Baton Rouge’s annual fireworks on the levee one of several area Independence Day celebrations
The party for celebrating Independence Day starts in a few hours in the Baton Rouge area. Donaldsonville festivities get under way at 5:30 p.m. while the annual Kenilworth Independence Day Parade starts at 6:30 p.m. in Baton Rouge. Maps and celebration information are included in this story. Happy Birthday USA!!
July 3 events
The Kenilworth Independence Day Parade will roll for the 40th time starting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 3.
The neighborhood parade, in addition to marking its anniversary, will help the Girl Scouts mark their milestone 100th anniversary. A group of area Girl Scouts will lead the parade.
Kenilworth's 2012 residents of the year, Ed and Kathy Bosworth, also will be honored. The Bosworths are longtime residents of Kenilworth and have been involved in the Kenilworth Civic Association, which sponsors the parade.
The parade lineup will include local civic groups, military groups, bands, clowns, and political and governmental organizations.
The parade will begin and end at Kenilworth Science & Technology School, 7600 Boone Drive, just east of Kenilworth Parkway.
For more information, go to http://kenilworthneighborhood.com/july4kca.htm.
Music and fireworks will culminate the July Fourth observance beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 3, in Donaldsonville's Crescent Park, just across from the Donaldsonville Riverwalk along the Mississippi River. There will also be more than 15 food vendors and a children's village sponsored by Restoration Church. Two bands will play: Avenue Cruisers will start at 5:30 p.m. and Transit plays before the 9 p.m. fireworks and after party.
For more information, call (225) 323-2555.
Sponsors: CF Industries, City of Donaldsonville and Long and Long Attorneys at Law.
July 4 events
After a long, hot day of barbecue and beer, you want to sit down, put your feet up and ... BOOM!
If you're in Baton Rouge, you expect the day to culminate in a world class fireworks display over, and reflected in, the Mississippi River with the lights of the Horace Wilkinson Bridge serving as a backdrop. Thanks to The Advocate and WBRZ-Channel 2, the big show will go on as anticipated at 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 4. Even before that, there will be plenty of things happening in and around the levee and River Road downtown during the "Star-Spangled Celebration."
"We open the vendors at noon," said Maury Drummond, director of the USS Kidd Veterans Memorial and Museum. "We have typical, festival-type vendors: cotton candy and hamburger and shrimp on a stick. All that kind of stuff. Boudin. Jambalaya. On and on and on."
If you want an earful to go with your mouthful, there will be music aplenty at the Riverfront Stage between the USS Kidd Veterans Memorial and Red Stick Plaza. Early on, a DJ/master of ceremonies will play recorded music, Drummond said. Then at 3:30 p.m., the live music begins on stage.
"We're going to have a new group, 90° West, that's a group from New Orleans," Drummond said. The seven-piece band is "pop, country, that sort of group," he said. At 4:45 p.m., West Bound Train featuring Anita Leblanc and Music Legend Impersonators take the stage. West Bound Train is a Baton Rouge group that plays a mix of country, pop, rock and oldies. The Impersonators present their takes on "like Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Hank Williams" and more, Drummond said. Jenny Brooks of Slidell will offer her country stylings at 6:30 p.m. and at 7:45 p.m. the music headliner, The Chris LeBlanc Band from Baton Rouge, will play until the fireworks display begins.
The ever-popular "Air Raid - Baton Rouge" will be sandwiched between music acts, 6-6:30 p.m. A low altitude fly-by featuring Louisiana Air National Guard F-15 Eagle jets opens Air Raid, then World War II aircraft stage a mock attack on the USS Kidd.
"We fire the guns and make a lot of smoke and noise," Drummond said. "We're going to have plenty of WWII planes in the sky, probably four, maybe five." An explosives accident aboard the Kidd that injured one person in May put the display in question briefly, Drummond said, but things will go on with a little help from some friends.
"We'll be able to do it, because I got permission from the investigators who said as long as I have people in there that have training in high explosives, we can do it," he said. "We look to have a lot of the people with Sons of Guns, the Red Jacket (Firearms) folks. Red Jacket Company, the ones that's on TV (Discovery)." Drummond said the Red Jacket crew have all had high explosives training.
