Fourth of July Adventure Guide

Celebrate Independence Day in the Flathead Valley

By Emma Epperly
Fourth of July parade through downtown Bigfork. Beacon File Photo

Five Best Ways to Watch Fireworks

Fireworks during the annual Fourth of July celebration at Whitefish City Beach. – Beacon file photo

1. Connect with the community and watch the fireworks at City Beach or Les Mason State Park, both located on Whitefish Lake. City Beach features food vendors for the fireworks celebration, so grab a snack and take a seat.

2. Flathead Lake has arguably the most iconic fireworks shows (yes, that’s right, more than one) in the valley. Lakeside and Somers beaches are public and perfect places to watch the fireworks on the west side of the lake. Polson’s fireworks show can be seen from along the river or the Polson Fairgrounds. Bigfork’s fireworks are visible from Wayfarers State Park, where you can roast marshmallows while watching the light shows from all around the lake.

3. The Seeley Lake show is legendary, with fireworks lit from a deck in the middle of the lake, so the entire lake has an amazing view.

In Seeley Lake, Fourth of July is a daylong community event, and the fireworks show is highly anticipated all year long. Public viewing is held at Lindey’s Prime Steak House. If you would like to sponsor the fireworks, visit www.seeleylakechamber.com.

4. Get a bird’s-eye view of the fireworks from Lone Pine State Park in west Kalispell. From the top of the park, Lakeside, Kalispell and Foys Lake fireworks are visible. Hike to the top, or drive up and park, and sit and watch fireworks from across the valley.

5. For many, the best way to watch fireworks is from the water. Rent a paddleboard or watercraft of your choice or bring your own and join the hundreds of onlookers on the water. Flathead and Whitefish Lake both have multiple places to rent water toys right on the lake.

Schedule of Events

Monster Trucks and Huge Fireworks Show

Where: Montana Raceway Park, Kalispell

When: June 29-30

What: Celebrate the Fourth a little early with this monster truck show, followed by fireworks both nights. Tickets range from $14-18, and children under 3 enter for free.

More: www.mtracewaypark.com

A Seeley Lake 4th of July Celebration

Where: Seeley Lake

What: Start your day with the annual pancake breakfast at the Seeley Lake Fire Department Station 1, and then get lunch at Pig Roast BBQ. The parade through downtown begins at 2 p.m. After the parade, head down to the Clearwater River for a rubber duck race at 4:30 p.m. The big finale is the fireworks show that launches from a deck in the middle of Seeley Lake, starting at 10 p.m.

More: www.seeleylakechamber.com

Grateful Nation Montana Freedom 5k Run/Walk

Where: Brookside Yard, Bigfork

When: 9 a.m.

What: The 2018 Freedom Run seeks to honor and thank all the men and women in uniform. The run follows the Swan River Nature Trail and then loops back to Brookside to finish off with Brookies’ cookies and medals before the downtown Bigfork Parade. All proceeds from race registrations go to the Grateful Nation Montana Children’s Scholarship Fund, which gives scholarships to children whose parents died in action. Children of Fallen Patriots and the Folded Flag Foundation partner with Grateful Nation and other sponsors to put on this event.

More: www.gratefulnationmontana.com  

Kalispell’s Fourth of July Parade

Where: Downtown Kalispell

When: 10 a.m.

What: The annual Kalispell Fourth parade is full of traditional floats and fire trucks with some surprising new twists. This year’s theme is Funky Fourth and encourages parade participants to think outside the box.

More: www.kalispellchamber.com

Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Social

Where: Conrad Mansion Museum, Kalispell

When: 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

What: Head over to the Conrad Mansion after Kalispell’s parade for free ice cream, live music and face-painting. The event also offers self-guided tours of the museum at a reduced rate of $5.

More: www.conradmansion.com

Bigfork’s Fourth of July Parade

Where: Downtown Bigfork

When: 12 p.m.

What: Head down to Electric Avenue for what many say is the best parade in the valley. This year’s theme is “Western Stars and Stripes” to celebrate Bigfork’s PRCA Summer Rodeo on July 6-7.

More: Parking in downtown Bigfork closes at 8 a.m. There are also free shuttle buses available. For more information, visit www.bigfork.org

Polebridge’s Fourth of July Parade

Where: Main Street

When: Noon

What: Head up the North Fork to this funky parade, which isn’t officially organized but somehow happens every year anyway. Anyone can participate, and there are cash prizes for the three best floats or participants. Music from Engine 99, Fancy Suite and Worst Feelings to follow at The Northern Lights Saloon.

More: To participate in the parade, line up at the Polebridge Mercantile starting at 11:30 a.m. Absolutely no fireworks allowed.

120th Arlee Fourth of July Pow Wow, Parade & Rodeo

Where: Arlee Pow Wow Grounds

When: July 2-8, beginning at 2 p.m. on the Fourth

What: The longest-running tribal celebration sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes has traditional dance competitions, singing, drumming, and a parade. The Snake Dance honors veterans and begins at 2 p.m.

More: www.arleepowwow.com

Red, White, & Boom Baby

Where: Indian Springs Ranch Golf Course, Eureka

When: All day

What: Head up to Indian Springs for a day full of events. Start off with a round of golf by participating in the Flag Tournament. Then from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., enjoy the Show and Shine Car Show. There is also a kid’s zone and food court from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. and a beer garden and live music in the evening. Fireworks start once it gets dark.

More: www.indianspringsmontana.com

Fourth of July Fireworks Kayak Paddle

Where: Sea Me Paddle Kayaking Tours, Lakeside

When: 9 p.m.

What: Get the best view of the Lakeside fireworks show and watch it from the middle of the lake. This tour includes all the gear, so all you need to bring is yourself.

More: Pre-registration is required online at www.seamepaddle.com

The 82nd Annual Earl Hunt Memorial Fourth of July Tournament

Where: Whitefish Lake Golf Club

When: July 4-7

What: Maximize your Fourth of July by extending it all weekend long. The annual Fourth of July tournament in Whitefish begins with practice rounds on the Fourth followed by tournament play Thursday through Saturday. The Women’s Derby begins Thursday at 5 p.m. and the Men’s Derby is Friday at 5 p.m. The public is welcome to come watch the derbies and grab some food from the course’s restaurant.

More: www.golfwhitefish.com

Polson’s Fourth of July Parade and Fireworks Show

Where: Polson Fairgrounds

When: Parade begins at noon, fireworks at dusk

What: Head to downtown Polson for the annual Fourth of July Parade. This year’s theme is “Montana Roots.” Fireworks can be seen from along the river or from the Polson Fairgrounds.

More: www.polsonchamber.com

July Fourth Fireworks on Whitefish Lake

Where: Whitefish Lake

When: Shortly after dusk, shuttles run from 7 p.m.-11p.m.

What: Enjoy fireworks, vendors and an evening outdoors. Eagle Transit provides a free shuttle from the O’Shaughnessy Center in downtown Whitefish to City Beach.

More: www.whitefishchamber.org

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