Sis, boom, bah! The 4th of July lands on a Friday this year. But to keep the party going all through the weekend, Napa and Sonoma celebrations start on Thursday, July 3, and run through Sunday. So pack that picnic tote, prepare for the rockets’ red glare, and make plans for some all-American fun.
Independence Day Celebration Guerneville (July 3, 2014)
The fun starts at 10 a.m. in the morning, with the Downtown Craft Fair on the Plaza, running until 6 p.m. and featuring all kinds of handmade pieces of art and novelty. At noon, the Russian River Rotary club presents a barbecue at Lark's parking lot, followed by kids' activities and a block party into the evening. As night descends, the Russian River Chamber of Commerce gets in gear, hosing a free, 9:30 p.m. fireworks extravaganza over the river and Main Street.
Details: Downtown Guerneville, 707-869-9000, russianriver.com.
Napa County Fair & Fireworks, Calistoga (July 4, 2014)
Downtown Calistoga is already a charming slice of Americana, and this parade through downtown makes it even more adorable. Thousands of smiling faces line the streets from 11 a.m. to noon, as friends and families share in this patriotic, community tradition, participating in and viewing elaborate floats, decorated cars, live bands, and prancing ponies. The county fairgrounds is open from noon to 11 p.m., too, for games, picnics, and fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Parade is free; fairgrounds admission is $5-$10.
Details: 1435 N Oak St., Calistoga, 707-942-5111, napacountyfair.org.
The City of Napa 4th of July Festival and Fireworks (July 4, 2014)
We love a parade. And this colorful group marching through Veteran’s Park does it right, starting at 10 a.m. The frolic continues at noon, when the park’s Children’s Play Area opens, and food vendors set up their mouthwatering wares. Admission is free, for live music by Pop Rocks starting at 1 p.m., games like jumpy houses, an inflatable maze and water ballerz; then another Pop Rocks show at 7 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.
Details: Veteran's Park, Main and Third Streets, Napa, visitnapavalley.com.
Napa Valley Wine Train, Napa (July 4, 2014)
You could stand in one place and see some fireworks. But riding a train across Napa Valley, you can see even more. Celebrate the founding of our great Nation with a first-class seat in the glass-topped dome car, sip wine, and indulge in an elegant gourmet meal. Then, sit back, and watch the lights in the sky. Gourmet Express seating is $129 per person; Vista Dome seating is $169 per person.
Details: 800-427-4124. winetrain.com.
Red, White and Boom Santa Rosa (July 4, 2014)
The party starts at 3:30 p.m., when the gates open at the Veteran's Memorial Building across from the Sonoma Fairgrounds, and the crowds start claiming their spots with blankets and folding chairs. It’s an entire day of fun for the whole family, featuring multiple local bands, local food vendors, and for the kids, a watermelon eating contest, jumpy houses, face painters and clowns. Then, after the sun goes down around 9:30 p.m., the evening explodes with fireworks show simulcast live to music by KZST 100.1 FM. Please note that jackets are recommended for chilly night temperatures, and drink coolers are welcome, but alcohol is not. Admission is $8 ages 12+; $6 veterans; $4 ages 5-11; free ages 0-4. Parking is $5.
Details: 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa, srboom.com.
Sonoma Community Center’s Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration (July 4, 2014)
Every year for the past 51 years, the Sonoma Community Center has put together a smashing, dashing 4th of July parade, including Sonoma based nonprofit organizations hosting food, beverage, game and information booths from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sonoma Plaza. And the whole town turns out, for the traditional celebration enjoyed by all ages. Festive minded folks not only can watch the parade, they can be in the parade (just register by July 1 here. For 2014, the theme is “Saluting The Arts in Sonoma Valley.” That means colorful costumes, floats, musical groups, dressed up well-behaved pets, unicycles, prancing, dancing glitter and sparkle.
