Independence Day fireworks, parades, barbecues and more will help celebrate the nation's birthday and enduring freedoms this weekend.
Friday is a national holiday marking the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, freeing the 13 American colonies from British control.
Festivities will be held throughout the Sierra foothills, although the long running "Fireworks on the Water" at Lake Don Pedro will not be held this year. Here are several activities to choose from:
• The Mokelumne Hill Lions Club will sponsor its annual Fourth of July Celebration on Friday beginning with a pancake breakfast from 7:30 to 11 a.m. in the town hall, followed by a parade at 11 a.m. on Main Street and children's games and races in Shutter Tree Park. The Lions Club also will serve bratwurst.
Parade grand marshal will be Michael Dell'Orto, a former Calaveras County supervisor, Lions Club president and Mokelumne Hill fire chief.
For more information, call event chairman Terry Weatherby at 286-1241.
• The Twain Harte Business Association will sponsor its annual "Parade with a Harte" and other activities on Friday in downtown Twain Harte.
Taking place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Meadow Plaza will be live music, face painting, clown, water slide, bounce house, dunk tank, removable tattoos and more.
The Twain Harte Rotary Club also will sell hot dogs and hamburgers.A patriotic sing-along will start at 10:30 a.m. at the Twain Harte Arch, followed by the parade at 11 a.m.on Joaquin Gully Road.
Parade entry is free. Categories include vehicles, animals, bands, veterans, bicycles, organizations, floats and novelties.
The grand marshal will be Richard Kamphaus, second place finisher in the Twain Harte Rotary Club's 2014 Crapper Derby.
Fire truck rides will be offered at 1 p.m. on Cedar Drive. For more information, call 586-7632 or 586-1976.
• Columbia's annual Glorious Fourth of July Celebration, featuring a parade, brass band concert, barbecue and old-fashioned contests, will take place Friday in Columbia State Historic Park.
Festivities will begin with a ceremonial flag raising and black powder musket salute at 11 a.m.
The parade at noon, band concert at 1:15 p.m. and street dancing at 2 p.m. are free, with a $1 donation to enter the contests.
Parade registration begins at 10 a.m. in front of the Fallon Hotel. There is no charge, with prizes awarded in several categories.
Here's the contest schedule:
Needle in the haystack, 11 a.m.; watermelon and pie eating, 1 p.m.; nail pounding, 1:15 p.m.; greased pole climbing, 2 p.m.; egg relay race, 2:30 p.m.; egg toss, 3 p.m.; cake walk, 3 p.m.; and five-way tug-of-war, 3:30 p.m.
Tickets for the tri-tip barbecue, beginning at 2 p.m., are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 10.
Longtime Columbia docent Larry Baumgardner will ride as parade grand marshal, along with Carolyn Prindleas 2014 Goddess of Liberty.
For more information, call 536-1672or visit www.visitcolumbiacalifornia.com .
• Railtown 1897 State Historic Park in Jamestown will offer train rides from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Rides behind the Sierra No. 3 "Movie Star Locomotive" are available on Friday and Saturday, with a vintage diesel locomotive pulling the cars on Sunday. Train fares, including park admission, are $15 for adults and $8 for youths 6 to 17, free for children 5 and under.
On Friday, live music also will be provided by the Brothers Strong and Co., performing originals and classics from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Music is included with the $5 park entry fee. For more information, call 984-3953 or visit www.railtown1897.org. • Dardanelle Resort on upper Highway 108 will hold a Family Fun Parade at 11 a.m. Friday. The Sierra Mountain Band also will perform from noon to 3 p.m.
• The Angels Camp Business Association will present "Picnic in the Park: A Salute to Our Veterans" from noon to 5 p.m. Friday at Utica Park in Angels Camp.
Attractions will include games, crafts, patriotic dress contest, table decorating contest, Smokey Bear, food, beverages, the Angels Camp Farmers Market, music by the Governor's Own Military Band at 12:30 p.m., a salute to veterans led by retired Navy Capt. James Dodge at 1 p.m. and music by Chains Required at 2:30 p.m.
