fireworksAlpena is a favorite destination for visitors during the summer months, especially during the Fourth of July. There is a noticeably festive spirit in the air as Alpena celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

For our community, the excitement begins as early as March, when Alpena’s Chamber of Commerce start their annual fireworks fundraiser. We are proud to say that they have exceeded their goal for this year! The free community fireworks show can be seen for miles and thousands gather at parks and beaches along the shores of Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay to watch the spectacular show.

The fun doesn’t begin with just the fireworks, though. There is a plethora of activities to enjoy sandcastle contesat Alpena’s Fourth of July celebration! Participants of Starlite Beach’s annual sandcastle contest start as early as 8 a.m., with spectators watching throughout the day as stunning creations take form.  9 a.m. marks the start of the Dork Brothers Independence Day Race. Early birds love to gather friends and family to participate.

Next up, of course, is the Lafarge 4th of July Parade! The parade starts at 11  a.m. at the Alpena County Fairgrounds, and winds it’s glory down the crowd filled streets, ending at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Don’t forget to buy your ticket during the parade for your chance to win the Alpena Optimist Rubber Ducky Race! The rubber ducks are released from the 9th Street bridge and float down the Thunder Bay River to Rotary Island Mill Park.  After the parade, while you are near the river, follow the Heritage Trail across the bridge to the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary for the Maritime Festival. This free Cardboard Boat Regattacommunity event provides live music on the main stage, kid’s games and crafts, and best yet: the annual Cardboard Boat Regatta! You might want to head back to Starlite Beach to check out the winning creations of the sandcastle contest, or stop at one of Alpena’s ice cream shops for a cool treat in between activities.

End the day by heading over to the Bay View Park Band Shell for a live music concert. At dusk the fireworks begin, and can be viewed from all along the lake shore. Many gather at Bay View Park, Starlight Beach, and Alpena’s Boat Harbor.

Hope to see you there!