Fourth festivities to mark Independence Day

Fireworks, chili cook-off and parades planned for this year's area events

Independence Day celebrations will take place throughout the Peninsula on Saturday, July 4. Celebrate the red, white and blue at patriotic events, including family-friendly activities in Palo Alto, parades in Menlo Park and Redwood City and a firework display in Mountain View.

Here's a sampling of Fourth festivities:

Palo Alto

Chili Cook Off & Summer Festival

Noon-5 p.m. at Mitchell Park, 600 E. Meadow Drive, Palo Alto

Twenty teams of chili enthusiasts will compete for the Best Chili Award at the 34th annual Chili Cook Off & Summer Festival on Saturday, July 4, at Mitchell Park, 600 E. Meadow Drive.

Returning teams in the corporate category (for teams entering as a company or organization) include EPA Can Do, which snagged the No. 1 spot at last year's cook-off, and Team Vineyard, which took third place last year. Two new competitors in the corporate division will be Sea Scout Ship Intrepid and We Put Chili to Work.

Last year, Rich Chili took the top prize of Best Overall as well as the No. 1 spot in the Open category, and this year the team of professional chefs for Google will be back to defend the titles. Other returning teams in the Open category include Secret Mountain Laboratory Chili, Elmo and the Old Quackers, Lounge Lizard and Home Grown Chili. Newcomers include The Waponis, Karate Kids and the Klemens Family.

Teams will also vie for Best Spirit (for being the most engaging, fun and spirited), Best Booth and People's Choice.

The annual family-friendly event, which starts at noon, will also feature live music from Rockin' Down The Hiway, children's activities and food. This year's festival will include a live streaming of the FIFA women's World Cup tournament, train rides for kids, and new food vendors, including food trucks and an ice cream and dessert parlor (for purchase) sponsored by Stanford Federal Credit Union.

"It's an lighthearted, fun day for all," event organizer Ali Williams said. "It's a great day for the entire family and for friends to get together to celebrate the Fourth in a spirited, fun atmosphere."

The chili tasting, which is open to the public and costs $5, begins at 1:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit

Cantor Arts Center

11 a.m.-5 p.m. at 328 Lomita Drive, Stanford

What better way to celebrate Independence Day than with a museum visit? Stanford University's Cantor Arts Center will be open on July 4 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Major exhibitions on view now include sketches by masters of Italian art including Michelangelo and Modigliani, Tiepolo and Tintoretto as well as "Imagining the Oceans," which brings together artwork across history and cultures inspired by ocean environments. The exhibit features pieces by Willem van de Velde, Charles Meryon, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Willem de Kooning and others. Admission is free. For more information, visit

Mountain View

San Francisco Symphony and Fireworks

8 p.m. at Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View

The San Francisco Symphony will give its annual Fourth of July concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View at 8 p.m. There will be music celebrating American film music, with a special tribute to "The Sound of Music" in honor of the iconic film's 50th anniversary. The evening will finish with a fireworks show. For more information and tickets, visit or call 650-967-4040.

Those wishing to view the fireworks from outside of the amphitheater are encouraged to bike or walk to the Shoreline area.

Menlo Park

Fourth of July Parade and Celebration

11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at Burgess Park, 701 Laurel St, Menlo Park

Menlo Park's annual Fourth of July parade and celebration includes a parade through downtown, kid-friendly games, arts and crafts, face painting, laser tag, food and live music by Mustache Harbor. The event, which is sponsored by Facebook, kicks off at 11:45 a.m. with the parade of community members down Santa Cruz Avenue, from the parking lot on Chestnut Street at Santa Cruz Avenue to Burgess Park. Admission is free, with a $7 wristband required for some activities. Wristbands can be purchased in advance at the Arrillaga Gymnasium at 600 Alma St. For more information, visit


Woodside Junior Rodeo

8 a.m. at Mounted Patrol Grounds, 521 Kings Mountain Road

The Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County invites families to the Woodside Junior Rodeo, where young cowboys and cowgirls from around California will test their skills during events including roping, barrel racing and bull riding. The event will take place on the Mounted Patrol Grounds, at 521 Kings Mountain Road in Woodside. Gates open at 8 a.m. For more information and tickets, visit or call 650-851-8300.

