A busy Fourth of July holiday awaits residents and visitors, including eight fireworks shows.
Alpena has a long list of events for July 4, including a sandcastle contest with registration at 8 a.m. and judging at 4 p.m. There will be a 5K run/walk by the Dork Brothers Racing Team at 9 a.m.. Race entry forms are available at the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce office.
The annual parade begins at 11 a.m. at the Alpena County Fairgrounds and continues down 11th Avenue to Chisholm Street to Second Avenue across the bridge, and left on Fletcher. During the parade, tickets will be sold for the Alpena Optimist Rubber Duckie Race and when the parade is finished, the ducks will be released from the Ninth Avenue bridge and race down the river to Rotary Island Mill Park.
The 13th Annual Thunder Bay Maritime Festival at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary/Heritage Center will have events for the whole family all day for free and is hosted by the sanctuary.
There will be an Alpena City Band Concert at the Bay View Park Band Shell at 5:30 p.m., with the True North Radio Network Summer Concert Series featuring "Hells Bells" a tribute to AC/DC free after the band concert from 7-10 p.m.
The fireworks are the main event for the evening, with chamber raised $22,000 for the fireworks display.
"People watch the fireworks from all over the area," chamber administrative assistant Alisha Bouchard said. "Some people go out on boats to watch the fireworks and people line the roads to watch the show.
"Alpena has a unique celebration with all different types of events for everyone in the family."
Montmorency County is hosting a parade and fireworks shows in both Atlanta and Lewiston on the fourth, along with Mill River Days July 5-6.
The Atlanta Chamber of Commerce has put on the fireworks display for over 30 years through yearly fundraising events around the community. The chamber raises over $3,500 every year, including donations from local businesses supporting the Independence Day activities.
The Village of Hillman is having its annual Mill River Days starting on Friday with a classic car cruise; antiques and unique vehicles are welcome. Trophies are awarded and there is a village cruise later that evening. There are also arts and crafts along with music on the Brush Creek Mill lawn, and old time games and a pet show at Emerick Park on Saturday. The Elk Country Animal Shelter will host a pet show with prizes given
Presque Isle County has many events in Onaway, Rogers City and Presque Isle Township with poker tournaments, kiddie parades, and events for children during the holiday. Onaway has a unique tradition of voting for two children to be the Sugar and Spice winners for the holiday weekend. This year's Sugar and Spice winners are Jeffery Pauley and Ellory Howell. The voting has raised $600 to put toward next year's fireworks display.
Onaway also has a kiddie parade and grand parade with games and a fireman water blast at Maxon Field after the parades.
"The parade is our biggest event," chamber President Connie Gibson said. "We bring in around 10,000 people for the festivities, and people who watch the fireworks line up for miles and miles to see the display."
The Onaway Chamber raised over $6,200 for this year's fireworks display along with funds for the rest of the activities during the weekend.
Crafters from all over the area will be on the Onaway Courthouse lawn starting July 4 and going through July 6 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. selling and displaying their art to the public.
Rogers City also has art over the weekend. July 6-7 the Dancing Hippo Art Festival will be taking place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Bearinger Township Hall in Ocqueoc with art displays. Saturday is Family Fun Day at Lakeside Park in Rogers City from 12-4 p.m. with childrens games and entertainment, including a city band concert at 7 p.m. at the band shell.
A fireworks display will launch from the Calcite Quarry at dusk visible from the park and beaches near Rogers City.
Presque Isle Township's Parks and Recreation Committee raised over $9,000 for its fireworks display this year on Saturday. The fireworks will happen around dusk and are launched from the Old Lighthouse.
"It's quite the show," township Clerk Cynthia Paavola said. "We have kids games and the lighthouses are open until 6 p.m. We have a minimum of 2,000 people attend each year."
There will be a picnic and kids bike parade around the lighthouse grounds along with bingo and a sandcastle contest at the harbor.
"It's going to be a beautiful weekend," Paavola said. "People with classic cars come out and we have a color guard that leads the parade."
Barton City has a parade through town. Snacks, strawberry shortcake and barbecue will be available after the parade along with a beer tent and music by Reeling in the Years. Fireworks will be shot off from the island at Jewell Lake at dark.
Glennie has its annual parade at 2 p.m. on Thursday with crafts, carnival games and cake walks in the ball field next to the town hall. Lawnmower races will be held at the field after the parade judging and everyone is invited to attend the celebration. Fireworks will be launched at dusk.
The 37th Annual Children's Parade in Harrisville starts at 1 p.m. on 117 E. Main St with music on the hill above the harbor starting at 7:30 p.m. followed by fireworks at dark.
Hubbard Lake will hold its 8th annual boat parade on Thursday at 1 p.m. starting off shore from Churchill Point Inn, with weather permitting. The parade had over 80 boats participating in the parade last year adorned in red, white and blue decorations.
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.