Ahh, the Fourth of July.
That holiday when we celebrate our nation’s independence by grilling out, taking a dip in the pool and blowing up hundreds of pounds of fireworks.
Sure, you can spend a lot of money buying your own fireworks, but why not try out one of these Fourth of July events in the area?
It’s all the fun of celebrating and watching fireworks without the hassle.
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Bradley Fair Celebrate America Concert
7:30-9:30 p.m. Thursday, Bradley Fair fountain, 21st and Rock
Bradley Fair will host Vincent Ingala, a contemporary jazz artist, during its Celebrate America concert. The concert, held near Bradley Fair Lake at 2000 N. Rock Road, will be capped off with a firework show. Free.
Red, White and You blood drive
8 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Sedgwick County Zoo-Cargill Center, 5555 W. Zoo Blvd.
Why not spend a bit of time this weekend giving blood at the annual Red, White and You blood drive? Everyone who donates will receive a commemorative T-shirt, one free admission to the Sedgwick County Zoo, discount zoo admission for immediate family members, tickets to the July 12 Red Cross night at the Wichita Wingnuts baseball game and free food, while supplies last. For more information, visit www.redcrossblood.org or call 800-733-2767 (use sponsor code RWY-KS).
Celebrate America at Cowtown
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Old Cowtown Museum, 1865 W. Museum Blvd.
Old Cowtown Museum is offering an Independence Day celebration a little early – featuring vintage baseball, gunfights, carnival games and more fun activities. Watch as the museum crowns the King and Queen of Cowtown. There’s always Cowtown standbys, such as horseshoes, sack races, ice cream, hotdogs, hamburgers – and a beer garden. Regular admission applies: $7.75 adults, $6.50 ages 62 and up, $6 ages 12-17, $5.50 ages 5-11, free for ages 4 and under. For more information, visit www.oldcowtown.org or call 316-350-3323.
Free Swim Day at Aley Park
1-7 p.m. Saturday, Aley Park, 1800 S. Seneca
It’s free-swim day at Aley Park, so bring the family to have some free fun in the sun.
Independence Celebration Drag Race
3-10 p.m. Saturday, Kansas International Dragway, 7800 W. 61st St. North, Maize
Drag racing over the Fourth of July weekend? Why not? This is America. Spectators can watch drag racers at this track for $20 per carload or $10 for an individual. Military members are free with a valid ID. For more information, visit www.kansasdragway.com.
Pet Independence Day Adoption Special
11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Saturday, Kansas Humane Society, 3313 N. Hillside
On Saturday, help a dog gain independence from the Kansas Humane Society. All day long, adoptions are $17.76. Adult cats are always free. The offer excludes puppies and high-profile pets. For more information, visit www.kshumane.org.
Music of America
2 p.m. Sunday, Church of the Resurrection, 4910 N. Woodlawn
A patriotic recital by piano students of Molly Weiss is free and open to the public. There will be cold treats to follow.
3-10 p.m. Sunday, Whispering Winds Camp, 9601 W. 73rd St. North, Valley Center
This event, held at First Presbyterian Church’s Valley Center campgrounds, promises food and fun for all. Guests are encouraged to bring a side dish if they want to partake in the main dish.
A Musical Celebration of Our Freedoms
6:30-10:30 p.m. Sunday, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 600 N. Greenwich
This party, sponsored in part by Liz and Charles Koch, will be on the lawn of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, featuring a host of free fun. The Wichita Grand Opera Orchestra, Chorus and Soloists will perform a patriotic concert with Artillery of the Kansas National Guard. There will also be a biplane flyover with skydiver flag fly-in, and hotdogs and hamburgers will be available for purchase. The night will end with a fireworks display.
Central Christian Church Patriotic Celebration
7 p.m. Sunday, Central Christian Church, 2900 N. Rock Road
As part of its 25th anniversary of this free patriotic celebration, Central Christian Church will host performers Lindsay and Laurie Sutton. The show will also include performances from Wichita Collegiate High School student Tiffany Ruan, the Wichita State University cheer squad and the church’s Worship Arts team. After the show, there will be free Dilly Bars given out in the Central Court.
‘1776’ at Wichita Scottish Rite Signature Theatre
7 p.m. Sunday and Monday, Wichita Scottish Rite Center, 332 E. First St. North
The Wichita Scottish Rite Signature Theatre is again presenting a production of the Broadway classic “1776” on Fourth of July weekend. The musical comedy is about the events leading to the formation of the United States of America. Tickets are $18, $14 and $10 with discounts for students, military and seniors. For more information, call 316-644-7018.
Red, White and BOOM!
