Independence Day is a time for Americans throughout the country to celebrate our heritage and history.

For many, the Fourth of July is a time to gather together for fireworks shows, barbecue some hot dogs over charcoal grills and wave Old Glory proudly in the sky.

In the High Country, the Fourth of July is made even more special with the striking mountain scenery. Here’s what the area’s communities have to offer this Independence Day.

Ashe County Parks

& Recreation July Fourth Celebration

Ashe County Park, July 4

On Saturday, July 4, the Ashe County Parks & Recreation Department hosts the annual July Fourth Celebration at Ashe County Park. Gates to the park open at noon to allow parking to begin for the event, although a shuttle is available from the Ashe County Courthouse beginning at 4 p.m.

Starting at 3 p.m., there will be inflatable rides for the kids including a giant slide, obstacle course and moon walk, according to a news release. Wristbands for the inflatable rides are $5 and are good for the whole afternoon.

During the festival, concessions will be available for purchase, including Italian ice, offered at the park’s concession stand.

Live music ushers in the fireworks show. The Grayson Highlands Band will begin with bluegrass music from 7 to 8 p.m., while Americana band The ToneBlazers will go on at 7:30 p.m. at the Russ Blevins Shelter.

Highlighting the event will be the fireworks display, provided by East Coast Pyrotechnics. Patrons are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

Although food and drinks are permitted in the park, no alcoholic beverages are allowed within the park. Dogs are also not allowed.

Ashe County Park is located at 527 Ashe Park Road in Jefferson. For more information, call (336) 982-6185, or visit www.asheocuntyparks.com.

Avery County Morrison Public Library Fourth of July Book Sale

Banner Elk Elementary School and Avery County Public Library, July 3, 4 and 6

The annual Fourth of July Book Sale to benefit the Avery County Morrison Public Library offers books as low as $1 for hardbacks and 50 cents for paperbacks. In addition to books, VHS movies, DVDs, audio CDs and audio books will be available for purchase.

The sale takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 4 at the old Banner Elk Elementary School (Shawneehaw Ave., Banner Elk) 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, July 3; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 4; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 6 at the Avery County Morrison Public Library (150 Library Road, Newland).

All money raised at the book sale goes to buy new books for the library.

For more information, call (828) 733-9393, or visit www.amyregionallibrary.org/avery.

Banner Elk Fourth

of July Parade

Main Street, July 4

On Saturday at 11 a.m., the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual Banner Elk Fourth of July Parade, which begins at Lees McRae College and travels down Main Street to Tate-Evans Park.

No registration is required for the parade. Simply dress up your car, float, bikes and more and line up at 10 a.m. at Lees McRae College.

Following the parade is the Party in the Park at Tate-Evans Park with games, food and fun presented by the Banner Elk Kiwanis Club.

All proceeds from the party go to benefit local children in need.

For more information, visit www.bannerelk.org, or call (828) 898-8395.

Beech Mountain

Annual Pig Roast

and Fireworks

Beech Mountain Resort, July 4

Now in its 47th year, the Beech Mountain Fourth of July Pig Roast has become a tradition as relevant as fireworks themselves in this High Country community.

In addition to some of the best slow-cooked barbecue Western North Carolina has to offer, the pig roast will also feature games for kids, face painting, raffles, concessions, live music, dancing and, of course, fireworks.

The Fourth of July Pig Roast is sponsored by the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce. Advance tickets are $15 for adults and $7.50 for children 7 and younger.

Tickets at the door cost $20 for adults and $10 for children 7 and younger.

Advance tickets are available at the Beech Mountain Chamber, Fred’s General Mercantile, Beech Mountain Club, Buckeye Recreation Center and online at www.beechmountainchamber.com.

Beech Mountain Resort is located at 1007 Beech Mountain Parkway. For more information, call (828) 387-9283, or email chamber@beechmtn.com.

