The Fourth of July is on a Tuesday this year, which means for some of us it's still possible to stretch the holiday into a four-day weekend, but the fireworks and celebrations of our nation's birthday are all over the place for the next few weeks.
Thanks to private funding from Mohegan Sun and Travelers, Hartford's Riverfest celebration will return after budget considerations forced its cancellation last year, but the fireworks over the Connecticut River don't go off until the following weekend, on July 8 at 9 p.m. Live music and entertainment begins at 7 p.m. on both sides of the river.
The Riverfront Food Truck Festival is also that weekend (July 6 to 8) at Mortensen Riverfront Plaza, 300 Columbus Blvd., featuring live entertainment, family activities and, of course, food trucks. Food vendors include Bear's Smokehouse BBQ, Ben & Jerry's, Bricins Festival Foods, Chompers, Ice Cream Time, Jay R Thai & Chinese, Joe's Yellow Sub Machine, Maui Wowie, Mike's Concessions, New Haven Pizza Truck, Poutine Gourmet, The Rolling Dish, Request A Chef, Quick Bites. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
If you're looking for fireworks before the Fourth in Hartford, on July 2, fireworks will follow the Yard Goat's game against the Portland Sea Dogs at Dunkin' Donuts Park. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m. On July 1, the 10-piece swing orchestra Simply Swing will perform nostalgic World War II dance favorites at Mortensen from 6:30 to 8:15 p.m. and conclude with God Bless America. Simply Wing will also perform the following week on July 8. (In the event of rain, the performances will be postponed to the following days. riverfront.org/events
But the capital city's celebrations are just one of many in the state.
Manchester rescheduled its 34th James "Dutch" Fogarty Fourth of July celebration fireworks from July 1 to July 2 at the town's band shell at dusk. Middletown has also postponed its Fourth of July celebration to Sunday, July 2 on the lawn of City Hall from 6 to 10 p.m., to the accompaniment of bands Los Sugar Kings, Sweet Daddy Cool Breeze and Jaimoe of Allman Brothers fame. Pyrotechnics will be launched from a barge in the Connecticut River at dusk, and food will be served at Harbor Park. Rain date for both is July 2.
Several celebrations are scheduled for the actual Fourth of July: New Britain kicks off its Great American Boom celebration at Stanley Quarter Park with a performance from Latanya Farrell & The Bookman Styles Band at 6 p.m., with fireworks to follow at 9:15 p.m.
New Haven celebrates beginning at 4 p.m. at East Rock Park. Fireworks take wing at 9 p.m., and shuttles will take spectators to the park's summit from 5:45 to 8:45 p.m.
Willimantic's 32nd Boom Box Parade kicks off at 11 a.m., and travels two-thirds of a mile from Jillson Square to Memorial Park. Marchers are required only to wear red, white and blue, and those who bring a portable stereo are entered in a raffle for Six Flags tickets (wili-am.com).
Also marking the holiday are these events, listed in chronological order.
Simsbury: The Hartford Symphony Orchestra serenades America's independence at Simsbury Meadows Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. The Asylum Hill Congregational Church Choir will accompany the performance, and fireworks will follow. Lawn seating is available for $25; table seating for $40. Rain date: July 1. hartfordsymphony.org/concerts.
Hamden: The town's volunteer firefighters will launch fireworks for the 24th year running at Town Center Park. The pyrotechnics will be accompanied by the U.S. Army Field Band and Chorus, and DJ Bryan Poole spins before and after the display. Rain date: July 1. hamdenfireworks.org
Stafford Springs: Grandstands and ticket booths open at 5:15 p.m. at the Stafford Springs Motor Speedway, which will host an Independence Day drag race and fireworks show. Qualifying heats kick off at 6:15 p.m., and fireworks will follow the racing. Tickets: Adult general admission, $17.50; children 6 to 14, $5. Children under 5 are free. staffordmotorspeedway.com
Killingly: The town's patriotic festivities kick off at 5:30 p.m. with a chicken barbecue (prepurchased tickets required), followed by a road race at 6 p.m. Fireworks will lift off at 9:15 p.m. In the event of rain, the show will be pushed back to July 7. killingly.org/parks-recreation
Stratford: Fireworks go airborne at 9 p.m at Short Beach Park, where the Housatonic River meets the Atlantic. Rain date: July 5. townofstratford.com
New Britain: The New Britain Bees will launch fireworks above New Britain Stadium after the Bees' game against the Bridgeport Bluefish. The game is slated to begin at 6:35 p.m. nbbees.com/promotions
Bristol: Fireworks will explode at 9 p.m over Lake Compounce. Rain date July 7. lakecompounce.com/site/events. Also, Imagine Nation honors Betsy Ross with a variety of flag-themed art projects. Then enjoy an old-fashioned soda fountain between noon and 3 p.m. with $1 single scoop ice cream treats. $10. 860-314-1400 and imaginenation.org.
