The 4th of July is a day for family and friends to enjoy a barbecue or get out and attend an area festival. Of course, Independence Day is about more than just the food and festivities – it’s also all about things that go boom.

Fireworks displays are pretty abundant in the South Sound, as is entertainment throughout the day while you wait for the sun to go down and the pyrotechnics to light up the sky.

Tacoma Freedom Fair

Without a doubt the area’s most popular Independence Day festival is the Freedom Fair on Tacoma’s Ruston Way. The celebration begins at 10:00 a.m. and ends with a spectacular fireworks display at 10:00 p.m.

This annual event draws a large crowd and it’s easy to understand why, there’s plenty of food, fun and, of course, fireworks at the Freedom Fair. With local arts and crafts and merchandise vendors, beer gardens and food vendors, you can spend the day eating, drinking and perusing goods. But there’s entertainment as well, with a classic car show from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., an air show midday, musical acts performing throughout the day and into the evening, plus plenty of kids activities.

Parking can be hard to find and can go quickly, but there’s street parking in the adjoining neighborhoods and shuttles are available. You can also park blocks away and walk in.

Freedom Fair Airshow
Like jets, vintage planes and other aircraft? Freedom Fair has an airshow, but also don’t miss Gig Harbor Wings and Wheels. Photo courtesy: Freedom Fair

Gig Harbor Wings and Wheels

Although this celebration is part of Tacoma’s Freedom Fair, this year the Gig Harbor Wings and Wheels festivities will happen after July 4th, taking place on July 6 – 7 at the Tacoma Narrows Airport. As the name suggests, this festival focuses on all things awe-inspiring that have either wings or wheels, and features World War II fighter planes, aerobatic plane performances, as well as a car show.

Offsite parking is free and free shuttle buses run to and from the event. For offsite parking, attendees should park in the allotted parking areas at Saint Anthony’s Medical Clinic. The buses will run every 15-30 minutes with the first shuttle leaving to the airport around 10:45 a.m. and the last bus leaving the airport at 4:30 p.m.

Onsite parking for the event is $75 per car and includes four general admission tickets. Parking is limited to the first 250 paid admissions.

Freedom Fest
Lady Liberty even joins in the celebrations at the JBLM Freedom Fest. Photo courtesy: Scott Hansen/Northwest Guardian

JBLM Freedom Fest

Celebrate Independence Day at JBLM with festivities happening at Cowan and Memorial stadiums from 11:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. This event is open to the public, but public attendees must use the DuPont gate in order to gain access to the event. Freedom Fest offers fair food, a car show, carnival rides, games and musical entertainment, including headlining act Eddie Montgomery of the country band Montgomery-Gentry. The event will end with a fireworks display starting at 10:00 p.m.

July 3rd Fireworks at Cheney Stadium

Take in a baseball game at Cheney Stadium and stay afterward for a pre-Independence Day fireworks show. On July 3, the Rainiers play the Salt Lake Bees, with the game beginning at 7:05 p.m. and fireworks that begin about 10 to 15 minutes after the game ends. You can also spot the fireworks from outside the stadium in surrounding neighborhoods, but just be careful where you park as most stores surrounding the stadium don’t allow event parking.

4th of July – Red, White and KABOOM

Spend the 4th of July in downtown Puyallup at Pioneer Park for the Red, White and KABOOM festival. The fun starts at noon and features a beer garden, food trucks and kids activities that includes a splash park. There’s also live music beginning at 4:00 p.m., as well as a poker run and car show. And the kaboom portion of this celebration happens at 10:00 p.m., when the fireworks show begins.

Steilacoom Street Fair
Families are invited to enjoy a street parade and activities during Steilacoom’s annual Grand Old 4th of July Celebration.

Steilacoom’s 4th of July Parade and Celebration

The event Steilacoom is most known for takes place on the 4th of July. Each year, the Steilacoom Chamber of Commerce presents the Grand Old 4th of July Celebration in conjunction with the Town of Steilacoom. The parade will be filled with activities and events such as the kids bike parade, a street fair, live music, a beer garden, vendors and much more. Every year, this event ends with a bang – literally – as the Fireworks Presentation Committee treats us all to a spectacular fireworks extravaganza over Puget Sound.

Red, White and Blues Festival

This event is all about music and takes place at Celebration Park in Federal Way. Admission is free, and there is limited on-site parking, which opens at 3:00 p.m. The entertainment starts at 4:00 p.m. with The Mix playing top 40 music, followed by The Infinity Project, which is a Journey tribute band, then Broham playing Motown hits and the final act is Heart by Heart, a duo who were original members of the band Heart.

Besides the tunes, there’s also games, food, kids inflatable activities, arts and crafts, and of course, fireworks to cap off the event. Be sure to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit back and enjoy the music and fireworks display.

Auburn 4th of July Festival

This celebration happens at Les Gove Park and includes a bike parade at noon, various entertainment on two stages and a car show. There’s also plenty of other entertainment options including an arts and craft area, inflatable rides, a rock wall, euro-bungee trampolines, train rides and activities for children. The event also offers bingo, mini golf, bocce, a book sale, food concessions and more.

The festival is free, but activities cost a small fee. Attendees can purchase a wristband for $5 for unlimited activities. Wristband sales begin at 10:00 a.m. Leashed, licensed and well-behaved pets are welcome at this event.

DuPont Fourth of July Celebration

Start the day off with a pancake breakfast, happening at Clocktower Park from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.  An Independence Day parade starts at 10:00 a.m., followed by festivities at Clocktower Park from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The day’s events continue at Home Course public golf course from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., with a fireworks show to close out the evening.

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