The Fourth of July is just around the corner! Now is the time to break out your red, white, and blue gear and celebrate the birth and history of our nation. The Fourth is a highlight of summer, and many local communities have fun, family-friendly events planned not just for the Fourth but also the days before and after.
The Fourth of July is an important celebration for our family. Not only is it a time for my husband and I to bask in our history and civic nerd-dom, but it also falls near our middle son’s birthday. He’s a lucky kid, since we rarely have to coordinate additional plans due to the exciting festivities happening in our community.
Here’s a list of local events and firework displays planned in the area:
Iowa City Jazz Festival
June 30th-July 2nd
Kick off your Fourth of July celebrations with a weekend of live jazz performances, delicious food, and a full-blown fireworks finale over the University of Iowa’s Pentacrest lawn. Music will be featured on four stages, showcasing a variety of well-known jazz musicians and new talent alongside national and international artists. Be sure to bring a blanket or chair to enjoy this weekend of wonderful music. Or, if you’re lucky enough to get a night out with your spouse, you can enjoy a beverage in a beer garden! You can view the schedule of events here.
Shiloh Ampitheater Fireworks, Kalona
If you’ve never witnessed this impressive display of pyrotechnic pageantry, be sure to check it out this year! The Shiloh show is a brilliant display of fireworks perfectly timed to music. In addition to the fireworks, attendees will enjoy the live band performances that start at 7:00. Concessions are available, and bench and blanket seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission to the event is free, but there is a $10.00 parking fee. An important thing to note: the doors close at 8:00 p.m. This show is about 30 miles outside of Iowa City, so be sure to leave in plenty of extra drive time. You can learn more here.
July 1- 4th
Coralville’s annual 4th of July celebration is an area tradition. The multi-day festival attracts thousands of residents and visitors. As such, if you plan to attend any of the events you will need to leave in plenty of time to park and find a spot for your family. Festivities include a 5K run/walk, entertainment, food, a carnival, a free concert on July 3, the area’s largest Fourth of July parade, activities in the park, and fireworks on July 4. Most of the events are free and are hosted in S.T. Morrison Park (1513 7th St in Coralville). You can learn more about FourthFest here.
North Liberty Blues and BBQ
Wrap up your Fourth of July celebrations with North Liberty Blues & BBQ. This event brings the North Liberty community together for a free, family-friendly event. You’ll enjoy live Iowa blues music and remarkable food. You can view the schedule of events here.
Private Fireworks Shows
One final note: recent legislation has changed the rules regarding the purchase of fireworks in Iowa. Although you can now purchase fireworks in the state, most municipalities in Johnson County have strict ordinances in place that limits and/or prohibits the sale and use of fireworks in town. Be sure to read this article for more information on where personal fireworks can be purchased and/or used locally.
What are your family’s Fourth of July celebrations and traditions?