Wallingford: Wallingford will send its fireworks skyward at 9 p.m. at Moran Middle School. Town Council Chairman Vincent Cervoni raised $30,000 from local businesses to fund the show, which has relied on donations after pyrotechnics were cut from the town's budget in 2010. town.wallingford.ct.us
Sturbridge: Old Sturbridge Village celebrates America's independence July 1-4 in full 19th-century style, with the firing of a reproduction cannon, an old-fashioned baseball game and a citizens' parade. The village is open 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Summer barbecue and drinks will be available for purchase; adult admission $28, children 4 to 17, $14. osv.org
Putnam: The Billy Pilgrim Band opens Putnam's Independence Day bash at 7 p.m. in Rotary Park, with fireworks to follow at 9:15 p.m. Rain date: July 2. putnamct.us/parks-recreation
New Milford: New Milford's Fourth festivities begin on the town green at 5 p.m., with fireworks slated for launch at 9:30 p.m. Rain date: July 28. newmilfordrec.com
Greenwich: Fireworks take wing from two sites in Greenwich, at Binney Park and Greenwich Point. The pyrotechnic displays are scheduled for dusk at both sites. Rain date for both shows: July 2. greenwichct.org
Lakeville: Lakeville celebrates America's independence at Lime Rock Park, a natural terrain motorsports venue. Lime Rock will partner with the Salisbury Rotary Club to put on a fireworks display at 9 p.m.; ticket sales will help the Rotary Club sponsor local scholarships and service projects. Gates open at 6 p.m., and the park's gamut of concession stands will be open. limerock.com
Fairfield: Fireworks will take flight from a barge off Long Island Sound at 9:15 p.m., with suggested viewing sights at Penfield and Jennings beaches. Penfield Beach hosts musical acts Sand Jam DJ and Marvin Parsons starting at 6 p.m., and Jennings Beach will feature the Silver Steel Band and Caribbean at 6:45 p.m. Parking at both beaches is available for season pass holders or a $50 daily parking pass; daily parking passes are limited to the first 350 cars at Jennings Beach and the first 50 at Penfield.
Orange: Orange celebrates Independence Day at the town's fairgrounds from 6:30 to 10 p.m. The pyrotechnics, slated to go off at 9:30 p.m., will be prefaced by a two-hour performance from tribute band Strange Magic – the Electric Light Orchestra Experience. Admission is free, but a parking donation of $5 is suggested to benefit the Orange Little League. Rain date: July 3. orange-ct.gov
Waterbury: The city's Fourth festivities run a full eight hours, from 2 to 10 p.m., at the Brass Mill Center's Macy's/JC Penny parking lots. Fireworks go off at 9 p.m., and 25 food trucks from across New England will hawk food and drink. Free. Rain date: July 9. waterburyct.org
Bridgeport: After Monday's game against the York Revolution, the Bluefish will launch fireworks above the Ballpark at Harbor Yard. First pitch is slated for 7:12 p.m. bridgeportbluefish.com
Derby: The town will host a Fourth of July concert and fireworks show Monday night. Rain date: July 5. derbyct.gov
Madison: Madison will launch fireworks off West Wharf Beach beginning at 9:30 p.m. Because parking is limited the city will offer a free shuttle service from three parking lots throughout Madison to the intersection of West Wharf Road and Surf Club Road, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Rain date: July 7. madisonfireworks.org
Naugatuck: Naugatuck's downtown plays host to its Fourth festivities, which begin at 6 p.m. and culminate with fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Expect food, entertainment and family activities. Rain date: July 5. naugatuck-ct.gov
West Haven: West Haven celebrates the Fourth on the coast at Bradley Point Park, with fireworks slated for launch at 9 p.m. Rain date: July 5. cityofwesthaven.com
Sharon: Sharon celebrates Independence Day beginning at 4 p.m. on the shores of Lake Massapoag with food trucks, a bicycle and doll carriage parade, a pie-eating contest and live music throughout the afternoon from the Whole Earth Orchestra. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. sharonjuly4.org
Westport: The Westport Police Athletic League will put on Westport's fireworks show at Compo Beach. The display raises funds for local scholarships, and tickets for the 61st iteration of the town's pyrotechnic party are available for $35 per car. Rain date: July 5. westportpal.org
Mystic: Maritime museum Mystic Seaport offers an Independence Day celebration from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., beginning with boat races on Mystic River and an old-fashioned spelling bee in the morning and followed by a 19th-century style picnic at noon. The Mystic Silver Cornet Band will perform on the village green in the afternoon, where visitors can also play 19th-century lawn games. mysticseaport.org
