With its musical headliners and world-class fireworks, Boston may capture all the attention when it comes to July Fourth festivities.
But many area communities also celebrate the holiday with live music and fireworks — some on the actual date, some before or after it — while others offer old-fashioned games, parades, races, and contests.
As a result, the lineup of local events means that America’s independence can be celebrated all week.
Acton starts its annual Independence Day celebration at NARA Park, 25 Ledge Rock Way, at 3 p.m. on July 4 with Family Fun Time, featuring carnival games and food vendors until 6:30. That’s when the band Beatlejuice takes the stage for a free concert lasting until 9:30 p.m., with fireworks beginning at dusk. For more information, go to www.acton-ma.gov/events.
In Arlington, go to Robbins Farm Park on Eastern Avenue on July 4 for live music, refreshments, and the Boston Pops Orchestra broadcast from the Esplanade on a giant screen. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. and continue through the live fireworks at 10:30.
Ayer celebrates on July 6 (rain date July 7), beginning with a parade from downtown to Pirone Park on School Street at 3 p.m. Children’s activities take place at the park for the rest of the afternoon, and DownCity Band performs at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Nashoba Valley Concert Band at 8. Fireworks begin at 9:15.
Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on July 4, town residents can take advantage of free admission at Springs Brook Park, on Springs Road, where they can swim, play in the spray park, try out the waterslide, or join volleyball, tetherball, or basketball games. (Nonresidents may join in the fun, but will have to pay admission.) At 5 p.m., Dan Clark, the Singing Trooper, performs anthems, military tributes, patriotic songs, and Broadway tunes at the Town Center Building, 12 Mudge Way. For more information, go to www.bedfordma.gov.
Bellingham holds a concert beginning at 7 p.m. on July 4, with fireworks at 9:30. Both events are at the Bellingham Middle School baseball field on Blackstone Street.
Concord is commemorating July 4 with Picnic in the Park on Emerson Field, Stow Street. Events begin with the 11:15 a.m. bicycle parade. Live music, first by the Jolly Rogues, followed by Southern Rail, and the Concord Band, continues through the afternoon, as do field games and other family activities. For more information, go to www.concordma.gov .
The town offers five days of fun centered on the downtown common, starting on July 3 with a carnival of food booths and amusements beginning at 6 p.m., plus live music from the Digger Dawg Band. On July 4, the carnival begins at 11 a.m. and runs to 10 p.m. DJ Bob Brown takes the stage at 1 p.m., followed by local youth bands starting at 4 and Tyler Zajac performing 7 to 10. On July 5, enjoy the carnival from 6-10 p.m., with a performance by oldies band the Corvairs starting at 7. On July 6, the carnival runs all day, starting at 11 a.m.; line up for the children’s parade at noon. Flippo the Clown offers an hour of entertainment starting at 2 p.m., and the much-loved Franklin Idol Contest will be from 4 to 7, followed by a performance by the Groove Doctors band. July 7 is the final day of the carnival, starting at 1 p.m. The parade kicks off at 2, followed by a performance by Tyler Zajac at 4 and the announcement of the Franklin Idol winners at 5 p.m. For more information, go to www.july4thfranklinma.com.
Groton will hold fireworks at dusk on July 8 on the Town Field behind the library. Food vendors and picnicking will be available starting at 6:30 p.m.
On July 3, the town’s Fourth of July Committee and Fruitlands Museum will host a concert on the museum grounds at 102 Prospect Hill Road featuring performances by several bands, followed by a fireworks display. Doors open at 5 p.m., the concert begins at 5:30, and fireworks begin at 9:15. Admission is $20 per car, or $10 if anyone in the car is wearing this year’s official Fourth of July T-shirt. The annual parade and field events will take place in Harvard Center on July 4, and include the children’s bike parade and a flag-raising ceremony. Children’s games begin at 10 a.m.; the festivities continue until midafternoon. For more information, go to www.harvard.ma.us.
The Lexington Lions Club’s annual Fourth of July Carnival will be held at Hastings Park, Massachusetts Avenue and Worthen Road, from July 2-6. The annual fireworks celebration will be held July 3 after dusk at the bandstand. Carnival hours are from 6-11 p.m. on July 2, 3, and 5, and 1-11 p.m. on July 4 and 6. For more information, call 781-862-0500 or go to www.lexingtonlions.org.
In Marlborough, two musical performances will mark July 4, both at Union Common on Main Street. At 3 p.m., Deep Blue Djinn will play; at 7, Mixed Emotions takes the stage.
Milford will host fireworks on July 3 at dusk in Plains Park, with a rain date of July 5. For more information, go to www.milford.ma.us.
Minuteman National Historical Park rangers will hold a reading of the Declaration of Independence at 1 p.m. July 4 at the North Bridge, 174 Liberty St. in Concord.
Natick’s Family Night on the Common will be held July 2, from 5-8 p.m. on the downtown green. Activities include a moon bounce, a miniature obstacle course, games, a photo booth, face-painting, sand art, a dunk tank, JoAnimal, Davey the Clown, the band Three of a Kind, a bookmobile, and more. The children’s parade will start at 6:30 and feature decorated bikes, trikes, and baby carriages. On July 4, the holiday begins with the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 39 East Central St., and continues with the 58th annual July Fourth parade, beginning at 9 a.m. at the 9/27 Plaza on Route 9. For more information and a full schedule, go to www.natick4th.org.
Local events, sponsored by the Needham Exchange Club, begin on July 3 at Memorial Park, with food tents, children’s entertainment, and pony rides from 5 to 8 p.m. and a concert by the Reminisants, followed by fireworks at dark. July 4 festivities begin at 8:30 a.m. with a 5K road race. The children’s parade starts at 8:45, followed by the salute and flag-raising ceremony. The parade steps off at 9:05 a.m. A craft fair and flea market will run 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.,with children’s races and contests at noon and the Needham Little League all-star game at 2. For locations and more details, go to www.needhamexchangeclub.org.
The city’s annual July Fourth celebration begins at 10 a.m. at the Newton Centre playground with the popular “Kids Morning” for ages 3-12, including a pet parade, teddy bear parade, decorated doll carriage promenade, and foot races (canceled in case of rain). A full day of festivities follow, with a festival featuring handmade and international crafts, food vendors, children’s activities, and amusement rides from 1-9 p.m. at Russell J. Halloran Field. Troubadour Kevin McNamara takes the stage at 5, followed at 6 with dancing to the music of the Bo Winiker Orchestra. Fireworks begin at 9. For more information, call 617-964-5246 or go to www.newtoncommunitypride.org .
The theme for Pepperell’s annual celebration this year is “Small Town, Big Bang!” Taking place on July 6, scheduled events include a parade, live music, and a dance party on the field behind Varnum Brook Middle School. At dark, fireworks light up the skies. For more information, go to www.pepperell-mass.com.
The town holds its annual family block party on June 28 from 6 to 10 p.m. downtown near the rotary and Church Street. Children’s events include a moon bounce, sand art, a photo booth, hay rides, face painting, and temporary tattoos. Many food vendors will be on site, and the Reminisants will be performing. For details, visit the Recreation Department’s page at www.town.westborough.ma.us.