Redwood City

Old-Fashioned Fourth of July

10 a.m.-4 p.m. at San Mateo County History Museum, 2200 Broadway St., Redwood City

During this San Mateo County History Museum event, children can hand-crank ice cream and make traditional Independence Day crafts, including an 1880s flag, pinwheel and model of the Liberty Bell, and adults can watch vintage films of the Peninsula from the museum's archives. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and students and free for children age 5 and under. For more information, visit

Redwood City's parade and festival

7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

Redwood City's 77th annual Fourth of July Parade and Festival will take place Saturday, July 4. A family-friendly 5K race open to runners, walkers and strollers of all ages at 7 a.m. and a pancake breakfast with the Redwood City Fire Department at 7:30 a.m. will kick off the day. Check-in for the race will be at Bradford Street between Arguello and Warren streets.

The parade starts at 10 a.m. at Marshall Street at the corner of Winslow Street and travels around historic downtown. The theme of this year's parade is "Our American Heritage, The Fabulous 50s."

The festival begins at 9 a.m. with arts and crafts, food and drinks, a battle of the bands, a car show and other activities.

A fireworks show starts at 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit

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6 people like this
Posted by Old-fashioned July 4 in south Palo Alto
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 26, 2015 at 11:52 am

As always, Greenmeadow neighborhood will have our old-fashioned parade (the parade theme this year is "Water Wise") and picnic and bake sale in the park. I love this tradition. Members of the neighborhood marching band are rehearsing, the kids are organizing a a "drill team", neighborhood children are building floats together, volunteers are organizing a morning triathlon. The neighborhood is planning all kinds of field games and pool activities. My husband just brushed off his stilts and Uncle Sam costume. The neighborhood has been doing this for more than 50 years, but it never gets old for me.

Each year the preparations go on for weeks in small groups and then miraculously it comes together on July 4. It's lots of fun.

10 people like this
Posted by Erik Jacobsen
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jun 26, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Another homegrown event celebrating the 4th...

At 9:00 a.m. on Saturday the 4th, neighbors are invited to the annual outdoor Pancake Breakfast, Flag Raising and Patriotic Program hosted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) at 3865 Middlefield Road next to Adobe Creek. No charge. Veterans, wear your uniforms for the event. Come meet neighbors and make friends.

4 people like this
Posted by bbq go
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 28, 2015 at 8:32 am

The Saturday downtown Palo Alto Farmers Market is also OPEN on July 4th. 8am-noon. The location is hard to spot for newbies, but you'll be happy you discovered it. More chummy and paced than the galley on Cal ave. (in my opinion).
Gilman Street at Hamilton Ave, one block south of University Ave. Behind the Post Office.

Coffee, breads, crepes, berries, walnuts, greens, flowers, fish, cheese, chocolate, honey, mushrooms, jams, tea blends, fruitcake, wine tasting.

Like this comment
Posted by Gardener Gal
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 1, 2015 at 7:10 pm

Thank you for supporting and including streaming of the Soccer Finals!
That is real community support!

2 people like this
Posted by Seelam sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 3, 2015 at 5:20 pm

5.3% unemployment
Equal rights
Mostly common sensed supreme Court
Affordable health care
Mitchell park library opened and functioning
All libraries open
Minimum wage to $17/hour
Slow growth city council

This is the July 4th of utopian times

Let us enjoy!

Like this comment
Posted by Parade
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 3, 2015 at 6:27 pm

@ old fashioned July 4 in South Palo Alto
What time is the parade?
Where to people go to see it?

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

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