Things to do on the Fourth of July

Fewer fireworks -- but plenty of chili -- planned for this year's area Independence Day events

The Midpeninsula skies will be quieter this Fourth of July. Redwood City has canceled its long-held fireworks show, citing growing costs, and Stanford Lively Arts is not bringing back its annual Independence Day fireworks and concert, which were called off last year due to campus construction.

Still, it takes more than a recession to keep Palo Alto's Summer Festival and Chili Cook-off down, and Redwood City's huge Fourth of July parade and festival is still on, along with several other area events.

Here's a sampling of Fourth festivities:

■ From noon to 5 p.m. on the Fourth, the 29th annual Summer Festival & Chili Cook-off happens at Mitchell Park, 600 E. Meadow Drive, Palo Alto. Twenty-some teams compete in the cook-off, with chili tasting beginning at 1:30 p.m. and an awards ceremony at 3:45. The band Blues at Eleven plays, and Hedy McAdams leads line dancing. Go to or call 650-463-4921.

■ Redwood City's parade and festival also take place on July 4. The 72nd annual parade starts at 10 a.m. at Brewster Avenue and Winslow Street and travels around downtown Redwood City until about 12:30 p.m., with floats and marching bands. The festival begins at 9 a.m., with arts and crafts booths, food and drink, a pancake breakfast, a battle of the bands and other activities. Go to

■ Fireworks are planned at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View as part of the annual San Francisco Symphony performance starting at 8 p.m. on July 4. The program includes music by Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin, John Williams, Stephen Schwartz, John Adams and John Philip Sousa. Tickets are $24-$29.50. Go to

■ Menlo Park hosts its annual parade and celebration from 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on the Fourth, with carnival games, jump houses, crafts, live music, laser tag and other events at Burgess Park, Burgess Drive and Alma Street. Admission is free, with a $6 wristband required for some activities. Call 650-330-2200 or go to

■ Before Menlo Park's parade, Kepler's Books is hosting an Independence Day Story Time at 10:30 a.m. at 1010 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. Two kids' books with historical themes will be read: "John, Paul, George & Ben" by Lane Smith and "Imogene's Last Stand" by Nancy Carpenter and Candace Fleming, with red, white and blue cupcakes served. Go to or call 650-324-4321.

■ The wind band Ye Olde Towne Band plays with The Unicorns at a Fourth celebration in Los Altos' Shoup Park, 400 University Ave. The free event, which runs from 10:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., also features picnic lunches for sale, balloon art and speeches by the mayors of Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. Call 650-949-5908 or go to and click on "Events."

■ The Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County hosts its 60th annual Woodside Junior Rodeo starting at 8 a.m. on July 4 at 521 Kings Mountain Road in Woodside. Events include team roping and a pig scramble for younger kids. Admission is $20 general and $10 for kids ages 6 to 17. A dinner and dance will also be held on July 3. For details, call 650-851-8300.

Other July 4 fireworks shows can be found a bit farther afield. Options include:

■ Foster City hosts a 9:30 p.m. fireworks show over the lagoon at Leo J. Ryan Park at 650 Shell Blvd. This follows a pancake breakfast, family parade, barbecue and performances by several bands. Details are at

■ Santa Clara is also planning a 9:30 p.m. fireworks display, after a picnic and celebration at Central Park, 909 Kiely Blvd. Activities throughout the day include a pancake breakfast, dance performances, a noon flag dedication, live music and carnival games. Go to

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Like this comment
Posted by Frank
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 30, 2010 at 11:11 am

I miss the Stanford Fireworks. It was always great fun.

Like this comment
Posted by Marie
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 30, 2010 at 11:25 am

The Stanford concert and fireworks held on July 3rd was our long-time and much enjoyed family celebration of the Fourth. We are sorry to see it go.

Like this comment
Posted by September Snow
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jun 30, 2010 at 11:31 am

Shoreline's better and cheaper. Go to Michael's to eat and watch the fireworks for free.

Like this comment
Posted by midtown mom
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm

This is great that someone thought of putting together this list of activities around the BA. Thanks for being proactive and putting it out.

We need more Frugal Diversions! I remember seeing an article on such during the last recession in the 80's! There's a lot to live for other than shopping!

Have a great Independence Day celebration!

Like this comment
Posted by Kristina Rockhold
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 30, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Shoreline at Mountain View and Rengstorff House also host the first-ever "Victorian Fashion Promenade," Sunday, July 4, 2010 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Featuring activities such as costumed guests in procession, historic house tours, storytelling for kids, a marionettes “vaudeville follies” show on the front lawn of the Rengstorff House, “All American” jazz in the gardens, special picnic lunch menu and water-based activities at the Shoreline Lake Aquatic Center and Café, and thematic breakfast offerings and an Independence Day BBQ at Michaels at Shoreline, the event is fun for the whole family! For an event timeline, please visit the City of Mountain View website under "Announcements" or call (650) 903-6392.

Like this comment
Posted by Moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 30, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Oh, great. A rodeo. Legalized animal abuse by impressionable young people.

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm

[Comment removed by Palo Alto Online staff].

Like this comment
Posted by Madeline
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 2, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Does anyone know if fireworks are viewable from the Bay lands?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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