Thanks to Leap Year, Independence Day gets shunted to a Tuesday and deprives some working stiffs of a three-day weekend.
Arm yourself with little historical knowledge and you might appeal to a higher-up’s sense of patriotism and fair play. Technically, when the Pennsylvania Evening Post published “This Day the Continental Congress declared the United Colonies Free and Independent States,” it was the Second, not the Fourth.
Congress didn’t celebrate until the Eighth, and the paperwork wasn’t done even by Aug. 2. Only Congress president John Hancock and secretary Charles Thomson had signed the Declaration of Independence on the Fourth.
Strictly speaking, celebrating our mother country’s 224th birthday should be a two-month affair, so wouldn’t two days off be a fine compromise?
If that doesn’t work, console yourself that some Bay Area folks had the right idea and planned festivities for the weekend through the Fourth. Find one or more and get out there.
All events, unless noted, take place on Tuesday. Multiple events within cities are ordered according to date and time.
Alameda: The 10 a.m. Mayor’s Parade rises for an early but rousing start at Park Street and Lincoln Avenue. It proceeds south and heads west on Otis Drive, north on Grand Street, west on Encinal Avenue and north on Webster Street. The Recreation and Parks Department prolongs the party with its 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Fun Fair at Rittler Park, Grand Street and Otis Drive, with entertainment, carnival and food booths. 510-748-4545, 510-748-4565.
The USS Hornet, the ship that launched a thousand planes and defended the nation in World War II, continues to salute independence with tours, live music, dancing, children’s activities, food and wine, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Ideally positioned as usual, the aircraft carrier provides excellent sightlines to Bay Area fireworks. $10 general, $5 ages 5-17, free ages 2 and under. Pier 3 (Atlantic Avenue), Atlantic Point, Alameda. 510-521-8448, Ext. 228, www.uss-hornet.org.
Albany: The Lions Club heats up the griddle with a 7:30 a.m. pancake breakfast at Albany Veterans Memorial Building, 1325 Portland Ave. The city-sponsored celebration takes place a few steps away at Memorial Park, 1331 Portland Ave. The puppet and pet shows begin at 10 a.m. An inter-league Little League baseball game bats off in the morning. The official ceremony and family games begin at noon, followed by live entertainment at 1:30 p.m. The Chamber of Commerce brings back its annual ice cream giveaway. Throughout the day, there will be carnival games, food and watermelon-eating contests. 510-524-9283.
Antioch: The Delta town’s festivities, hosted by the Antioch Rivertown Business Association and the city, commence with a 3:30 p.m. “Comy” Compomizzo Fishing Pier dedication. The 4 p.m. Classic Car Show rolls out in the City Hall parking lot. After a one-mile/5K Fun Run, the hometown parade begins, 5 p.m. at Second and E streets. Food vendors in the parking lot across City Hall start dishing it up at 4 p.m., but tailgaters and picnickers are encouraged. At 7 p.m., magic, juggling and music begins. At 9:30 p.m., a barge on the San Joaquin River will discharge fireworks. 925-757-6440, www.antiochrivertown.com.
Berkeley: Adventure Playground begins at 11 a.m., but high noon at the marina at the end of University Avenue brings international foods, crafts, art cars, Madame Ovary’s egg puppets and face-painting. Join the community drumming circle (noon and 2 p.m.), or sail on the Bay for free (1-4 p.m.). The performance schedule includes Troupe Tangiers Belly Dancers (noon), Zambombazo (3 p.m.), MotorDude Zydeco, Ray Cepeda & Friends (4 p.m.), Capoeira Performing Arts (6 p.m.), Southbound (6 p.m.) and the Berkeley High Pep Band (7 p.m.). Fireworks spew forth at 9:30 p.m. Try higher ground on Grizzly Peak for splendid vistas of the East and North Bay. Hotline 510-549-8710, inberkeley.ci.berkeley.ca.us/
The Tilden Nature Area lets all creatures in on the Fourth of July Fun Day. Starting with the chickens at 11 a.m., animals of all sorts get to snack. Human beings get fed too, with red, white and blue ice cream. 510-525-2233, www.ebparks.org.
The Berkeley Farmers Market hosts its Interdependence Day Community Barbecue 2-7 p.m. at Derby Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Tossed in with the usual organic fruits and vegetables will be live music, beginning at 3 p.m. with doo-wopper Lindell Reeves, and barbecue with space for a public grilling free-for-all. Other acts include band Rebecca Riots and the Blues Daddies. 510-548-3333, www.ecologycenter.org.
Clayton: The Sunset Rotary hosts the 7 a.m. pancake breakfast at the post office parking lot on Diablo Avenue and Center Street. The Kiddie Parade begins at 10 a.m., with the library’s reading program kids serving as the Grand Marshall. The route starts at Oak and Center streets and runs along Main Street to Marsh Creek Road. Post-parade 11 a.m. festivities bring in Kiddieland Games & Prizes and the Clayton Historical Society auction. 925-937-1405.
