I love the Fourth of July. It’s one of my favorite holidays, as much for my memories of it as what it is today. As a kid, my grandparents would drive up from Pennsylvania and we’d camp out on a blanket in the grass, waiting for the darkening sky to light up. I would sit by my grandfather and listen to him name the shapes in the fireworks.

“Snakes,” he’d call the long sparkly S-shaped spirals, “fishes,” for the smaller ones that seemed to burn out with a head and tail of smoke. It always made me laugh, and it’s one of those memories that stayed with me.

Here’s a roundup of celebrations happening in the area, in alphabetical order, have a safe and happy Fourth of July:

Brandon

Brandon’s 43rd Annual Independence Day Celebration takes place Friday and Saturday, July 5 and 6. Friday there’s a family -friendly Street Dance from 5 to 10 p.m. with music for all ages. There will be food in Seminary Park, just around the corner and up the hill from Town Hall. Off-street parking is available with free shuttles every half hour from Rite Aid, the post office, and the American Legion.

On Saturday, in the Park Village Complex on Route 7, the parade begins at 10 a.m. A number of free family activities will follow, including tug of war, three-legged races, ring toss, skeeball, a bounce house, and many others, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fireworks are at dusk.

Castleton

Castleton’s Fourth of July celebration begins on July 3, but July 4 offers a number of activities are happening for the Castleton-Lake Bomoseen area: at 7:30 a.m. there is a celebratory breakfast at The Tap Room. The parade begins at 10 a.m. on Main Street in downtown Castleton with a block party afterwards on the Castleton Green. A concert at Crystal Beach will be held just before the fireworks at 9 p.m. The Annual Boat Parade kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 6, at Woodard’s Marina.

In case of rain, the parade and concert will be cancelled but the fireworks will be July 5. The Woodard Boat Parade rain date is July 7.

Killington

The Town of Killington is hosting an all day lineup Thursday, July 4, beginning at 9 a.m. with a Friends of Library Book and Gift Sale, a parade on River Road at 10 a.m., Fireman’s BBQ at 11:30 a.m., raffle and games all afternoon until the fireworks show around 9:30 p.m. Rain date is July 5.

Lake Dunmore

The 45th Ice Cream Social on Lake Dunmore is taking place Thursday, July 4 from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Salisbury Congregational Meetinghouse, 853 Maple St. in Salisbury Village. Cones, sundaes, homemade pies and cakes are available, rain or shine.

Mount Holly

The Town Library in Mount Holly is having a Fourth of July book sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Poultney

There is an 8 a.m. pancake breakfast at the Methodist Church on Main Street, and the parade starts at 10 a.m. in East Poultney; At 5 p.m. you have a choice between the No Strings Marionette Company performance, or a concert with local group EnerJazz. The fireworks will be at Poultney Elementary School at dusk.

Rutland

The Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce is presenting a Fireworks Extravaganza at 9:45 p.m. Thursday, July 4, at the Vermont State Fairgrounds. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. with the Demo Derby at 6:30 p.m. The fireworks will begin promptly at 9:45 p.m. except in case of rain.

Rutland Town

On Thursday, July 4 the fireworks hosted by the Town of Rutland and Rutland Town Fire Department, are being held at Northwood Pool on Post Road in Rutland Town at 8 p.m. Then, on Saturday, July 6, Northwood is hosting the Third Annual Town-Wide Celebration beginning at 11 a.m. with swimming, food, an evening concert and more.

Tinmouth

On Friday, July 5, there’s a free, family-friendly concert at the Tinmouth Old Firehouse featuring Northeast Kingdom singer-songwriter Jon Gailmor. The concert starts at 7 p.m. with refreshments available, at Mountain View Road and Route 140 in downtown Tinmouth, between the current firehouse and the Town Office building.

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