Since 2009, the $50,000 fireworks display has been a casualty of budget cuts, but this year, through public funds and private donations, it returns to the Port of Redwood City. At 9:15 p.m. the port will launch the show, which can be seen from high points all around the Peninsula.
The fireworks will climax a day filled with old-fashioned family activities, ranging from a pig scramble at the Woodside Junior Rodeo to a chili cook-off in Palo Alto. All the events listed below will be held on Wednesday, July Fourth, unless otherwise noted.
Menlo Park parade, festival
The city of Menlo Park will sponsor its traditional community parade and festival with food, music and activities for all ages.
Kids and their families are asked to dress in red, white and blue and bring decorated tricycles and bikes, wagons, pets and floats to join the July Fourth parade, which begins at 11:45 a.m. Participants should assemble in the Wells Fargo parking lot, corner of Santa Cruz Avenue and Chestnut Street, at 11:30 a.m.
The parade will make its way down Santa Cruz Avenue, across El Camino Real, and end at Burgess Park.
The carnival, from noon to 2:30 p.m., will feature two rock-climbing walls, games of skill, and large inflatables, including a 35-foot slide. New this year, for the 4-to-6-year-old set, is the Mickey Mouse Activity Center. Family games will include an egg toss and potato sack race. There will also be crafts for the kids and face painting.
The House Rockers band will entertain from center stage.
Vendors offering food and drink will include the Menlo Park Host Lions Club selling hot dogs, Round Table offering pizza, and Menlo Park newcomer SuziCakes featuring sweet treats.
Wrist bands, required for games and activities, will be sold for $6 each. Visitors are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs for picnicking.
Also in Menlo Park, Little House will hold an Independence Day celebration on Tuesday, July 3. A barbecued chicken luncheon will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for $6. Jump for Joy Music will provide live entertainment from to noon to 1 p.m. At 1 p.m. the movie musical "1776," will be shown. For information, call 326-2025, ext. 222.
Thousands of spectators are expected to attend the 62nd Woodside Junior Rodeo, sponsored by the Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County, to be held Wednesday at the Mounted Patrol grounds at 521 Kings Mountain Road in Woodside.
Gates open at 8 a.m. The full day of events include cowboys and cowgirls, ages 6 to 18, taking part in team roping, barrel racing, and even a pig scramble for the younger kids. The main events start at noon with the Presentation of the Colors by the Mounted Patrol Color guard. The Rodeo Queen and her court of princesses will also be on hand.
Family entertainment will include a clown, pony rides, a mechanical bull, and a petting zoo. Food and beverages will be available.
Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for kids, and free for those 5 and under.
The Mounted Patrol will also hold a dinner-dance at the Mounted Patrol grounds, starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 3. For tickets, call 851-8300.
Redwood City festivities begin at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday with the annual pancake breakfast hosted by the city's fire department at Station 9, 755 Marshall St. Breakfast is $6 for adults and $4 for children.
The popular parade, now in its 74th year, starts at 10 a.m. at Marshall Street at the corner of Winslow Street and ends near Alden Street. This year's theme is "A Salute to Agriculture."
The Independence Day Festival goes on from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Broadway downtown area. The festival includes arts and crafts booths, food and drink for sale to benefit nonprofit organizations, and a kids' area with a jump house, clowns, face painting and magician Phil Ackerley.
The Woodside Terrace A.M. Kiwanis Club will once again hold its annual carnival in the county government parking lot, corner of Veterans Boulevard and Middlefield Road.
The carnival will feature family-oriented rides that parents and children can enjoy together, such as the Ferris Wheel, Berry-Go-Round, Dragon Wagon and the fun house.
Also in Redwood City is the annual Parade Run, a 5K event that benefits the Redwood City Education Foundation. The run starts at 8:45 at Brewster Avenue and Arguello Street. Information is a paraderun.org.
Old Fashioned Fourth
For history buffs, the San Mateo County History Museum at 2200 Broadway will host "An Old-Fashioned Fourth" from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors can hand-churn vanilla ice cream and make crafts from the 1880s, including whirligigs and parachutes. The event costs $2.50 for adults and $1.50 for seniors and students.
Go to historysmc.org or call 299-0104.
In addition, a classic car show will be in Courthouse Square from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Eighteen teams are expected to compete this year in the 31st annual Chili Cook-off. The annual event has drawn teams from local nonprofits and at least five new teams will face off against groups of returning chefs from noon to 5 p.m. on July Fourth at Mitchell Park, 600 E. Meadow Drive. There will be disco, funk, soul and Latin music by the band The Hitmen, line dancing with Hedy McAdams, food vendors, face painting and other kids' activities.
Admission is free, with a small fee for chili-tasting kits. Tasting starts at 1:30 p.m. For more information, call 329-2366.
Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View will be the setting for a performance by the San Francisco Symphony at 8 p.m. on the Fourth. The program will include music by John Williams and Freddie Mercury as well as music from such films as "Rocky" and "Chariots of Fire." The performance will be followed by a fireworks display. Tickets are $24-$35. Go to sfsymphony.org or call 415-864-6000.