As you make your plans to celebrate America’s birthday this year, why not think beyond the usual parades and fireworks displays (fun as those are)? Or find something fun to do beforehand? In and around Boston, you’ll find lots for the whole family to do on the Fourth of July — and throughout the holiday weekend. Here are a few to consider:
Independence Day Celebration
Old Sturbridge Village, 1 Old Sturbridge Village Road, Sturbridge. Thursday, July 4, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Join in the fun as the martial band leads the citizens’ procession marching through the streets. Cheer and huzzah during a rousing patriotic reading of the Declaration of Independence and sign a giant reproduction of the document. Make your own tri-cornered hat to wear as you learn to drill with the Sturbridge Militia. Learn dances done by 19th-century Americans and play a game of “base ball.” Watch music and other special performances on the Common. Adults, $24; 65+, $22; ages 3-17, $8; under 2, free. For an additional fee of $15, stay for evening festivities and fireworks, beginning 6 p.m. www.osv.org
A Reading of the Declaration of Independence
Old State House, Boston. Thursday, July 4, 10-10:30 a.m. Free.
Boston residents and visitors get to hear the famous document read from the balcony as it was on July 18, 1776. 206 Washington St., Boston, www.revolutionaryboston.org
Newton Centre Playground, 69 Tyler Terrace, Newton. Thursday, July 4, 10 a.m.-noon. Free.
Kids can take part in the Grande Pet parade, Decorated Doll Carriage Promenade, the Teddy Bear Parade, and the Foot Races, followed by free ice cream, candy, and drinks. www.newtoncommunitypride.org
Picnic in the Park
Emerson Field, Stow Street and Everett Street, Concord. Thursday, July 4, 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Free.
Old-time picnic featuring music, bicycle/tricycle parade, puppet shows, hot-air balloon, field games, balloon twisting, henna tattoos, and more. Visit website for schedule of events, as times vary. www.concordma.gov
Happy Birthday USA Family Day
Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History, Regis College, 235 Wellesley St., Weston. Thursday, July 4, noon-4 p.m.
Stamp scavenger hunts, games and puzzles for prizes, designing patriotic stamps, making envelopes from recycled paper to use to send letters to friends (the museum pays the postage), and arts and crafts using stamps. Children can also help create a flag mosaic using postage stamps, make a collection (free) of American flags on stamps to take home, and have their photograph made into a postage stamp. In honor of a special stamp on exhibit, “The Invented Jenny,” anyone named Jenny receives free admission. Adults, $8; seniors and students, $5; ages 5-16, $3. www.spellman.org
Fourth of July Celebration
Dean Park, Main Street, Shrewsbury. Thursday, July 4, noon-4 p.m. Free.
Includes food, live music, and DJs, inflatable amusements, clowns, and face painting. A decorated bike and doll carriage parade begins at 12:30 p.m. Amusements, including a moon walk, for fee ($2 per event or $8 for unlimited-use wristband). www.shrewsbury-ma.gov
A Reading of the Declaration of Independence
Rose Meadow, Lenox. Thursday, July 4, 3-4 p.m. Free.
A public reading of our nation’s founding document that features some of the most stirring words of political rhetoric ever written, read out loud by Shakespeare & Company actors, dignitaries, and other special guests. www.shakespeare.org
92d Annual Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow
Barnstable County Fairgrounds, 1220 Nathan Ellis Highway, East Falmouth. Friday, July 5-Sunday, July 7, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
A traditional celebration of Mashpee Wampanoag culture, featuring Native American dancing, drumming, games, food art, jewelry, wampum, gifts, crafts, and clothing. Adults, $13; 12 and under, $8. mwtribe.exstream.tv/powwow
6th Annual Independence Weekend Vintage Base Ball Classic
Talbot Field, Derby Academy, 56 Burditt Ave., Hingham. Saturday, July 6, 2 p.m.
Donations appreciated. Step back into the 1860s and see the boys of summer play nine frames of Base, that new game of ball that is taking America by storm. In 1860s fashion, the players compete by the old and honorable rules that allow the hidden ball trick, the spitter, the foul ball, double play, and a demonstrable ignorance of balk rules. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. www.hinghamvintagebaseball.org
New Bedford Folk Festival
various locations in New Bedford. Saturday, July 6, and Sunday, July 7, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
New Bedford’s annual old-fashioned, family-oriented international folk music/arts festival held throughout New Bedford’s beautiful national park. Features an array of musical performers, artisans’ marketplace, juried crafts, international bazaar showcasing a diverse selection of imported goods, variety of food vendors, whaleboat races, and harbor tours. Saturday pass, $20; Sunday pass, $20; weekend pass, $25; under 12, free. www.newbedfordsummerfest.com