Downtown celebrates the Fourth with family-friendly patriotic event

Hang Old Glory in the front yard, throw some hot dogs on the grill, but most important of all, remember why we Americans celebrate this Fourth of July, the 238th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

With patriotism and families in mind, the USS Kidd’s event Friday has changed its name from the Star-Spangled Celebration to the Freedom Festival.

The free festival runs 11 a.m.to 4 p.m. outside the Kidd’s Veterans Memorial & Museum. The men and women who serve in the nation’s armed services will be honored.

“We are committed to providing a free, family-friendly patriotic celebration for the community to enjoy, and we are grateful to all of the local organizations that have helped us ensure that this rich holiday tradition continues to develop in downtown Baton Rouge,” USS KIDD executive director Alex Juan said.

Due to financial and safety concerns, this year’s festival has been revamped to a smaller, more community-oriented event, Juan said. There will be no Air Raid Baton Rouge or selling of ship tickets to view the fireworks this year.

“The safety and security of our staff and guests is of utmost importance to us when hosting a festival that involves several thousand people,” USS KIDD ship superintendent Tim Nesmith said. “Just as we did in 2002, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, we are temporarily suspending our reenactment and additionally the viewing of the fireworks from the ship while we review and adapt our safety protocols.”

Visitors can take in patriotic music throughout the day, a flag ceremony conducted by the Nation of Patriots in the Louisiana Memorial Plaza at noon, a musical performance by Rosie and the Swingin’ Riveters at 1:30 p.m. in the Coast Guard Plaza, an inflatable obstacle course, a toddler bounce house, face painters, a balloonist, patriotic arts and crafts, the making of “thank you” cards for Louisiana veterans and a plate lunch sale benefiting the USS KIDD. City Gelato and Snow Day Baton Rouge will also be selling cold treats.

The Veterans Memorial & Museum will be open for tours 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Regular admission applies.

Rosie and the Swingin’ Riveters perform again at 7:30 p.m. on the Riverfront Stage.

Also downtown, the First Baptist Church, 539 Convention St., will host its Festival of Freedom at 6 p.m. Friday. The musical event will feature a combined choir and orchestras from the First Baptist, Parkview Baptist, Stevendale Baptist and Woodlawn Baptist churches. The evening, in association with Red, Rock & Blue, will benefit Blue Star Mothers of Louisiana and other Louisiana military organizations.

Over at the State Capitol, the Baton Rouge Concert Band will again present its free July 4th concert of patriotic tunes at 7:30 p.m. Friday on the Capitol steps.

WBRZ’s “Fireworks on the Mississippi” massive pyrotechnics display starts at 9 p.m. and can be viewed all along the downtown levee.

LSU Museum of Art

Red, White & the Blues, the LSU Museum of Art’s 10th annual Fourth of July celebration, returns to the Shaw Center for the Arts from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday.

A Southern BBQ buffet and festive drinks will be served from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the sixth floor at Tsunami and on the Pennington Rooftop Terrace. Live music will be by local jazz, soul, blues and funk recording artist Quiana Lynell. The party also offers a prime viewing spot for Fireworks on the Mississippi at 9 p.m.

Visitors can also tour the LSU Museum of Art’s exhibition, “The Visual Blues,” from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the fifth floor.

Tickets are $150 for the general public, $125 for museum members and $50 for children and young adults ages 5-20. Buy tickets online or at the door. A portion of the ticket purchase is tax deductible.

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lsumoa.org

Port Allen

West Baton Rouge will celebrate the holiday from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday with music and more at the Mississippi riverfront in Port Allen, which is a great spot for watching the Fireworks on the Mississippi. The celebration takes place at the Old Ferry Landing Park at Court Street and the Mississippi River levee.

The live music lineup includes Wayne Toups from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Foret Tradition from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.

Face painting, magicians, clowns and a spacewalk will be available, and vendors will be selling food and beverages.

The event is sponsored by the West Baton Rouge Parks and Recreation Department, the City of Port Allen and the West Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau.

ON THE INTERNET:

westbatonrouge.net

Plaquemine

The July 4th Hometown Celebration will take place from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park, 57845 Foundry St.

A patriotic boat parade begins at 4:30 p.m. Food, crafts, rides, music and game booths will be available at the park. Unfinished Business takes the music stage at 6 p.m., and a jitterbug contest starts at 7 p.m. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m.

The Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site and the Iberville Museum will be open with free admission.

Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, but no ice chests, personal tents, pets or fireworks. Boats can also dock at the Waterfront Park.

ON THE INTERNET:

plaquemine.org

Batchelor

A Fourth of July fireworks show is planned for 9 p.m. Friday at Old River Landing in Batchelor.

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pctourism.org

False River

The annual False River Boat Parade leaves the dock at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Morrison Parkway Boat Launch, and the route will take it through New Roads. Look for decorated boats and the traditional all-in-fun water-balloon fight.

This year’s parade coincides with the annual River Rhythms Fest, so festivalgoers can see the fireworks as well. This is one of many changes the parade is undergoing since the city of New Roads took it over.

ON THE INTERNET:

theadvocate.com/home/9492525-125/false-river-boat-parade-back

Clinton

It’s in with the old and the new as the town continues its annual Red, White and Blueberry Festival, while the Lions Club inaugurates its Red, White and Blue Festival.

The Blueberry Festival runs Friday and Saturday in the downtown area. The new festival runs the same days on the grounds of the Clinton American Legion Hall. Visitors can look for a craft village and market, live music, softball tournaments, art booths, gospel groups, patriotic music, fireworks and other activties.

ON THE INTERNET:

clintonla.com

Hammond

The city is throwing an old-fashioned party for Independence Day. Celebrate America starts at 10:30 a.m. Friday downtown.

Look for apple pie, popcorn, cake, anything American, organizers say.

Present and past members of the military will be celebrated, and there will be a special remembrance of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the country. The event, which runs through 3 p.m., benefits the Wounded Warrior Project.

ON THE INTERNET:

tangi-cvb.org

Erath

The town’s 4th of July celebration acutally started Monday and runs through Friday.

Friday events include the annual Fun Run/5K Run and 1-Mile Walk at 7:30 a.m., water fights between the area fire departments at 10 a.m. downtown, carnival rides from 1 p.m. to midnight, parade at 5 p.m., fais do-do with Louisiana Red from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie from 9:30 p.m. to midnight. The fireworks show starts at 9 p.m.

No ice chests, beverage tubs or pets will be allowed.

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erath4.com

Morgan City

Rock the 5th, the city’s Independence Day party, is from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Lawrence Park and the Riverfront.

Food, drinks, bands and fireworks over the Atchafalaya River are planned.

ON THE INTERNET:

cityofmc.com

New Orleans

The big fireworks show starts at 9 p.m. Friday over the Mississippi River.

A good spot to catch the sky display is Woldenberg Park. Visitors are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs and a radio. The dueling barges fireworks display along the riverfront will be simulcast on Magic 101.9 and WWL AM, FM and .com and heard in 38 states.

For a schedule of other activities throughout the day, visit the website.

ON THE INTERNET:

Go4thOnTheRiver.com