ALPENA - From early morning to well after the sun goes down there is a long list of outdoor activities for people of all ages to take part in during Fourth of July activities in Alpena.
The sand castle contest begins at 8 a.m. and concludes at 4 p.m. and the 2012 Dork Brother's 5k walk/run will begin at 9 a.m. at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
One of the day's premier events starts at 11 a.m. when floats and bands will make their way through Alpena in the Alpena Lafarge 4th of July Parade. The parade will begin at the Alpena County Fairgrounds down 11th Avenue to Chisholm Street to Second Avenue and then on to Fletcher Street.
Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce Administrative Assistant Alisha Bouchard said the events are set up so after one concludes people can move on to another.
"We try to make it an all-day experience," Bouchard said. "Many people leave the parade and go to the Maritime Festival, go to Starlite Beach to see the sand castles, watch the concert in the park and then stay for the fireworks. The fireworks and the parade are probably the marquee events and people come from all over to see them, but there are a lot of other things going on as well."
Bouchard said the annual Fourth of July celebration stands out above many other similar celebrations. She said some communities have alternate dates to celebrate, while Alpena holds true to the original holiday.
"I think Alpena's celebration is unique because we actually celebrate it on the Fourth of July no matter what day of the week it falls on," Bouchard said. "Some communities will celebrate it on the nearest weekend. I think Alpena's Fourth of July celebration is one of the biggest and stacks up against anybody."
The 12th annual Thunder Bay Maritime Festival will take place from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., with the second annual cardboard boat regatta race will begin at 2:30 p.m. behind the NOAA building.
Alpena City Band will perform at 5:50 p.m. at the band shell at Bay View Park before Kenny Chesney tribute band "Tequila and You" takes the stage at 7 p.m.
As always the day is capped off with the fireworks show. Much of the funding for the fireworks show were raised through the sale of buttons sold locally by the chamber. Bouchard said the amount from buttons sold and private donations exceeded the goals set before the process began.
"The button sale was phenomenal. We had a goal set of $19,000 and we made $20,500. The community support was just huge," Bouchard said. "The individual, personal and business donations are really what make this celebration possible and always the people in the community came through in a big way."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.