Fired up for the Fourth: Local events celebrating our independence

Locals have a variety of options to enjoy Independence Day fireworks and other festivities


TULARE COUNTY – Summer is upon us and the temperatures are on the rise. This July 4, the U.S. turns 243 years young! Here are some ways to celebrate:

Saturday, June 29 – Porterville – Celebrated each year on the Saturday before the Independence holiday, the Freedom Fest has grown into an event that is both anticipated and appreciated by the entire community. Gates open at 4 p.m. at the Porterville Sports Complex, 2701 W Scranton Ave. with live music by The Blue Jackets, a Superhero Experience with Hero Alliance, and food and craft vendors. The finale is the fireworks show at dusk.

Admission is by the carload – $10 in advance, $15 the day of the event, and $20 preferred car passes with parking in the paved lot just west of the entrance gates. To purchase parking passes visit City Hall, 291 N. Main St.

Free transportation out to the event is available by catching the bus from the Porterville Transit Center located at 61 W. Oak Avenue. First bus departs at 5:10 p.m.

Wednesday July 3 – Woodlake’s Blast is a free community event held from 6 to 10 p.m. in City Park at the corner of Antelope and Magnolia. There will be food and drink vendors, along with others selling light necklaces, toys and balls. A Free Kids Zone will be offered throughout the evening including a train ride, interactive games and crafts, face painting and balloon animals. The Woodlake Museum will be open at no charge. Water slides will be available for $10/person for all evening.

Visitors are welcome to bring an ice chest with their own goodies, although no outside alcohol. Beer will be for sale at the Sequoia Beverage Beer Wagon. Event funding is offset by a raffle at $5/ticket. Some of the winning items include a Disneyland Family pass, four tickets for a Dodger home game in L.A., two family passes to the San Diego Zoo, two weekend stays in a Las Vegas condo, and local ticket and gift cards to Adventure Park, Imagine U Museum, Quantum Leap, Rawhide home games and more!

Visitors are encouraged to come early with lawn chairs and blankets to stakeout a spot on the lawn for the firework show which will begin at dusk, approximately 9:15 p.m.

Wednesday, July 3 – Rawhide Ballpark & Recreation Park will be the new home of the City of Visalia fireworks show to celebrate Independence Day. This event is in partnership between the City of Visalia, KJUG 106.7, Hitz 104.9, My 97.5, Spirit 88.9, and the Visalia Rawhide Ballclub.

This will be a community celebration event on Wednesday, July 3 in lieu of the Independence Day holiday the following day and will incorporate the entire block of land which is home to Rawhide Ballpark, Recreation Park, Providence Skate Park and the Anthony Community Center.

The event will kick off at noon with a free swim session at the Redwood High School swimming pool.  Food vendors will be available as well. As the pool area shuts down at 4 p.m., the gates to Recreation Park will open. Available activities will include live music, DJ, inflatable games, playground, basketball courts, a skateboarding competition and food and drink vendors.

At 6 p.m., Rawhide Ballpark will open its gates to those who have a free ticket to attend their game that night versus the San Jose Giants. Following the game, a celebratory fireworks show will be displayed for all to see. There are two tiers of tickets—a general admission ticket, which are free, but attendees are required to have a ticket; or a VIP ticket available for $20/each. VIP tickets will have access to their own private seating area, their own restrooms, inflatable games, cooling mister station and food and drink vendors. VIP tickets are available for purchase through General admission tickets are available through the stadium box office, or through one of the sponsor locations.

Wednesday, July 3 – Tulare – 6 to 9 p.m.  Tulare’s 54th Annual Fireworks Extravaganza at the Tulare County Fairgrounds put on by the Kiwanis Club of Tulare. Gates open at 6 p.m. with entertainment for the whole family. Enjoy a variety of food including sno-cones and kettle corn. For more information contact [email protected].

Tickets are $5; children under age 5 are free. Parking is free, although VIP parking is offered for $5.

Thursday, July 4 – Exeter starts the Fourth off with an early call for runners and walkers with check-in at 5:30 a.m., 10K start time at 6 a.m. and the 2 Mile Walk at 7 a.m. The start/finish line is at the corner of Cedar and D at Exeter City Park. The 10K is a flat, fast race through the streets of Exeter. The 2 mile prediction walk takes place through downtown and various other city streets.

Preregistration takes place in the Exeter Community Services office, located at 137 North F St. or at City Park on race day. Preregistration fees are $25; $35 the day of the race until 6:30 a.m. Awards will be given to the first three to finish in each division and the fastest male and female in the 10K run. For the 2-mile event, awards will be given to the Top 10 prediction times.

The July 4 Annual Pancake Breakfast in City Park from 7 to 10 a.m., this year hosted by the Fraternal Order of Eagles.  The annual Horseshoe Pitching Contest takes place beginning with the A & B Classes at 9 a.m. and Classes C & D to follow at 12:30 p.m. Sign-in takes place 30 minutes prior to class time. The format will follow the customary round-robin style, seven players per class. Each game will be a 40-shoe cancellation. For more information on the 10K/2M run/walk or the horseshoe tourney, please call the Recreation Office at 559-592-5262.

In the evening, the festivities begin at Lion’s Stadium with the Exeter Lions Club free fireworks show at dusk. Come early – the Lions provide concessions, security, porta potties  and parking assistance.

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