Admission is free. For more information, call 736-1333.
• Christian Heights Church will sponsor its 22nd annual Family Fourth of July Celebration on Friday on the church athletic field 13711 Joshua Way off Tuolumne Road east of Sonora. All events except dinner are free.
This year's program has a new schedule, with activities beginning at 4 p.m. and continuing through the evening with games, rides, water slide, entertainment, live auction and laser light show.
The only charge during the evening will be for a pulled pork dinner at 5:30 p.m. Adult dinner tickets are $7 if purchased in advance at the church office or $8 at the door. Dinner tickets for children under 10 are $5.
Here's the schedule:
4 p.m. - Water slide, train rides, pedal cars, bounce house and classic car exhibition.
5:30 p.m. - Dinner under the tent, entertainment and live auction for antique furniture, vacation packages and more.
7 p.m. - BMX stunt show.
8 p.m. - Entertainment continues.
9:15 p.m. - Ultimate laser light show.
For more information, call 532-7305.
• ReHorse Rescue Ranch will hold its annual Fourth of July Barbecue from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday at Pine Mountain Lake Stables at 13309 Clifton Way in Groveland. A barbecue dinner, color guard, live country music by the Michael Beck Band, dancing, beer, wine, wagon rides and prize drawings will be featured. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for children under 12, available at the door.
• First Friday in the Park will feature the Stardust Cowboys in a free cowboy and western swing concert beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Murphys Community Park on Algiers Street in Murphys.
Picnics are welcome. A prepared dinner, wine and other beverages also will be available for purchase. For more information, call 728-8183.
• The Calaveras Community Band will present its annual Fourth of July Concert at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Turner Park in San Andreas. The band, conducted by Mic Harper, will play patriotic favorites and swing tunes from 1940s.
Admission is free, with a barbecue chicken dinner available for $10 from 3:30 to 6 p.m. Glenn Moore, owner of Mountain Man Catering, is donating the profits to theCalaveras CommunityBand for new music. For more information, call 770-1258 or 728-9057.
• The Murphys Hotel on Main Street in Murphys will celebrate Independence Day with a ground-level fireworks display at sundown Friday. Families can also bring their own fireworks. Admission is free. For more information, call 728-3444.
• The Bret Harte High School parking lot on the north side of Murphys Grade Road in Angels Camp will be available to the public on Friday for the use of the public to display fireworks. Fireworks use permitted at the site is limited to the "safe and sane" variety as labeled by the State Fire Marshal.
Fireworks may not be used on other public property in Angels Camp, including city parks. For more information, call 736-2181.
• The Ebbetts Pass Independence Day Parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday on Highway 4 in Arnold. Grand marshals will be Bunny Firebaugh and Ray Sutliff. Marine veteran Ric Ryan will mark his 6,000th mile of walking to raise money for veterans.
Highway 4 will be closed in Arnold from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
• The Ebbetts Pass Lions Club will serve a pancake breakfast from 7:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday in conjunction with the 42nd annual Sierra Nevada Arts and Crafts Festival, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days on Highway 4 in Arnold.
• The Coulterville Fire Brigade will present its 46th annual Deep Pit Barbecue from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at Coulterville Park on Highway 49 next to the Hotel Jeffery.
Meal tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Other activities will include swimming, family-style relay games, silent auction and prize drawings. Live music will be provided by Coyote Hill. For more information, call Gail Tyler at 878-3792 or Debbie Cook at 878-3227.
• Ironstone Vineyards will hold its annual Independence Day Celebration on Saturday at 1894 Six Mile Road in Murphys.
Gates will open at 4:30 p.m., with fireworks at dark. Also featured will be bounce house, climbing wall, jugglers, food, beverages and live music by Jill Warren, Uplands Drive and Shane Dwight.
Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 6 to 12, ages 5 and under free. For more information, call 728-1251.