Even in the midst of packing the cooler, loading the car and preparing gallons of potato salad for holiday-weekend festivities, who could forget the fireworks — the very best part of the Fourth of July? Here’s your guide to the major Independence Day celebrations, with fireworks, going on in and near the East Valley.
4th of July Fireworks Spectacular
What: Live music, a kids carnival, a 35-foot water slide, a rock-climbing wall, a dunk tank and assorted water games are part of this event, hosted by the Chandler Lions Club. A free, decorated bike parade begins at 6 p.m. (register to participate beginning at 4 p.m.), and fireworks are at 9:30 p.m.
When: 4 to 10:30 p.m. Monday
Where: 2250 S. McQueen Road
Cost: Free admission; $5 to park at the southwest corner of Germann and McQueen Roads or at the lot off Hamilton Street.
Information: (480) 236-9123 or www.chandleraz.gov/special-events
Community Patriotic Music Celebration
What: Local performers the Chandler Summer Band, the East Valley Lamplighters Barbershop Chorus, the Rockin’ R Wranglers, the Jones Brothers and a bagpiper will supply live patriotic tunes at this concert celebrating freedom, faith and family. There are also a few selections from the Captured Miracles production “Miracle of America: Birth of a Nation.”
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Where: Redemption Church, 1820 W. Elliot Road
Information: (480) 503-6200 or www.gilbertaz.gov
Fire in the Sky
What: Central Christian Church hosts this fireworks show with a tailgate and lawn party. A section of a World Trade Center tower beam salvaged from Ground Zero after Sept. 11, 2001, will be on display, and nonperishable food donations will be collected at all three viewing sites. (Last year, the church and the public collected nearly 95,000 pounds of food.) Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome. Vendors will sell snow cones and water.
When: Gates open at 6 p.m. Monday; fireworks begin at 8:30 p.m.
Where: Central Christian Church, 965 E. Germann Road. Alternative viewing locations are Campo Verde High School, 3870 Quartz St., and Gilbert Soccer Complex, 4260 S. Greenfield Road.
Information: (480) 924-4946 or www.gilbertaz.gov
Southwest Ambulance Celebration of Freedom
What: In addition to fireworks finales, you’ll find historical displays, costumed characters from American history and replicas of historic buildings on “Heritage Lane.” There’s also a Fallen Heroes Memorial, live music and entertainment acts, Family Fun and Wet zones, beer gardens and food booths. The event was named 2010 Event of the Year by the Arizona Festival and Events Association — the first time an inaugural event has won the award.
When: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. today and Saturday
Where: Along Main Street in downtown Mesa
Cost: Free admission
Information: (480) 644-2069 or www.azcelebrationoffreedom.org
The Town of Queen Creek 4th of July Celebration
What: Q.C.’s Kiwanis Club and Chamber of Commerce produce this 11th annual event that includes entertainment, food, fellowship and, of course, fireworks.
When: 5 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. Monday; fireworks begin at 9 p.m.
Where: Schnepf Farms, 24810 S. Rittenhouse Road
Cost: $10 per vehicle
Information: (480) 888-1709 or www.queencreek.org
CBS 5 Tempe Town Lake Festival
What: This fireworks show choreographed to patriotic and classical music is surrounded by a Family Fun Fest of kids’ attractions, a main stage with nonstop live music, a food court and beer gardens. There’s also an F-16 flyover and a performance by the Mesa Police Honor Guard. Daryl Colvin of Gilbert, winner of the 2011 Star Spangled Idol contest, will sing the national anthem. It’s presented by the Kiwanis Club of Tempe.
When: Gates open at 4 p.m. Monday; fireworks begin around 9 p.m.
Where: Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway
Cost: $5-$6 in advance at Fry’s Food Stores and City of Tempe locations; $8 per person, or $15 per couple, at the gate. Parking is limited and streets are closed, so travel by bus or Valley Metro Light Rail is highly recommended; see www.tempe.gov/tim or www.metrolightrail.org.
Information: (480) 350-5189 or www.tempe4th.com
ELSEWHERE IN THE VALLEY
Freedom Wireless Fabulous Phoenix Fourth: This 26th annual fireworks spectacular features musical performances on multiple stages, a classic car show, a kids’ zone and vendor area. 6 p.m. Monday at Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix. Free admission. (602) 262-6412 or www.phoenix.gov/parks/fabphx4.html
Independence Day Music Festival: Former “American Idol” contestants Crystal Bowersox and Casey James open this concert by country music star Blake Shelton. Shelton takes the stage at 8:45 p.m. A fireworks show — which organizers are billing as the largest in the Valley — follows. Gates open 5 p.m. Sunday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale. $15-$85. (480) 270-5000 or www.saltriverfields.com
Red, White and Boom: Live music by The Hype, a hot-dog eating contest, a bike parade and a hula-hoop competition entertain until it’s time for the fireworks at this event. 6 p.m. Sunday at Ahwatukee Country Club, 12432 S. 48th St., Phoenix. Free. (480 )753-7676 or www.ahwatukeechamber.com.
• Contact writer: (480) 898-6818 or email@example.com