Those hankering for a hunk of watermelon, piping hot chili or a dazzling fireworks finale need wait no longer. The Peninsula has whipped up a feast of family-friendly events to mark Independence Day. With parades, festivals and even a rodeo to enjoy, the time is ripe to join in this celebration of summer, good neighbors and the nation.
4th of July Parade & Celebration: For the 4th of July Parade & Celebration, community members can decorate bikes, wagons, golf carts and floats and parade down Santa Cruz Avenue to Burgess Park. The parade begins at 11:45 a.m. at the parking lot behind Wells Fargo bank at Chestnut Street and Santa Cruz Avenue. At the park, there will be music, food, games, bounce houses, crafts, face painting, rock walls, laser tag and more until 2:30 p.m. Musical group Mustache Harbor will perform.
The event is free, but a $7 wristband is required for some activities and can be purchased in advance at the Arrillaga Family Gymnasium from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, visit menlopark.org/events or call 650-330-2220.
Woodside Junior Rodeo: More than 100 young people from around California will test their skills at the Woodside Junior Rodeo on July 4.
Events will include roping, women's barrel racing and bull riding. For family activities, there will also be pony rides, pig scrambles, a petting zoo and more; food and beverages will also be available for purchase.
The event will take place on the Mounted Patrol Grounds at 521 Kings Mountain Road in Woodside. Gates open at 8 a.m. and the main event begins at noon. Ticket prices are $15 for adults, $10 for children and free for kids 6 and under. Go to mpsmc.org/rodeo or call 650-851-8300 for more information.
Caņada College fireworks: Caņada College at 4200 Farm Hill Blvd., Woodside, is opening its parking lots for the public to view fireworks displays on the Peninsula. The upper parking lots on the campus open at 6:30 p.m.
The main entrances on Farm Hill and Canada Road will allow cars, bicycles and pedestrians. Barbecuing, cooking, alcohol and fireworks are not allowed.
76th annual Independence Day Parade: "Through the Eyes of a Child" will be the theme of the 76th annual Independence Day Parade in downtown Redwood City.
The parade begins at 10 a.m. at the corner of Winslow and Marshall streets.
After the parade, there is the 28th annual Independence Day Festival with booths located throughout the downtown area. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The festival will have arts and crafts booths, food and beverages, and other entertainment. Go to parade.org for more information.
Old-Fashioned Fourth: Nearby, the San Mateo County History Museum at 2200 Broadway in Redwood City is hosting an Old-Fashioned Fourth event where children can hand-crank homemade vanilla ice cream and make traditional Independence Day crafts. The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is an admission fee of $2.50 for adults and $1.50 for students and seniors. For more information, visit historysmc.org or call 650-299-0104.
Pier 39: Pier 39 celebrates Independence Day with live music and entertainment in the Entrance Plaza. Mobilty, a group from the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West, will perform from noon to 3 p.m. Cover band Tainted Love will take the stage from 5 to 8 p.m. At 9:30 p.m., the City of San Francisco will present a grand fireworks display over the Bay, with clear views from Pier 39. Go to pier39.com for more info.
Summer Festival and Chili Cook-off: The City of Palo Alto will hold its 33rd annual Summer Festival and Chili Cook-off to celebrate Independence Day. Chefs will cook up a variety of chili dishes for this competition held from noon to 5 p.m. Chili tasting opens to the public at 1:30 p.m.; tasting kits will cost $5. The event will also include music, an ice cream taste-off and kids activities. The event is free and takes place at Mitchell Park on 600 E. Meadow Drive in Palo Alto. Go to cityofpaloalto.org or call Ali Williams at 650-648-3829 for more information.
Patriotic Music from the Carillon: Organist James Welch will perform a free program of patriotic songs and folk tunes on the carillon bells of Hoover Tower on Stanford University campus from 2 to 3 p.m. Visitors can park for free on July 4 near the tower and are encouraged to bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on while listening.
Reminder: All Palo Alto parks and preserves will close at 9 p.m., except for the Baylands, which will stay open for a fireworks show at Shoreline Ampitheatre in Mountain View (see below).
San Francisco Symphony and fireworks: The San Francisco Symphony will give its annual concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View at 8 p.m. There will be music from the movies and American symphonic favorites leading up to a fireworks show.
Limited areas of the golf course and driving range will be open for the public to view the show. Shoreline has limited parking that fills early in the day. One access point will be available from Garcia Avenue, where city staff and volunteers will guide the public to safe viewing locations. Both the Stevens Creek Trail and Permanente Creek Trail hours will be extended for the day. Go to sfsymphony.org or call 650-967-4040 for more information and tickets.
Rotary Club fireworks show: Rotary Club of San Jose invites the community to a free, family-friendly fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. Restrooms and a great view will be available at Discovery Meadow; seating will be handled on a first come, first served basis. The city anticipates large crowds and strongly encourages taking public transportation. VTA will provide special-event transportation to and from the show. For more information, visit rotaryfireworks.org.
San Jose's annual Rose, White and Blue Parade and Festival is the revival of the Rose Carnival of 1896, later known as the Fiesta de las Rosas Parade in the 1920s. The old-fashioned, family-oriented parade will start at 10 a.m. at the Lincoln High School parking lot on Dana Avenue and will wind through the Rose Garden neighborhood, ending on The Alameda with a picnic of local restaurant cuisine. Bands, dancers, homemade floats, antique cars and children on bikes are all expected to turn out. The picnic and festival concludes at 2 p.m. For more information, visit rosewhiteblueparade.com or call Larry Clark at 408-436-8581.