Lehigh Valley basks in patriotic glow of Independence Day celebrations

The images that come to mind when we think of Independence Day are wrapped in patriotism and healthy doses of red, white and blue. After all, standard Fourth of July fare includes Uncle Sam, marching bands, American flags, a good cover band and anything else that embodies the spirit of the United States.

Like, say, fireworks. "To me, the Fourth of July is all about the big booms," says Aaron Smith, 71, a former Allentown resident who spends his winters in Florida. "My wife and I make the trip back to Pennsylvania each summer to see our daughter in Philadelphia but we always make sure we?re here for July 4."

Smith isn't the only one. Brenda Evans says she's planning on attending Allentown's July 4 celebration outside J. Birney Crum Stadium this year. "We always find a good fireworks show," Evans says. "It's something we do with our kids every July 4. It's kind of the center of our summer."

Evans says her daughters, ages 10 and 12, may be finally past the practice of holding their ears when the fireworks begin. "For years, they'd duck under their blankets and miss the entire thing," she says. "Last year, the oldest was fine. But our youngest only peeked out a couple times. I kept telling her she was missing quite a show so she assures me that this year, she's going to watch the entire thing."

That's advice Smith can endorse. "Fireworks on the Fourth of July," he says. "That's about as American as you can get."If you're looking to get your patriotism on this July 4, take a look at what's available this year in Allentown and the surrounding areas. Whether you live here or you're just visiting, prepare to celebrate America's 238th birthday in style with these local events:

Fourth on the Field

Date: July 4

Where: Coca-Cola Park, 1050 IronPigs Way, Allentown, Pa.

Admission: $6, children 2 and under admitted free; parking, $3

$6, children 2 and under admitted free; parking, $3

Information: (610) 841-7447; Ironpigsbaseball.com

There will be nothing minor about Lehigh Valley's minor league baseball team's fireworks celebration this year. In fact, the IronPigs say this year's fireworks display will be the largest in Coca-Cola Park's history. The "Fourth on the Field" event begins at 6 p.m. and will feature food, drinks and live music, with the celebration culminating at 9 p.m. with more than enough fireworks to make the Allentown sky awash in a rainbow of hues.

Allentown's Red, White & Blue 4th of July Celebration

When: July 4, 4 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Where: Linden Street, between J. Birney Crum Stadium and Cedar Beach, Allentown, Pa.

Information: (610) 437-7757

Celebrate Independence Day with live music, food, drinks, a skydiving exhibition, face painting and of course, your traditional fireworks show. A street festival will take place outside the stadium, so spectators can fuel up before finding the perfect vantage point inside or outside of the stadium to watch the skies light up to celebrate America's birthday.

Skirmish Paintball ? Independence Day Special

When: July 4, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: 211 N. Meckesville Rd., Albrightsville, Pa.