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3 BIG ways to celebrate the Fourth of July

Many local communities across Southwest Ohio will celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with fireworks, concerts and other festivities. Here are a few ideas to help kick-off the holiday celebration this year.

1. COMMUNITY CELEBRATIONS

MIDDLETOWN

Middletown’s Fourth of July Fireworks/Broad Street Blast event on Tuesday, July 3 at Smith Park will feature headliner Thunderstruck (an AC/DC tribute band) with The Magnums. Festivities run from 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. The Magnums will play from 6 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. From 7:30 p.m. - 8 p.m., enjoy the National Anthem, a Flag Jump by Fastrax Skydivers and an appearance by Mayor Larry Mulligan Jr. Thunderstruck will perform from 8 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. There will be a Pyro Jump with Fastrax Skydivers at 9:45 p.m., followed by Rozzi’s Fireworks.

HAMILTON

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In Hamilton on Wednesday, July 4, Miss Jacque with Soul Pocket will be in concert at RiversEdge. (Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; first set at 6:30 p.m. and second set at 8:30 p.m.) Both events are free to attend. Additionally, Hamilton’s Fourth of July Celebration runs from 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. on July 4 in downtown Hamilton. The parade will begin at 10 a.m., starting at the Butler County Fairgrounds.

LIBERTY TWP.

There will be two Fourth of July events in Liberty Township on July 1. Red, White and Liberty takes place in the Park and Square at Liberty Center from noon-9 p.m. The party includes face painting, games, crafts, a green screen, and live music by the soul band, Smooothcq. At 2:30 p.m., the Red Wagon parade starts, with prizes for Best in Show, Most Patriotic, and Most Creative. Light Up Liberty is a family-oriented, alcohol-free party that includes food, live music, carnival rides, a car show and fireworks. Light Up Liberty takes place at Princeton Pike Church of God, 6101 Princeton Glendale Road, from 6-10:15 p.m.

FAIRFIELD

Fairfield boasts four locations (parties) to view the Rozzi’s Fireworks show Red, White & Kaboom. They are Harbin Park (the actual launch site), Village Green Park, Marsh Lake, and the Fairfield Aquatic Center. Harbin Park and Village Green Park will feature food and live entertainment. Marsh Lake offers fishing for an additional $5 for non-season ticket holders, and the Fairfield Aquatic Center offers swimming and games. Check it out on July 3 from dusk-11 p.m. There is no admission cost. For more information, call 513-867-5300 or visit www.fairfield-city.org.

MASON

Red, Rhythm and Boom: Mason’s Fourth of July party includes live music from the Grammy-nominated band, The Fray, and Five for Fighting, whose own piano-based rock has produced three Top 40 hits. The party will also feature plenty of food and drink and a kids’ zone that includes zip lining and extreme air trampolines. Check it out at the Mason Municipal Center, 6000 S. Mason Montgomery Road, Mason, on July 3 from 4-10 p.m. There is no admission cost but kids’ zones wristbands are $5. For more information, visit www.imaginemason.org.

OXFORD

Freedom Festival: Oxford’s Fourth festival starts with a parade, followed by a festival that includes a rock climbing wall, inflatables, games, a hot air balloon, a stilt walker, a magician, crafts, community booths and fireworks. Oxford Community Park, 6801 Fairfield Road, Oxford, on July 3 at 6:30 p.m. There is no admission cost. For more information, visit www.cityofoxford.org.

2. SPEND THE HOLIDAY AT A LOCAL ATTRACTION

Whether you plan a day trip, or spend a long weekend away from home, the Fourth of July might be perfect opportunity to visit popular attractions like Kings Island or Stricker’s Grove.

KINGS ISLAND

Kings Island’s 4th of July Spectacular will feature 20 minutes of fireworks on Fourth of July, making the fireworks show longer than the park’s traditional nightly fireworks. Kings Island will also stay open until midnight, giving guests even more opportunities to experience rides like Banshee, Diamondback and the award-winning Mystic Timbers. Kings Island will also pay tribute to the members of the military by offering free admission on Military Appreciation Days, July 1-4.

STRICKER’S GROVE

Stricker’s Grove is open to the public on the Fourth of July from 2-11 p.m.. Enjoy rides, food and fireworks.

Admission to the park is free. There are costs for rides. Ride ticket packages range from $1.75 to $20. Wristbands for unlimited rides are $15. Parking is $5 per car.

3. ENJOY THE OUTDOORS

Celebrate America’s freedom by soaking in the outdoors this year at a local park. Whether you and your family enjoy a quiet walk, biking or hiking, there are many outstanding parks in Hamilton, Butler and Warren counties. Packing a picnic will add to the fun. One gem, the Voice of America MetroPark in West Chester Twp. features a stocked lake and miles of combined paved and natural trails. Guests can enjoy fishing, boating, a jog or a walk, along with scenic views. A park permit is required, which is free to Butler County residents. Non-resident permits are $5 per day, or $10, annually.

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