Newcomers and visitors scratching their heads over daylight fireworks displays, and longtime residents alike will find lots to do on the Kenai Peninsula Thursday as Kenai, Homer, Seldovia and Seward bring out the red, white and blue to celebrate the nation's Independence Day. Here are some highlights:
The Kenai Chamber of Commerce sponsors the "Spirit of Alaska" Fourth of July Parade and festivities this year beginning on the greenstrip across from the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center on Kenai Spur Highway. Activities start with the Kenai Rotary Club breakfast of eggs, sausage, pancakes and biscuits and gravy at 8 a.m. and continue through 4 p.m. with corn on the cob and grilled salmon among the featured food offerings.
During the parade, Kenai police will close 1st Avenue from Main Street Loop to Corral and Main Street Loop from the Kenai Spur Highway to 1st Avenue from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Officers will direct traffic around the parade route during that time. Police also encourage people to arrive early for the best viewing spots along the parade route.
Residents with questions about the parade should call the Kenai chamber at 283-7989.
8 a.m. -- Vendor booths open
11 a.m. -- Parade travels from Willow to Spur to Main Street Loop to the greenstrip
Following the parade -- Free children's games, sponsored by the Kenai Fire Department
1-3 p.m. -- Free carriage rides by Alaska C and C Stables.
Playing host to thousands who come to run in or watch the famous Mount Marathon race, Seward is the site of the peninsula's grandest Fourth of July celebration starting with the Elks Club breakfast at 7 a.m. and continuing all day with food vendors, contests, craft booths, music and fireworks at 11:59 p.m. The Postmaster of the United States, John E. "Jack" Potter will serve as marshal of the parade, which begins at 1:30 p.m. traveling down 4th Avenue.
9:15 a.m. -- Opening ceremony, 4th Avenue
9:30 a.m. -- Junior Mount Marathon Race
10 a.m. -- Sloppy Joe feed, Lutheran Church, 3rd and Jefferson
11 a.m. -- Chicken barbecue, Sacred Heart Church, 5th and Jefferson
11:15 a.m. -- Women's Mount Marathon Race
11:30 a.m. -- Mini Mount Marathon Race, a 20-yard dash for ages 2 to 6 at 4th and Adams
1:30 p.m. -- Parade, 4th Avenue
2 p.m. -- Top Cover Air Force Band, fire hall parking lot
3 p.m. -- Men's Mount Marathon Race
7 p.m. -- Top Cover Air Force Band, Harbor Master Pavilion
9 p.m. -- Live music, Harbor Dinner Club
11:59 p.m. -- Fireworks on the waterfront
The Seward celebration actually continues through the weekend with food and crafts booths and musical entertainment.
Public camping fees increase $2 this year and camping is only allowed in designated camping areas around the city.
"Home of the Free" is the theme of Homer's July 4 Parade, which begins at 6 p.m. at Homer High School and travels down Pioneer Avenue to Kachemak Bay College.
Vendor booths will be open at many locations along the parade route.
Ever wanted to see the salmon shuffle? Seldovia is the place. The 5-kilometer Salmon Shuffle foot race is one of many events planned by the Seldovia Chamber of Commerce. Other attractions include the Main Street parade, food and arts and crafts booths, music and dance performances and the Old Crab auction.
7 a.m. -- Blueberry pancake breakfast, Seldovia firehouse
9 a.m. -- Salmon Shuffle foot race
11 a.m. -- "Our Country, Our Children, Our Future" parade, Main Street
11:30 a.m. -- Food booths and nonfood booths open. Many local restaurants also will be open all day.
Noon -- Grandstand celebrations begin with the Gruber Girls singing the national anthem.
1:30 p.m. -- Kids foot races, Harbor Master's house.
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