Fourth of July: Get Ready to Celebrate

By Beacon Staff

With the Fourth of July falling on a Wednesday this year, more Flathead Valley residents may consider staying closer to home to celebrate one of the most patriotic days of the year.

Luckily, there is plenty to do throughout the valley. Here’s a basic rundown of the major events happening in cities and towns, but be sure to check www.flatheadevents.net for the latest updates on live music and more.

Festivities in Kalispell begin at 10 a.m., with a parade on Main Street running through downtown. With patriotic themes, music and representation from color guards, veteran and youth groups, floats and horse clubs, this promises to be a fun-filled, family-friendly event.

Those wishing to participate can register online at the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce’s website, www.kalispellchamber.com. For more information, call 406-758-2803.

Following the parade, head over to the Conrad Mansion Museum for an old-fashioned ice cream social, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The ice cream will be free, but donations are accepted. Guided tours of the mansion will be available throughout the day.

The Whitefish Chamber of Commerce is hosting the “Whitefish Freedom Fest Celebration” at the Great Northern Veterans Peace Park, located west of town on U.S. Highway 93. Kevin Gartland, executive director at the chamber, said the music event – featuring the Montana Band – is designed to bring the community together and to showcase the spot the chamber hopes will be home to a permanent amphitheater.

The park provides ideal views of the fireworks that will shoot from City Beach later in the evening, Gartland said.

It will also be a special evening for the Montana Band, since it is their first stop on the 25th Anniversary Tribute Tour. The tour is in memory of the five members of the Montana Band killed in a plane crash near Flathead Lake on July 4, 1987.

Admission to the evening’s events is free, and parking is available at Idaho Timber, 75 Karrow Ave. Spectators are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit on. The fun goes from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, call 862-3501 or visit the chamber’s website at www.whitefishchamber.org.

The Fourth of July is a big day for the village by the lake, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the 2nd Annual Freedom 5K Run/Walk as a tribute to the troops and their families. The course starts at Brookies Cookies, then heads along the Swan River Nature Trail and loops back to Brookies.

Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., and is also available online at www.gratefulnationmontana.com. For more information, call 406-240-9278.

If pancakes are more your style to starting your day, check out the free breakfast at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which will feature pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs and orange juice. Breakfast is served from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. For more information, call 406-837-5888.

Then, beginning at 12 p.m., head downtown for the annual parade. Anyone wishing to participate can simply join in; there is no registration process. Traffic directors stationed at Flathead Bank will help get you there.

Fireworks explode over patrons lining the dock and boatramp at the City Beach in Whitefish during the annual fireworks.

There will be a children’s carnival following the parade, as well as the traditional “Ducks for Bucks” race on the Wild Mile at 4 p.m. Call the Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce to purchase your duck, 406-837-5888.

The folks in Somers and Lakeside invite you to celebrate the Fourth Flathead Lake-style, with the Flathead Lake Boat Parade beginning at 2 p.m. Staging for the parade begins at 1:30 p.m. in Lakeside Bay in front of the Docks Restaurant.

Participants will fall in line behind the Nordic tug, “Lucille,” which will mark the start of the parade with a toot of its horn. The parade route ends at the Somers public boat ramp.

There will also be judges watching for the most-decorated and most-patriotic boats in the flotilla, and the winners will receive gift certificates. For more information, call 406-844-2025.

In Polson, be sure to stop by the first-ever “Family 4th on the Flathead” celebration, taking place at the fairgrounds. Festivities will include games, family fun, food and other vendors, a beer garden, music from Cabin Fever, and the traditional post-sunset fireworks show.

Admission is $5 per person, but is free for children under 12 and for adults with wristbands from the 2nd Annual Salish Point Blues Festival, which takes place on July 3.

Both events support the Polson food bank and concertgoers are asked to bring a can of food or other non-perishable items. Outside bottles and coolers are not allowed. For more information call 406-885-2377 or 406-890-9952. Ticket and event information are also available at www.festivalsontheflathead.org.

If you’re in Arlee, check out the 114th Arlee Powwow Celebration, beginning at 2 p.m. at the powwow grounds. July 4 is just one of the days in the weeklong celebration, and includes open intertribal dancing, the Snake Dance at 2 p.m. and the evening ride parade at 9 p.m. Events are open to the public and are free.

Powwow events continue through July 8.

For more information on the powwow, visit www.arleepowwow.com or call 406-675-2700.

There’s plenty going on in the Flathead Valley for the Fourth of July, and the fun continues as you head north.

Indian Springs Ranch is hosting the “Blues and Barbecue” event on July 4, an all-afternoon event that includes live music and fireworks.

Christine Stevens, marketing manager there, says Indian Springs Ranch thinks it’s important to build relationships with the community, and hosting a family-friend event in a safe and fun atmosphere does just that.

The day starts at 1 p.m. with 18 rounds of golf for $25, including the cart.

Then, at 6 p.m., pig out at the barbecue feast for $8 per person, $5 for those 12 and under.

The Kenny James Miller Band takes the stage for live music from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., followed by fireworks at dusk (weather permitting).

There will be a beer garden and hot dog bar, as well as games like horseshoes, ladder ball and bocce ball.

For more information, check out the Indian Springs Ranch website.

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