When it comes to celebrating Independence Day, Racine County does it up right! There are no less than four parades on Friday, July 4 plus fireworks shows, dances, food and lots of family fun. The holiday weekend continues with concerts and a lighthouse climb. Come along with Real Racine to plan a fun-filled time.

Start with fireworks.  Kick off the holiday Thursday evening in the Village of Sturtevant. The annual Fireworks Celebration starts at 5 p.m. at Fireman’s Park, just off Charles Street. Free admission to the grounds for kids activities food, beverages and music by Fall Hazard. Parking is $5. The fireworks show starts at 9:30 p.m.

An early start Downtown.  First Friday is moved up a day to make room for the holiday. Head to Downtown Racine from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday for shopping and specials at shops, galleries, restaurants and bars, horse-drawn carriage rides, music and art demonstrations. Don’t miss music from Back on Maryland at Monument Square, Woody at Paul Harris Plaza and Groove Factor at Crosswalk Park. Visit firstfridaysracine.com

Big fun at Fourth Fest.  “Lights, Camera, Action! A little Hollywood is on its way to Racine’s annual Fourth Fest Parade on Friday. The Batmobile, the Scooby-Do Mystery Machine, KITT from the “Knight Rider” TV show and the Blue Brothers car will all be in this year’s march. With more than 100 entries, you’ll see floats, bands, horses, antique cars, clowns and entertainers. Get your seat early along Main Street. The pre-parade starts at 8:30 a.m. and the big spectacle steps off at 9 a.m. The day doesn’t end with the parade. New this year is a “parade of planes” flyover by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) chapter at 7 p.m. over the lakefront. Also new is a launch of sky lanterns, honoring veterans and military personnel, from North Beach at 8:55 pm. The fireworks show starts at 9:20 p.m. along the lakefront.

Taking the plunge in Union Grove.  Union Grove’s July 4 Parade gets off to a jump start with skydivers from Skydive Midwest  (parachuting with colored smoke and trailing colors) at 9:15 a.m. The parade route runs from the Racine County Fairgrounds along Highways 11 and 45 (Main Street) finishing up at Union Grove High School. This year’s theme “Made in America” includes the Junior Lighthouse Brigade and the Belle City Brassworks plus more bands, floats and displays. The annual kiddie parade assembles at the Accelerated Rehabilitation Center parking lot at 8:45 a.m. and precedes the main parade to Village Square Park.

Just ducky in Waterford.  The Independence Day Parade starts at 11 a.m. Friday at Fifth and Main streets in Waterford. The Waterford Lions will be selling tickets to their famous Duck Raffle along the parade route. Raffle proceeds help pay for the parade. The raffle will wrap up at 1:15 p.m. from Ten Club Park.

Small town fun.  The Town of Raymond invites everyone to a two-day “Small Town Celebration.” It starts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday with food, beverages and live music at the festival grounds (76th Street between Highways G and K). On Friday, the children’s parade starts at 12:45 p.m. from the festival grounds. It is followed by the main parade at 1 p.m. A festival follows with general and silent auctions, pie auction, children’s games and live music. The day is capped off by fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Kick up your heels.  Burlington’s Echo Park is the place to be for the Fourth of July Celebration and Fireman’s Dance. The fun starts at 2 p.m. and includes a baggo tournament, live music by the Lunch Money Bullies ($2, including a cash raffle entry), beer, soda and food. The Burlington Kiwanis Civic Band concert in the park is at 7 p.m. The fireworks show starts at dusk. Advance tickets at the Town of Burlington fire station.

A view from the top.  Another opportunity to climb to the top of the 112-foot historic Wind Point Lighthouse, 4725 Lighthouse Drive, is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Wear sturdy shoes and be ready to climb up 144 steps for spectacular views of Lake Michigan. Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for children ages 6 through 12. Children 5 and younger are not allowed to climb. Reservations are a must. Call 262-880-8266. Visitwww.windpointlightouse.com

For more fun in Real Racine, just visit our website (www.realracine.com) You’ll also find daily updates on Facebook (www.facebook.com/realracine) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/realracine).

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