6-10:15 p.m. Tuesday, Hyatt lawn, 400 W. Waterman
Free Fourth of July fireworks? The nonprofit Wichita Parks Foundation is hosting this event again this year, sponsored by Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers. Starting at 6 p.m., there will be a variety of food trucks on the Hyatt lawn, and a live band will play from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The fireworks show, which will last about 24 minutes, will begin around 9:45 p.m.
Riverside Citizens Association Pancake Breakfast and Children’s Parade
7-11 a.m. Tuesday, Central Riverside Park, 720 N. Nims
This annual tradition is back for a 26th year. A pancake breakfast by Chris Cakes will be served near the Pagoda Building at Central Riverside Park. Adults are $8, ages 10 and under are $5. There will be a children’s parade at 10 a.m., and anyone can participate for free. Registration for that parade is from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
Wichita Wingnuts BBQ Cook-off
Noon Tuesday, Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, 300 S. Sycamore
There will be plenty of food and fireworks at the Wichita Wingnuts Fourth of July barbecue cook-off. Prior to the game from noon to 5 p.m., there will be a barbecue cook-off and DJ booth set up. Food is included in the price of a ticket: $12 upper deck and $15 lower deck. The Army National Guard will do the game ball delivery as a part of Hometown Heroes day. The game starts at 6:05 p.m., with a fireworks display following the game. Tickets can be purchased online at www.wichitawingnuts.com or at the stadium.
Fourth of July Barbecue at O.J. Watson Park
Noon-3 p.m. Tuesday, O.J. Watson Park, 3022 S. McLean
The Wichita Area Family Foundation, a new nonprofit in town, is hosting its first event on July 4, a free barbecue in O.J. Watson Park. The event, at the park’s Shelter No. 5, will have free food while supplies last. For more information about the group organizing it, visit www.wichitaareafamilyfoundation.org.
6-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sedgwick County Zoo, 5555 W. Zoo Blvd.
Every Tuesday night in July, the Sedgwick County Zoo stays open late for its annual Twilight Tuesdays series. Admission to the zoo is free after 6 p.m. with a voucher from select local Cox Solutions stores or a zoo membership. The zoo stays open until 8:30 p.m. – perfect for late-night fun with the animals.
Independence Day Celebration at CityArts
10-11:30 a.m. July 8, CityArts, 334 N. Mead
Who says Fourth of July festivities have to end after Tuesday? CityArts is hosting a family arts-and-crafts day the following Saturday, allowing kids to create patriotic print blocks and transfer them to small trading cards. By the end of the day, you’ll have a deck of USA-themed cards. Registration $5 for kids; adults are free. Call 316-350-3245 to enroll.
Here’s a list of runs scheduled for the Wichita area this holiday weekend.
▪ The Road Home 5K, 7:30 a.m. Saturday, 919 N. Seneca (near the Mid-America All-Indian Center) – This run is a benefit for Passageways Ltd., a nonprofit that provides support for homeless veterans. Registration is $30 for the 5K, $20 for a 1-mile fun run. www.passagewaysltd.org.
▪ Derby Firecracker, 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, High Park, 1112 N. High Park Drive, Derby – 36th annual 4-mile run through Derby. All participants get a finisher’s medal, and the first 150 to register receive a dry-release T-shirt. Until Friday, registration for the 4-mile run is $30 for adults, $20 for ages 12 and under. On race day, those prices increase by $5 each. www.runsignup.com.
▪ Stars and Stripes 5K, 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Cessna Stadium, 1845 E. 21st St. North – 5K course that runs through the campus of Wichita State University. All finishers receive a medal. Until Friday, registration is $36 for individuals and on Monday and Tuesday, that price increases to $40. www.starsandstripes5k.com/wichita-ks
▪ Headin’ for Home 5K, 8 a.m. Tuesday, Centennial Park, 601 Centennial Park Drive, Newton – This 5K course runs through the campus of Bethel College, with runners finishing the race crossing home plate at Kenny Williams Field. There is also a 1-mile fun run. Registration is $35. www.headinforhome5k.weebly.com
Suburban Fourth of July events
▪ Park City will host a “Salute to Freedom” with a parade, live music, games and more starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday at 6801 N. Hydraulic. Fireworks start at 10 p.m. Free admission. Food vendors will be on site throughout the day.
▪ Derby’s Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks, starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in High Park, 2801 E. James, will include eight food trucks, games and a fireworks display. Admission is free. There will also be a parade, Party in the Park and multiple other celebrations throughout the day. For a full list of events, visit www.derbyweb.com.
▪ Clearwater, partnered with TLC Enterprises, will hold a fireworks show free to the city, starting 15 to 30 minutes after sunset on Tuesday. The show can be viewed from the Clearwater High School football stadium or the parking lots of Clearwater Middle School or the Clearwater Intermediate Center.