"One thing we've always tried to do is make it family oriented," Drummond said. "It's a family oriented fundraiser, and the profits that we do make go to the USS Kidd." Toward that end, Baton Rouge Police and East Baton Rouge Sheriff's deputies will provide security along the portion of River Road that is blocked off for the event: from the Kidd to North Boulevard.
"Baton Rouge Police provide the security in the street, and also they have police in the crowd, undercover people in the crowd. They installed security on top of the buildings to look for people shooting fireworks and being stupid in the crowd," Drummond said. "A few sheriff's deputies will be around the front of the building. We try to have as much security as possible. We are very, very cognizant of the security issues in Baton Rouge."
Rules for the day are simple: Don't bring coolers, pets, tents or barbecue pits. Enjoy yourself and let the people around you enjoy themselves too. "I think everybody's going to have a good time," Drummond said.
If the crowded street and hot temperatures hold you back, the LSU Museum of Art and the Manship Theatre, both in the Shaw Center for the Arts at 100 Lafayette St., have a deal for you.
"For $65, guaranteed air-conditioning. That's a big deal when you stand outside sweltering in the heat in July," said John Kaufman, director of marketing at the Shaw Center. For that price ($35 for children 12 years old and younger), you can enjoy food and drink in the comfort of the Shaw Center's five floors and do a good turn for some worthy causes.
"The (fireworks) barge docks right up in front of the building here. It's the best seat in town, without a doubt," Kaufman said. "We've upped the price a little this year and LSU (Museum) has come down, but that money is for a benefit, the fundraiser is for both the nonprofits. But with that, you get free food and free beverages from Mockler (beer). Then there'll be a cash bar, and nonalcoholic frozen drinks for kids and soft drinks and water and that sort of thing."
"We open the doors to the building at 6 p.m. You have to have a ticket to get inside this building," he said. "We're doing 500 (people) throughout the whole building. I know that sounds like a lot, but spread out over five floors, it's really not. You can hang out inside for a few hours, listen to music, go upstairs." Tickets are limited, so you need to contact the Shaw Center if you want to nab one. As Kaufman observed, "the air conditioning is priceless."
If you want to get even closer to the pyrotechnics, you can get a ticket to watch them from the deck of the USS Kidd for $10, but quantities are limited. The tickets are available in the museum gift shop. Call (225) 342-1942 or visit http://www.usskidd.com.
Sponsors: Coca-Cola of Baton Rouge, Mockler Beverage, McDonald's of Baton Rouge, PCS Nitrogen of Geismar, Entergy, Mac-Nett Industrial Services, Hollywood Casino, Baton Rouge Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, William T. Barnhouse, AT&T, Louisiana Lottery, Roco Rescue, Vivid Marketing. Special assistance from the Office of the Mayor-President of the City-Parish of East Baton Rouge, EMCO, Baton Rouge City Police Department and the Silk Screen Shop.
In Port Allen
The seventh annual Westside July 4th Fest will take place at the riverfront in downtown Port Allen on Independence Day. Festivities will run from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Planned are face painting, a magician, clowns, a spacewalk, and food and drinks for sale. No ice chests are allowed.
ZydeCajun musician Wayne Toups will take the stage from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and the Foret Tradition will perform from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
The festival is also an optimum viewing spot for Fireworks on the Mississippi taking place on the Baton Rouge side of the river at 9 p.m.
For more information, call (225) 344-2920.
Sponsors: West Baton Rouge Parks & Recreation, the City of Port Allen and the West Baton Rouge Convention & Visitors Bureau.
On False River
Patriotic decorations can be viewed on and off the water at the 30th annual False River 4th of July Boat Parade & Pier Decorating Contest headquartered at Marc Barker's Family Pier at the south end of False River in Jarreau.
Judging of the decorated piers gets under way at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 4, followed by watercraft judging at noon. At 1 p.m., the boat parade begins its river ride. The parade forms in front of LA Express Boat Landing and Pointe Placide Condos, and runs along the south end of False River for several miles.
For more information, call (225) 202-1041.
Plaquemine will mark the Fourth of July with its 12th annual Hometown Celebration all day Wednesday, July 4, at Bayou Plaquemine Waterfront Park, 57845 Foundry St. The nearby Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site and Iberville Museum will be open for free tours. Also planned are canoe races, arts and crafts, games, a boat parade at 4:30 p.m., dancing, and a fireworks show at 9 p.m.
For more information, call (225) 687-3116.