Annual 4th of July Fireworks Party at Depot Hotel Restaurant and Garden
The Sonoma fireworks explode in the air above the garden of the iconic Depot Hotel, and so the chef has prepared a sumptuous buffet dinner, including a new oyster bar. You can check out the full menu here (http://www.depotsonoma.com/Depot-Menu), at “Holidays & Special Events,” but let’s just tempt with porchetta, fried chicken with Tuscan herbs, baked orecchiette pasta with ricotta and Bolognese ragu…
Details: Depot Hotel Restaurant and Garden, 241 1st St. West, Sonoma, depotsonoma.com.
4th of July Celebration in Kenwood (July 4, 2014)
The parade marches through the cozy community of Kenwood in fine style, showcasing classic vehicles, music, bicycles, Uncle Sam, and gaily dressed pets. All entries will be judged for awards in creative costuming, including categories like Floats, Pets, Cows, Classic Vehicles, Goats, Birds, Walkers, Bands, Bicycles, Horses, Tractors, Boats, Horse-Drawn Carriages, Donkeys, Service Clubs, Go-Carts, Sports Teams, Veterans, Clowns, and other ideas you dream up. New this year, after the parade, there will be a free concert of jazz in the park. But first, start the day with a 7 a.m. pancake breakfast provided by Kenwood Community Church, and/or a 7:30 a.m. Kenwood 3k-10k Footrace. The Parade starts at 10:30 a.m. after the race, and the Tommy Thomsen Band takes the stage at 11:30 a.m., with a family style barbecue offered alongside.
Details: Kenwood Plaza Park, 200 Warm Springs Rd., Kenwood, kenwoodparade.com.
4th of July Fireworks Spectacular with Judy Collins at Weil Hall Green Music Center (July 4, 2014)
The legendary Judy Collins blazes on the stage beginning at 7:30 p.m., followed by a post concert fireworks show on the lawn. Her line-up of songs is perfectly patriotic, including “America the Beautiful,” “This Land is Your Land,” and “God Bless America.” Tickets start at $25 for outdoor seating, and from $35 indoors.
Details: 1801 East Cotati Ave. (at Sonoma State University), Rohnert Park, 866-955-6040, gmc.sonoma.edu.
Independence Weekend Celebration at Dutton-Goldfield Winery (July 4-6, 2014)
There are no blue wines, but plenty of reds and whites, perfect for summer sipping and barbecues. Besides traditional tastings from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the event days include Picnic and Pinot tastings by appointment on the courtyard patio, offering lunch for $40 per person (advance reservations required at 707-823-3887).
Details: 3100 Gravenstein Hwy. North, Sebastopol, duttongoldfield.com.
Monte Rio Fireworks over the River (July 5, 2014)
It’s fireworks over the river, and a “Parade of Lites” on the river, for this family friendly gathering starting at 6 p.m., when groups unveil their homemade floats bedecked in lights and perform skits while floating past a cheering audience. That’s followed by a free show at the town’s famous water curtain, as images of the American flag are projected off the Monte Rio bridge, and then the dramatic fireworks display.
Details: Monte Rio Beach, 20488 Hwy 116, Monte Rio, (707) 865-9956.
Fireworks Over Bodega Bay (July 5, 2014)
The show starts at dark (approx. 9:30 p.m.), with a spectacular, free firework display over the water. For prime viewing, plan ahead and reserve a dinner table at one of the many bay-front restaurants around Bodega Bay.
Westside Regional Park, 2400 Westshore Rd., Bodega Bay, visitbodegabayca.com.
All American Zin Day (July 5, 2014)
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dry Creek Valley rocks in a showcase of Zinfandels and Primitivos (Italian Zinfandels) from Kokomo Mazzocco-Sonoma, Rued, Wilson and Family Wineries of Healdsburg. Grab a commemorative glass, ready your taste buds, and sample an array of zins at each stop, plus whites, rosés, blends and dessert wines. And plan to eat. There will be pulled pork at Kokomo Winery, tri-tip steak at Family Wineries Dry Creek, skirt steak at Mazzocco-Sonoma, barbecued chicken wings at Rued, and sausages at Wilson Winery. Pre-sale tickets are $35 online; $40 day-off; $15 designated drivers.
Tip: Enjoy that celebratory beer and wine at your 4th of July picnic, and leave the driving to Pure Luxury. Gather friends and family and share a Town car, limo, or even small shuttle bus.