?? Who’s ready to celebrate Independence Day? Check out these 4th of July highlights in the Alpena area. ???What is your favorite 4th of July event? ?

It all starts Wednesday, July 3, in the evening:

1. Battle of the Paddles & Craft Beer Tasting, Wednesday 7/3 from 4:30-8 pm. At Thunder Bay River by Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. Festivities begin with craft beer tasting on the roof deck then watch standup paddle-boarders & kayakers race! Race registration: $10. Hosted by Dork Brothers Racing & Friends of TBNMS.

And the fun continues through Thursday, July 4!

2. Independence Day 5k Run/ Walk & 1 mile Fun Run, Thursday 7/4 with registration beginning at 7 am at the Aplex. An Alpena tradition put on by Dork Brothers Racing Team. All runners and walkers welcome for a 1 mile Fun Run at 8:30 am and 5k at 9:00 am! Registration is $10 for students, $20 for adults, and $40 for families.

3. Alpena’s 4th of July Parade, Thursday 7/4 beginning at 11 am. Parade begins at the Alpena County Fairgrounds, cruises through downtown, and ends at the Maritime Festival. This year’s parade honors active military & veterans. The special theme for 2019 is Alpena’s Lumber Era. Hosted by Performance Locker, with sponsorship support by Lafarge – Alpena.

4. Maritime Festival, Thursday 7/4 from 10 am- 5 pm. 500 West Fletcher Street. Free and fun for the whole family. Music, kid’s activities, ROV demos, food vendors, Sidewalk Chalk art contest and the Cardboard Boat Regatta. Hosted by NOAA TBNMS.

5. Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest, Thursday 7/4 from 10 am- 4 pm. 500 West Fletcher Street. Free and fun for the whole family. Walk-ups are welcome until supplies run out, but register by Noon on July 3 to be eligible for prizes. Visit thunderbayfriends.org for registration info. Hosted by NOAA TBNMS and Thunder Bay Arts Council & Gallery.

6. Cardboard Boat Regatta, Thursday 7/4 beginning at 2 pm. Thunder Bay River near Rotary Island. Will a cardboard boat float? Find out! Any individual/team over 10 years old can register beginning at 11 am on Rotary Island. Spectators welcome. Put on by the Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

7. Alpena Sandcastle Competition, Thursday 7/4 beginning at 8 am. Starlite Beach. Stop by to admire the artistry of Alpena’s finest sandcastle builders. Registration begins at 8 a.m. and judging takes place from 1- 3 pm. Sandcastles on display all day. Hosted by The Alpena News. For more information, call 989-354-3111.

8. The Rock Show concert, Thursday 7/4 at 7:00 pm at the Alpena Band Shell. A free outdoor concert in the park on the shores of Lake Huron. Enjoy the Alpena City Band prior to the show. Part of the Summer Concert Series hosted by True North Radio Network.

9. Fireworks, set off along the shores of Lake Huron at Mich-e-ke-wis Park at dusk on 7/4. Prime viewing locations include Starlite Beach and Bay View Park/Alpena Boat Harbor but can be enjoyed all throughout Alpena. Special thanks to Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce and the Alpena community for raising funds to support the fireworks show.

Keep your eyes peeled and check Visitalpena.com/events for other great 4th of July events including live music celebrations at local restaurants!