Middlebury: Middlebury's Quassy Amusement Park offers a fireworks show at 10:15 p.m. over Lake Quassapaug, complete with 3-D glasses. The glasses will be sold to benefit the Healthy Eyes Alliance. quassy.com
Haddam: Connecticut River Expeditions offers a patriotic evening cruise along the lower Connecticut River, departing from Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam at 7:30 p.m. No fireworks are scheduled specifically for the cruise, although the company's website promises to search for displays along the river. Tickets are $40. ctriverquest.com
New Canaan: New Canaan's Independence Day celebration is in Waveny Park, which will play host to a food court, children's games and live music. The night is capped with a fireworks show at nightfall. Passes are required, $35 for residents. Rain date: July 5. newcanaan.info
New Fairfield: The New Fairfield Lion's Club kicks off its annual parade at 9:30 a.m. on Overbrook Drive. The parade snakes through town and culminates at Memorial Field, with refreshments and hot dogs to follow. firstname.lastname@example.org
Norwalk: Fireworks will explode off Bayley Beach beginning at 9:15 p.m. Parking passes for non-residents are $40, and non-residents will be charged a fee for walking on the beach, according to the Rowayton Civic Association's website. Street parking is not allowed in the vicinity of Bayley Beach.
Norwich: The Connecticut Tigers will launch fireworks following their game at Dodd Stadium against the Vermont Lake Monsters. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. cttigers.com
Madison: The Exchange Club's 38th annual parade — which falls on the 100th anniversary of the club's founding — departs from the Super Stop & Shop parking lot at 11 a.m. and concludes at the Surf Club. madisonexchange.org/parade
Wilton: The Fourth starts early in Wilton, with an 8:30 a.m. road race beginning at Wilton High School. A Democrats vs. Republicans softball game will follow the race at noon, before performances at Wilton High School from bands One Bad Oyster, Shelter Dogs and Retro Express. Fireworks go off at 9:30 p.m. Rain date: July 5. wiltonct.org
Groton: Groton's 38th annual Fourth of July parade steps off from South Road at 10 a.m. and travels along Route 1 to Groton Shopping Center. Retiring Town Manager Mark Oefinger will marshal the parade, which is themed "America the Beautiful." groton-ct.gov
Vernon: July in the Sky — Vernon's annual celebration of all things patriotic — includes a parade that will snake through downtown Rockville, with nearby Henry Park playing host to a Kids Fun Zone. vernon-ct.gov
Windsor Locks: The fire department will set off fireworks beginning at 9:30 p.m. at Veteran's Memorial Park. The display is part of the volunteer fire department's annual carnival fundraiser. wlfd.com
Farmington: The Tunxis Hose Company No. 1's annual fireworks display will take place at 9:30 p.m. The display is part of the firefighters' annual three-day carnival, which will be held July 6 to 8 behind Union School, 173 School St. in Unionville.
New London: A fireworks show will cap New London's 40th annual Sailfest at 9 p.m., choreographed to music from K-Hits 100.9 FM. Mystic Whaler Cruises will also offer one-hour harbor cruises beginning at 11 a.m., $25 for adults and $15 for children five to 12. Local crafts, clothing and art and a variety of food and drink will be available for purchase. sailfest.org
Guilford: The town hosts a community picnic from 4 to 7 p.m. on the town green, followed by a fireworks display from 7 to 10 p.m. guilfordparkrec.com
Enfield: Fourth festivities feature a performance from the Hartford Symphony Orchestra on the Artioli Dodge Stage, followed by a fireworks display at 9:45 p.m. on the town green. A free shuttle service will run from the Enfield Square Mall and the town green. Admittance is free to all. enfieldcelebration.org
Newington: A fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. caps a full-day celebration from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Newington's Mill Pond Park. Partygoers can expect live music, carnival rides and family activities, and food, beer and local arts and crafts will be available for purchase. Free. newingtonct.gov
East Lyme: The 17th iteration of the East Lyme Festival takes place from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a fireworks display, carnival, eating contest and sand castle competition along Niantic's Main Street. eltownhall.com