It's time once again to celebrate our Independence. Sunday is the Fourth of July, with the requisite flags, fireworks and patriotic songs, but this year the local celebrations get going early.
First up is Freedom First: A Salute to Our Country on Thursday at the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts (412 G St., Eureka). Local musicians and actors including Eureka Brass Band, Limited Edition, Charles Young, Lawrence Trump and Katie Kime join forces to honor the US Coast Guard and America in general, portraying great moments of America through songs and literature. The performance begins at 7 p.m., preceded by a reception at 6 with "American-inspired hors d'oeuvres and classic Fourth of July American fare." Admission $12, 442-1956 for reservations.
Then on Saturday afternoon, the Eureka Symphony and Fern Cottage present A Star Spangled Third from 2-4 p.m. at Fern Cottage (outside of Ferndale). The benefit combines an ice cream social with patriotic brass music by the symphony's brass section under the direction of Justin Sousa (a distant relative of John Phillip, perhaps?). Admission $25, $40 per couple, $50 for families up to six. Reservations 444-8559 or 786-4835.
Fortuna solved the high cost of pyrotechnics problem by shifting a day forward (when fireworks displays are apparently discounted). The Fortuna Fireworks Festival, a new event, is on July 3, starting at 5 p.m. in Newberg Park. They'll have "patriotic music" by Fortuna's own Mike Gibbs (he's releasing a patriotic CD that day) plus softball, kids stuff like a bounce house, inflated slide, a rock climbing wall, potato sack races and fireman mini-muster. An apple pie-eating contest starts at 6 pm followed by gymnastic demos from Health Sport at 7 p.m. A BBQ features hotdogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, potato salad and watermelon. Fireworks at dark! 725-9261 for more info.
Sunday, July 4 -- Independence Day proper -- brings revelry and bombs bursting in air all over the county. The Garberville/Redway Area Chamber of Commerce presents a Family 4th of July Picnic and Firework Display at Benbow Lake State Recreation Area, with food and fun starting at 3 p.m. They'll have hayrides and kid's activities, music by The Nestburys, Del McCain and The SoHum Girls. Grande finale: PyroSpectacular fireworks display at 10 p.m. Admission $7, kids 2-11 $3, under 2 free. No pets, glass containers, personal fireworks, alcohol or drugs please.
The Town of Ferndale July 4th Celebration includes free fire engine rides from the Ferndale VFD starting at 10 a.m., a Patriotic Parade down Main Street with Grand Marshal Mike McClimon and The Scotia Band at noon, followed by a picnic at Town Hall. Ferndale Repertory Theatre hosts the Celebrate America Music Review at 3 p.m. honoring (among other things) the 75th year anniversary of The Scotia Band. Admission $12, $6 students. (800-838-3006 or www.ferndale-rep.org). Fireworks after dark at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds sponsored by Bear River Casino.
Eureka Main Street's Fourth of July Festival runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Second Street in Old Town. They'll have 100 plus vendors with food, art, etc. with kids activities, pony rides, horse and carriage rides and Madaket Bay Cruises. The live music on two stages has several bands playing twice: alt. rockers Scotch Wiggly play at the Gazebo at 10 a.m. then at 2nd and C at 12:45, prize-winning folky Josephine Johnson strums at 11 (Gazebo) and 2:45 (C St.), the rockin' David Young Trio plays at 1:30 (Gazebo) and 3:45 (C). You also have a Hoodie Contest and Ya Habibi Dance Co. (12:30 Gazebo), ’60s throwbacks Sour Cream (10 a.m. - C St.), Roy Storm Hayotis (1:45 - C St.) and last but not least, the bluesy St. John and The Sinners (3:30-5 p.m. - Gazebo). A grand fireworks display after dark over the Bay ends the day. 442-9054 for more details.
Arcata's Fourth of July Jubilee begins at 10 a.m. on the Arcata Plaza with Stacey Lyon Costa singing that song you read about in our cover story ("The Star Spangled Banner"). Arts and crafts and food booths also open at that time along with a Kids Zone where you'll find members of the Humboldt Crabs team autographing baseballs or whatever at 10:15. The Crabs play the Nevada Bighorns starting at 12:30 in the ballpark nearby. The day's entertainment includes the Tom Petty tribute, Full Moon Fever (at 10:15 a.m.), Gin-n-Guitar Stan (11:15), kids singer Lisa Monet (12:15), CADA African Dance and Rhythms (1 p.m.), The Confusion Hill Band (1:15), Brazilian music and dance by Samba na Chuva (2:15), zydeco etc. by The Bayou Swamis (2:30), Shoshanna and the Ya Habibi Dance Company (3:15), ’80s music by Eyes Anonymous (3:30), and, closing the show, the wild international sounds of Humboldt Bandemonium (4:15). No admission charge, however, there's a "security surcharge" for a wristband if you want beer. For more information call the Arcata Chamber of Commerce, at 822-3619 or go to www.arcatachamber.com. Sorry, no rockets red glare in Arcata this year.