▪ Haysville’s Independence Day Celebration will kick off with a parade at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday on Grand Avenue. There will be a carnival, games and swimming throughout the day at Riggs Park, 706 Sarah Lane. The celebration, sponsored by Haysville Park Board, will wrap up with a concert at 7:30 p.m. and a fireworks show at 9:45 p.m. Admission is free.
▪ Goddard is celebrating Independence Day starting at 7 p.m. Saturday at Discovery Intermediate School, 301 S. Main. Free hotdogs, watermelon and ice cream will be provided for the first 500 in attendance. There will be live music from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Fireworks start at dusk, followed by a pool party at the Goddard Municipal Pool.
▪ Andover will celebrate the red, white and blue with a Fourth of July concert in the Park, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Andover Central Park, 1607 E. Central. The Andover Community Band will be performing the free concert. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.
▪ El Dorado’s Independence Day Celebration starts at 9 a.m. Tuesday and will include games, free lunch, swimming and more. Events take place in East Park, 100 S. Woodland. At 7 p.m., there will be an El Dorado Broncos baseball game at McDonald Stadium with a fireworks show after the last inning. Admission is free.
▪ North Newton kicks off its free Independence Day celebration at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Kidron Bethel Village, 3001 Ivy Drive. There will be a bake sale, quilt auction, games and more. Fireworks start at dusk. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.
Before the Fourth
▪ Wichita: Approximately 9:30 p.m. Thursday, following the Celebrate America Concert at Bradley Fair, 21st and Rock. Admission is free.
▪ Wichita: About 10 p.m. Sunday, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 600 N. Greenwich. The fireworks show provides the finale of the free four-hour event “A Musical Celebration of Our Freedoms.”
▪ Goddard: At dusk Saturday as part of the Goddard Community Independence Day Celebration. Prime viewing from Discovery Intermediate School, 301 S. Main, in Goddard. Admission is free.
▪ Augusta: 9:30 p.m. Monday at Augusta’s City Lake. According to Augusta’s website, its Fourth of July vendor didn’t have anyone available on the Fourth, so the city’s planning its festivities on July 3. Admission is free.
▪ Wellington: Immediately following the Wellington Heat baseball game at Sellers Park, 501 E. Harvey, on Monday. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.
On the Fourth of July
▪ Wichita: 9:45 p.m., downtown Wichita, as part of “Red, White and BOOM!” on the Hyatt lawn area, 400 W. Waterman. Admission is free.
▪ Derby: 9:30 p.m. in High Park, 2801 James. Admission is free.
▪ Park City: 10 p.m. in Hap McLean Park, 6801 N. Hydraulic. Admission is free.
▪ Haysville: 9:45 p.m. in Riggs Park, 706 Sarah Lane. Admission is free.
▪ Clearwater: Shortly after sunset. Fireworks can best be viewed from the Clearwater High School football stadium, 1201 E. Ross in Clearwater, or Clearwater Middle School or the Clearwater Intermediate Center. Admission is free.
▪ North Newton: At dusk at Kidron Bethel Village, 3001 Ivy Drive. Admission is free.
▪ El Dorado: Approximately 9 p.m., following Broncos baseball game at McDonald Stadium, 210 N. Griffith St., El Dorado
A well-worth-it drive on the Fourth
▪ Peabody (45-minute drive): The town will host its 94th annual Peabody 4th Fest Sunday-Tuesday – and Peabody goes all out for the Fourth. Attendance to all events are included with the purchase of a $3 festival button, sold at the gate. The event offers dance parties, a parade, carnival and fireworks. Fireworks start at dusk on Tuesday. For more information, visit www.peabody4thfest.com.
▪ Wamego (2 hours, 30 minutes): Wamego hosts what is apparently the No. 1-rated fireworks show in the state every year, so it’s probably worth the drive up, to see whether the show truly lives up to that lofty hype. All day long, there is a car show, parade, carnival and other fun Fourth of July festivities. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.visitwamego.com/july4th.
▪ Tulsa (2 hours, 45 minutes): Approximately 80,000 people turn out for the Folds of Honor FreedomFest every year, which is presented by QuikTrip. The event, which is billed as one of the largest fireworks displays in the U.S., is on the Arkansas River in downtown Tulsa. Admission is free. For more information, visit www.riverparks.org/freedomfest.
▪ Oklahoma City (2 hours, 30 minutes): The Downtown 4th Fest in Oklahoma City’s Boat House District is a popular event in Oklahoma City that starts at 4 p.m. Admission is free. Fireworks begin at 9:45 p.m. For more information, visit www.downtown4thfest.com.
▪ Kansas City (3 hours driving): The KC RiverFest bills itself as the premiere Fourth of July attraction in the Kansas City area, based primarily in the Country Club Plaza area. Throughout the day, there will be live music, food and a variety of other activities. Admission is $5, cash-only, at the gate. Ages 12 and under are free. For more information, visit www.kcriverfest.com.