Let Freedom Ring
Commemorate the Fourth of July with a bang during celebrations across the region
Written by Rebekah Hildebrandt & Margaret Landers
The day that marks our independence is synonymous with rising temperatures, sunny skies, a splash in the water, barbecue on the grill, watermelon with friends, ice cold beverages, and sparkling fireworks displays. Here are just a few Fourth festivities where you can show your red, white, and blue pride.
Brevard bursts into action with the Firecracker 5K and 10K races at 8 a.m. at Brevard College, followed by a pet show at 9 a.m., parade, and reading of the Declaration of Independence. Attendees can stroll downtown for the 40th annual Fine Arts and Crafts Showcase, admire classics at a car show, and cheer on participants in the duck race down Kings Creek. Enjoy live musical entertainment all day, plus a fireworks finale. www.brevardnc.org.
At Freedom Fest in Bryson City, jam to live music on three stages, shop for arts and crafts, savor a watermelon-eating contest, splash down water slides, and enter Rover in the Strut Your Mutt pet pageant. A short jaunt down the road, Dillsboro’s Independence Celebration cools off with inner tube races, a homemade raft derby, games of checkers and horseshoes, and live music. And if you don’t want to choose between the two, ride the Fireworks Freedom Train on Great Smoky Mountains Railroad from Bryson City to Dillsboro to enjoy both. The rail excursion includes barbecue, hot dogs, and a chance to meet Uncle Sam. www.gsmr.com.
Flags will fly at Hendersonville’s annual celebration on Main Street. The Independence Day parade begins at 11 a.m., followed by an ice cream social and games at the Historic Courthouse, where military service flags will be raised. Music on Main will present a patriotic concert at 7 p.m. featuring one-man-band Tom Brown, and a fireworks display over downtown caps the day. www.hendersoncountync.org
Marion’s second annual Catawba Inner Tube Regatta offers a wet and wild Fourth on the Catawba River and a chance to contribute to the McDowell Trails Association. Decorate an inner tube and meet at the Catawba River Greenway parking lot on U.S. 70. Registration starts at 8 a.m. and the race begins at 10 a.m. An individual can register for $10, or enlist friends and form a four-person team for $25. Prizes will be handed out at the end of the race and food will be available. www.mcdowellnc.org
Pack a picnic and lawn chairs and head to Catawba Meadows Park in Morganton for the Red, White, and Bluegrass Festival. Four days of music by nearly 40 acts will culminate on July Fourth. Performers include Balsam Range, Lonesome River Band, and Rhonda Vincent & the Rage. Craft and food vendors and an inflatables play area for the kids makes this a family affair. $30, free for children 12 & younger. www.redwhiteandbluegrassfestival.com