Concord: In its 12th year and with a cast of 200, the Singing Flag program presents “Heart of America,” 7:30 p.m. Sunday-Tuesday at the Concord Neighborhood Park on Concord Boulevard. The free presentation ends with an aerial fireworks show. Guests can visit an expanded Playland U.S.A. and a sizable snack bar. 925-458-9100, www.calvarytemple1.org.
On Monday, “Diablo Ballet Under the Stars,” takes to the stage at 8 p.m. with a program featuring “The Puzzle,” “Pas de Deux from Apollo,” “They’ve Lost Their Footing” and “Encores.” Gates for the Chronicle Pavilion at Concord, 2000 Kirker Pass Road, open 6:30 p.m.; parking is $8. 925-671-3100.
The city’s ninth annual Fourth of July Parade and Festival begins at 10 a.m. with leaps and bounds with a dunking tank, astro jump and martial arts. The Young Performers Company performs 10:30 a.m., and another bout of live music begins 1 p.m. by East Bay Mudd. The noontime parade begins at Todos Santos Plaza, winds up Willow Pass Road, circles the park and heads back down to Salvio Street. 925-798-9728, 925-709-0557, www.ci.concord.ca.us.
The California Symphony conducted by Berry Jekowsky returns with movie scores, pop and classical standards, patriotic tunes and a premiere performance of “The Golden Land: A California Cantata.” The gates for the Pavilion, 2000 Kirker Pass Road, open at 6 p.m., allowing time for the preconcert KidFun. $13-$28, and free to children in the Family Seating section. 925-671-3100, 762-BASS, www.chroniclepavilion.com.
Crockett: Swimming opens at the Crockett pool at noon with no charge. A 1 p.m. lunch of barbecued chicken with all the trimmings costs $6 a plate. The event, sponsored by the Members of Crockett Recreation Association, concludes at 5 p.m. Crockett Pool, 510-787-2567.
Danville: The 7 a.m. $4 pancake breakfast tradition hosted by the Danville Rotary Club continues at San Ramon Valley High School on Love Lane, as does the 10 a.m. Kiwanis Club parade at Danville Boulevard and Railroad Avenue. It makes its 29th round south along Hartz and San Ramon Valley Boulevard to Sycamore Valley Road. The community carnival, complete with the little league’s second annual World Series of Bar-B-Que, follows 11 a.m. at Livery & Mercantile Shopping Center, San Ramon Valley Boulevard and Sycamore Valley Road. Committee hotline Diane Slater 925-820-1777, parade hotline 831-3374.
Delta: Hilton Hotels hosts its annual fireworks display 8 p.m. Sunday. from a barge off Mandeville Tip, between Mandeville and Venice islands, about 12 nautical miles east of Antioch.
El Cerrito: Let the ninth annual games begin at the 10 a.m.-4 p.m. festival in the El Cerrito Community Center, 7007 Moeser Lane. Musical accompaniment comes in the form of Harmonics Steel Band, Young Musicians Program Jazz Ensemble, Desert Heat, Outgrabe, Jimi James, Strolling Dixieland Band and Rod’s Rhythm Works. 510-215-4370, www.ci.el-cerrito.ca.us.
Fremont: The city makes it a tradition with its second major Independence Day celebration. The 9:30 a.m. parade begins at the Tri-Cities Sporting Goods parking lot, loops east on Grimmer Boulevard, south on Fremont Boulevard and ends at Bay Street. At Central Park, Paseo Padre Parkway, the spectacle continues with an aerial fly-over, honor guard and the national anthem. Entertainment comes on two stages with live music, clowns, magicians, pot-belly pig races, jugglers and outdoor activities like the climbing wall, giant slide and obstacle course; www.ci.fremont.ca.us/centralpark/
Ardenwood Historic Farm, 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., celebrates an old-fashioned Independence Day, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Ride carriages, a hay wagon and the farm’s horse-drawn railroad. For more aerobic activities, indulge in watermelon seed spitting, egg tossing, tug of war, sack racing and nail driving while listening to a brass band or country fiddling. Admission is $7.50 general, $5.50 ages 13-17 and 62 and older, $5 ages 4-12, free for ages 3 and under. 510-796-0663, www.ebparks.org.
Hercules/Pinole: The celebration begins with a 10:30 a.m. parade at Redwood Road and Pecan Drive. It winds down Redwood Road to Sycamore Avenue and ends up at Refugio Valley Park at Refugio Valley Road. After the marching bands, classic cars, floats and community groups go by, celebrants can gather at the park for entertainment, food, games, a dunk tank and inflatable jumper. When dusk settles, the cities of Pinole and Hercules set off fireworks and music at San Pablo Bay off Railroad Avenue. Hercules Chamber of Commerce, 510-799-0282.
