflinburg’s Got Talent competition, sponsored by Mifflinburg Bank & Trust Co. Registration is limited. Call 570-966-4282 for information.
Among the food offerings will be a Chicken Barbeque at 1:30 p.m., sponsored by the Kiwanis Club. From 5 to 10 p.m. there will be bingo, food and a number of games.
Watch Re-Creation at two showings, 7:15 p.m. or 9 p.m., sponsored by Iddings Quarry, Carriage Corner Restaurant and the Fourth of July Committee.
Time: Saturday, 8 a.m. – 9:45 p.m.
Where: Mifflinburg Community Park, North 5th Street
More info: www.mifflinburgpa.com or 570-966-1013
Firework Extravaganza! at Bloomsburg Children’s Museum
Kids can get ready for July 4th with Firework Extravaganza! Head for the Bloomsburg Children’s Museum, where they’ll learn about fireworks and create some crafts.
Firework Extravaganza is recommended for ages 6 through 12, but Ginny Weibel, PhD, director of the museum, said they love to have kids of all ages.
Attendees at the event will make fireworks-themed crafts, as well as a Coke and Mentos “fireworks” display at noon. They’ll enjoy a patriotic sing-along with Miss Kerry from 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon, and the older kids can get a close look at some fireworks casings and a list of components that give the fireworks their colors.
“Kids definitely LOVE the Coke and Mentos,” Weibel said. “It’s a very visual and fun demonstration. Kerry Kenny is a crowd favorite. She is our Music Together instructor, and she gets the kids up and moving in her music programs.”
Time: Saturday, 10 a.m. – noon
Price: Activities included in price of admission, $6.50 for age 2 and older.
Where: 2 W. 7th St., Bloomsburg
More info: www.the-childrens-museum.org/calendar/firework-extravaganza/ or 570-389-9206
Fireworks at the Bloomsburg Fairground
Food and craft vendors will be on-site while people wait for the annual 4th of July Fireworks display presented by the Town of Bloomsburg. Food vendors include Steph’s Subs, Nannycakes Bakery and Food Truck, Papa’s Kettle Corn, Blazing Swine Barbecue, Sunset Ice Cream, Boppalouie’s Comfort Food, Gordy’s Cheesesteaks, and Glenda & Scott’s Homemade Ice Cream.
Traditionally held at the Bloomsburg Town Park, this year’s event had to find a new venue due to road construction in town.
“The Bloomsburg Fair Association kindly allowed the Town to have the fireworks launched from the fairgrounds at dusk on July 3,” said Lisa M. Dooley, town manager/ secretary/ treasurer.
Bixler Pyrotechnics from Ashland will set off this year’s display in the amount of $7,500, Dooley said. There is $2,987 that is currently unfunded, and anyone wanting to make a donation is welcome to check out the online portal hosted by the Bloomsburg Foundation at www.TakeActionBU.org/fireworks.
Parking is free at the Fairground parking lot
“Citizens are welcomed to attend the Bloomsburg firework event to celebrate the birth of America and keep making memories with their loved ones at this annual event,” Dooley said. “It will be nice to see the Bloomsburg and surrounding citizens attend this year’s event after COVID-19. Those citizens that would like to maintain social distances can certainly do so at the Fairgrounds.”
Rain date is July 4.
Time: Saturday, 5 – 9 p.m.
Where: Bloomsburg Fairgrounds
More info: www.bloomsburgpa.org or 570-784-7123
Independence In The Grove, Sunbury Social Club
When Pigs Fly Bistro is hosting Independence in the Grove, a fun family event with food, activities and music.
Though the Bistro itself will be closed due to the event, it will be grilling its famous foods while Dj Markus Stigerwalt provides music. Attendees can participate in a Hot Dog Eating Contest, Horseshoe Tournament or a Golf Cart Decorating Contest—the most patriotic wins.
“It’s a chance to enjoy being outdoors,” said Brock Christine, club manager at the Sunbury Social Club. “Just talking with customers, after last year with COVID, people are just kind of itching to be out and about.”
Vendors include Six Heart Lazer Engraving, K9 Hero Haven, Paparazzi, Duncheski Whips, Jewelry by Cassie, Face Painting by Linda and Photos by Rich.
“We want to bring awareness to the new restaurant and bring in new members for the Sunbury Social Club,” said Brandon Klopp and Amber Wells, owners of the food truck and bistro. “We think this event specifically is a great way for families to come out and have fun during the busy holiday weekend.”
Time: Saturday, noon – 6 p.m.
Price: Free. Nonmembers of the Sunbury Social Club are welcome.
Where: Sunbury Social Club, 352 East Dr, Sunbury
More info: “When Pigs Fly Bistro” on Facebook or 570-898-4463
SilverHeel at Shamokin’s Music in the Park
While enjoying Shamokin’s annual fireworks show, people can relax on lawn chairs and listen as SilverHeel rocks the park. Music begins at 7 p.m. Food stands will open during the day, and the music is free.
“Music in the Park is always free,” said Dave Spotts, coordinator. “It will always be free. This is the eighth year.”
A musician himself, Spotts said he is critical of other groups but had only praise for SilverHeel.
“SilverHeel is a classic rock cover band,” he said. “They played for us last year and did a great job. They are a great, four-piece, true classic rock and roll band. They are just fantastic.”
Time: Saturday, 5 — 11 p.m.
Where: Music in the Park, Claude Kehler Park, 578 West Arch Street, Shamokin
More info: “Music in the Park Shamokin PA” on Facebook
New Berlin 4th of July Celebration
New Berlin’s 4th of July Celebration is famous for slow reptiles “racing” to the finish line, and this year the Turtle Derby will go on once again.
New Berlin’s schedule of events includes:
- Pet Parade, 2 p.m.
- Turtle Derby, 3 p.m.
- Cardboard Boat Regatta, 4:15 p.m.
- Cornhole Tournament, 5 p.m. ($30 entrance fee per team. Double elimination with half the pot payouts to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.)
- Fireworks, 10 p.m.
Food will be provided by the American Legion and other local organizations and vendors throughout the afternoon and evening.
Time: Sunday, 2 p.m.
Where: New Berlin Commons
More info: “New Berlin Activities Committee” on Facebook
Music in the Grove with Brandon Barnhart
Bring a lawn chair or blanket to the Sunbury Social Club and enjoy music by Brandon Barnhart. Also take advantage of When Pigs Fly Bistro and dine on the patio while taking in the tunes.
“He’s a one-man band. He plays covers ranging from the 70s, 80s and 90s, so he hits a little bit for everybody,” said Brock Christine, Sunbury Social Club manager. “The thing most people like about Music in the Grove is, it’s relaxing. We go for relaxing music while people are eating.”
Time: Sunday, 6 – 9 p.m.
Where: Sunbury Social Club, 352 East Dr., Sunbury
More info: 570-286-9422 or “Sunbury Social Club” on Facebook
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