Celebrate the day that 13 little colonies said yes, we can and signed the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Humboldt's Fourth of July festivities are plentiful — we've got parades, barbecues, festivals and fireworks. Here's where to tip your star-spangled hat.
The Friendly City does everyone a solid by starting the festivities a day early. The Fortuna Fireworks Festival is Tuesday, July 3 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Newburg Park. The park will have arts and crafts vendors, music, a light show, barbecue and fireworks at dusk (free admission, $5 kids activity wristbands, barbecue $10, $5 kids). Parking is available in McLean Field for a $5 donation.
Party all day on Wednesday, July 4 at Arcata Plaza at the Fourth of July Jubilee from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (free). As always, Arcata's oldest-running festival offers lively and diverse music, the Bubbles Parade, arts and crafts booths, and a kids' zone featuring a dunk tank, skate ramps, face painting and bean bag toss. This year the Humboldt Crabs will be signing autographs at 11 a.m. Expect more fun with breakdancing and Jiu Jitsu demos, aerial performances and lots of festive food. And what would the fourth be without baseball? The Crabbies host the Solano Mudcats at 2:30 p.m. at the Arcata Ballpark ($9, $6 seniors/students, $4 kids).
A little farther south, Old Town's Fourth of July Festival delivers five city blocks packed with more than 100 vendors, classic cars, kids' activities, firetrucks, food and drinks, and loads of live music from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (free). There you can hop aboard a historic 1940s Crew Speeder Car and ride it down by the waterfront from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ($5, $4 seniors, $3 ages 3-10, free for kids under 2). And don't miss the spectacular fireworks as they boom, crack and sizzle over the bay starting at 10 p.m. (free).
Check out the Norman Rockwell scene at the Fourth of July Parade and Fire Truck Rides from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Main Street, Ferndale (free). Volunteer firefighters celebrate independence with shiny engine rides for kids from 10 a.m. to noon. Plus a small-town parade down Main Street.
What's poppin' in Southern Humboldt? Spend the day picnicking with your family at the tables and barbecues at the Benbow Lake State Recreation Area, then look up to the sky and see the Fourth of July Fireworks Show at dark around 9:30 p.m. (free to watch, $8 per car day use parking). Also, Fourth of July in Miranda is a town-wide event with its kids' zone, food, live music, non-alcoholic drinks by KMUD, a petting zoo, parade and a marble hunt (free admission).
One last word, revelers. Don't let patriotic become idiotic — have fun but be respectful of veterans, animals and people who don't enjoy having the living daylights scared out of them by illegal fireworks. Keep your pets safe and sound in your house.