Lafayette: The city will not be hosting any celebrations this year.
Livermore: They call themselves folksy in Robertson Park between Wente and Arroyo roads, and they prove it in the 17th annual July Fourth celebration with food and face-painting at 4 p.m. Competition heats up in the gunny-sack races, tug-of-war and water-balloon toss. Music begins at 4:30 p.m. and karaoke for the brave at 5:15 p.m. The favorite hat parade commences at 7:30 p.m. At 9:30 p.m., the Sky Concert Fireworks Show simulcasts with adult-contemporary station KKIQ. Admission $10 per vehicle or $2 per pedestrian. No cans, glass bottles, fireworks or alcohol. 925-373-5788, www.ci.livermore.ca.us.
Martinez: Marina Park at Ferry Street provides the best vantage point for the 9 p.m. pyrotechnics from the marina, as well as the works from Benicia and Vallejo’s Six Flags Marine World. Only vehicles for the handicapped will be allowed into the Marina area. 925-372-3448.
Moraga: You might have to eat and run to make the 7 a.m. pancake breakfast, served in Commons Park at St. Marys and Moraga roads, and the Fun Run registration at Moraga Shopping Center. Then again, you might be able to use the carbohydrates for the three runs, the first of which starts at 8 a.m. The 9 a.m. dog parade precedes the 10 a.m. little tykes on bikes parade. The food and other booths open at 11 a.m., with music by the Barbarshop Quartet, Contra Costa Wind Symphony, Spinning Wheels, Tommy & the Speeds. Fireworks follow the Mayor Cunnane’s 9:15 p.m. welcome. 925-376-2520, www.ci.moraga.ca.us/july4-96.htm.
Oakland: Square off for the eighth annual Fourth of July Celebration at Jack London Square at Alice Street and The Embarcadero. Show up at noon for live entertainment, arts and crafts, All-American Apple Bake-Off Contest and the 4 p.m. Kids’ Hat and Flag Parade. New this year is the Family Picnic Zone and the canine obstacle course demonstrations, courtesy of the Berkeley East Bay Humane Society. You can’t bring your own dog, but you can bring a radio to listen to the KBLX simulcast with the 9:30 p.m. fireworks. 510-814-6000, www.jacklondonsq.com.
The Pardee Home Museum, 672 11th St., liked it so much last year, it’s hosting a second annual Fourth of July Picnic. The noon-4 p.m. afternoon of genteel-yet-boisterous civility gets under way with Victorian-era games such as badminton and croquet. Admission is $8 general, $4 ages 11 and under and $4 for Friends of the Pardee Home. 510-444-2187, www.pardeehome.org.
Travel in presidential luxury with the Potomac Fireworks Cruise aboard Franklin D. Roosevelt’s yacht. The event begins 5:45 p.m. at Jack London Square. On board, Dangerous Divas sing while guests gorge on buffet dinner. Space is limited to 90 people. Proceeds from the $150 tickets benefit the Potomac Association museum’s education programs. 510-627-1215.
If you’re cruising for another cruise, the Lawrence Hall of Science Fourth of July Bay Cruise runs 7:30-10:45 p.m. The excursion, departing from Jack London Square, boasts some of the best seats on the water for fireworks. Dick Quierolo provides the magic show, while guests provide their own picnic dinner. A snack bar is available. Advance tickets ($45, discount for LHS members) are required. Proceeds benefit the hall’s educational programs. 510-642-5134, www.lhs.berkeley.edu.
Orinda: Rise for the 7:30 a.m. pancake breakfast at the Bank of America parking lot off Orinda Way. Tickets cost $5 general, $3 for ages 12 and under. The flag-raising ceremony is at 7:55 a.m. near the city’s offices. After the 8 a.m. Fun Run, listen to the Orinda Volunteer Marching Band practice at the BART station parking lot for the 10 a.m. parade. From the lot, the parade route winds along Brookwood Road, Moraga Way, Camino Pablo, Santa Maria and Orinda ways, ending at Orinda Community Park. Spectators can check out booths, games, entertainment and a water play area. A concert in the park plays 6:30-8:30 p.m. Orinda Association 925-254-0800, www.ci.orinda.ca.us.
Pinole: The city and Hercules jointly host the fireworks celebration. See Hercules.
Pittsburg: The city’s eighth annual pyrotechnics show begins at sunset at the marina. 925-432-7301, www.ci.pittsburg.ca.us.
Pleasant Hill: The Pleasant Hill Senior Citizens center sponsors the 8 a.m.-noon pancake breakfast at 233 Gregory Lane. Admission is $2.50 general, $1.50 ages 4-12, and free to ages 4 and under. The 10 a.m. parade begins at Cleaveland and Boyd roads, proceeds along Crescent Drive to Contra Costa Boulevard, turns onto Gregory Lane and ends back at Cleaveland Road. The 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Clock Tower ribbon-cutting ceremony launches a block party of music performers, balloon twisters, jugglers, Uncle Sam on stilts and activities booths along Crescent Drive. Ticket sales benefit the 4th of July Commission. Fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m. at College Park High School fields. 925-938-6898, 714-838-5950.
Pleasanton: The Alameda County Fair at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, Interstate 680 at Bernal Avenue, continues its run, but with a shorter day (11 a.m.-6 p.m.) Tickets cost $7 general, $4 ages 6-12 and 62 and older. Parking is $5-$10. 925-426-7600, hotline 925-426-7559, www.alamedacountyfair.com.
The celebration continues the next day with the town’s Red, White and Blues 1st Wednesday Street Party. The main street shuts down for the 6-9 p.m. evening of dancing, dining and shopping. Fillmore Slim performs the Fedora Blues Revue, while the Clay Burton Band plays the tunes.
Richmond: City celebrations come a day early with fireworks Monday at the Richmond Bay Marina waterfront. 510-233-7771, www.ci.richmond.ca.us.
San Ramon: Run or walk to Independence Day celebrations with the Run San Ramon 5K, 10K Run and 3K in front of the San Ramon Community Center, 12501 Alcosta Blvd. The $18 registration starts at 7 a.m. with the race at 8:30 a.m., followed by refreshments and an award ceremony. The evening Star-Spangled Spectacular at San Ramon Central Park takes on a beach party theme, “Make a Splash.” Festivities begin 5 p.m. with the San Ramon Symphonic Band providing the patriotic musical backdrop and Mersey Beach playing the oldies. Descending once again will be the Spirit of America parachute team. KKIQ-FM simulcasts the 9:35 p.m. Sky Concert Fireworks Show (see Livermore for details). Do not bring alcohol, barbecues, pets or fireworks. The $3 parking lot is off Bollinger Canyon Road. 925-275-2300, www.ci.san-ramon.ca.us.
Walnut Creek: As part of the PARK Concert series sponsored by the city and the Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, Harvey Benstein strikes up the Walnut Creek Concert Band at 6 p.m. at the Civic Park Gazebo, North Broadway and Civic Drive. Spectators are encouraged to wave their own red-and-white by spreading out a checkered picnic cloth and food on the lawn. Free. www.ci.walnut-creek.ca.us.
Beyond the East Bay
Benicia: “The First Fourth of the Millennium” Celebration, 6:30-11 p.m. Monday, noon-9 p.m. Tuesday. Torchlight parade, street dance, festival. City Park. Free. 707-745-9791.
San Francisco: Fourth of July Fireworks and Music Festival, 2-9:30 p.m. Aquatic Park to Pier 39 along The Embarcadero and Beach Street. 415-777-7120, www.chronicleevents.com/fourthofjuly.
Fillmore Street Jazz Festival, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 800-731-0003, www.fillmorestreetjazzfest.com.
An Ol’ Fashioned Alternative Family Picnic for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Communities, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free. Yerba Buena Gardens, 3rd and Mission streets, S.F. 415-436-9000, www.altfamilyproject.org.
Fireworks Viewing and Dinner Party, 7:30 p.m. $50-$125. The Balclutha, Hyde Street Pier, Hyde and Jefferson streets, SF. 415-561-6662.
Hornblower Yachts, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. dinner-dance cruises, Berkeley marina and San Francisco Pier 33. Tickets $89-$99, Pier 33 parking $6. 800-668-4322, www.hornblower.com.
The Red & White Fleet, 7:30 and 8 p.m. Fourth of July Fireworks cruises, Pier 43 1/2, Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco. Tickets are $34 general, $18 ages 5-11. Reservations at Pier 43 1/2 ticket booth, 877-855-5506, www.redandwhite.com.
San Rafael: Marin County Fair, 11 a.m.-11 p.m., concludes Tuesday. Tickets $10 general, $8 ages 4-12 and 65 and older, free ages 3 and under. North San Pedro Road. 415-499-6400, www.marinfair.org.
Santa Clara: Paramount’s Great America Fireworks Skyconcert, 10 a.m.-midnight. Chubby Checker concert 8 p.m. Admission $19.99-$36.99. All-you-can-eat barbecue $13 adults, $6.50 ages 3-9, free ages 2 and under. 408-988-1776, www.pgathrills.com.
Vallejo: Six Flags Marine World New Millennium Fireworks Spectacular, 9 a.m.-11 p.m., 9 p.m. fireworks. Admission $18.49-$36.99, free ages 3 and under. 2001 Marine World Parkway, 707-644-4000, www.sixflags.com.