Blowing Rock

Fourth of July

Festival and Parade

Main Street, July 4 and 5

In Blowing Rock, Independence Day Weekend is full of fun, free events for the whole family. Beginning at 9 a.m. in downtown Blowing Rock’s Memorial Park, activities continue into Sunday evening with live music.

Festivities begin on Saturday with the Adult Horse Shoe Tournament, which is open to patrons 18 years and older and has a prize of $75 for first and $50 for second place.

At the same time, the park will host other outdoor games, such as the water balloon toss, a watermelon eating contest, face painting and more.

Throughout the day, festivalgoers are welcome to participate in the climbing tower and bounce obstacle course, while enjoying live entertainment from cloggers and bands.

At 2 p.m., crowds gather for the Independence Day Parade, which will make its way down main street and feature different local groups and organizations.

Also this year at the parade, the Watauga Humane Society invites all dogs (and their humans) to march with them in the procession, where the shelter will show off some of its adoptable dogs in the process.

The shelter staff and participants will meet at Laurel Lane at 2 p.m. to gather in line-up formation before the parade.

Festivities move to the Blowing Rock Country Club (200 Country Club Drive, Blowing Rock) for the fireworks show, which begins at 9:30 p.m.

The show is open to the public.

On Sunday, events resume with a park dance at the Memorial Park Gazebo (1094 N. Main St.), featuring live bands from 4 to 9 p.m.

For more information, call (828) 295-5222.

Christmas in July

Downtown West Jefferson, July 3 and 4

Ashe County’s Christmas in July festival was started in 1987 to promote tourism and to celebrate the area’s thriving Christmas tree industry.

Today, the festival boasts more than 20 food vendors, 100-plus craft vendors, Civil War re-enactments, a farmers’ market, street performers, children’s activities and more. Rumor has it that Mr. and Mrs. Claus take a break from their busy July schedules to make an appearance.

Live music and dance, featuring local talent, takes place on the community stage all day Saturday, with a noteworthy performance from renowned guitarist and luthier Wayne Henderson at 2 p.m.

Events take place from 6 to 10 p.m. on July 3 and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on July 4. Christmas in July is a free-admission festival that takes place in historic Downtown West Jefferson (S. Jefferson Ave.).

For more information, call (336) 846-9196, or visit www.christmasinjuly.info.

Downtown Boone Fourth of July

Celebration

King Street, July 4

Boone residents and tourists alike gather at the heart of the High Country for the Fourth of July Celebration, which begins at 11 a.m. downtown with the annual July Fourth parade down King St. and ends at Clawson-Burnley Park with live music and a fireworks show.

Grand marshal for the 2015 parade is Jane Ann Hodges, who recently retired after serving as Watauga County’s elections director for 29 years, according to a town news release.

The parade starts at the Poplar Grove Extension, traveling east down King Street and ending at Appalachian State University’s Legends parking lot on Hardin Street.

During the parade, the Watauga Community Band will provide live music in front of the Jones House Community and Cultural Center (604 W. King St.), while the parade makes its way through downtown Boone.

After the parade, the town of Boone and the Downtown Boone Development Association will continue the celebration at the Jones House with free cake from Stick Boy Bread Company and watermelon on the historic building’s lawn.

Entertainment resumes at 7 p.m. at Clawson-Burnley Park (Hunting Hills Lane) with music provided by DJ Carl. The public is welcome to bring chairs and blankets to enjoy the fireworks display, which begins at 9:30 p.m.

For more information, visit www.townofboone.net, or call (828) 262-6280.

Elkland Art Center Liberty Parade

Todd, July 4

The 10th annual Elkland Art Center Liberty Parade’s theme this year is “Justice for All” and features “Winds of Change,” giant puppets representing the East and West winds, which bring new life and inspiration to all.

Those looking to participate in the parade should arrive at the corner of N.C. 194 and Railroad Grade Road in Todd at 11 a.m. to pick up props, puppets or find a float to travel with.

Live music by local blues band The King Bees takes place after the parade, where food will be available for sale. There is a $5 fee for parking.

For more information, call (336) 877-5016 or visit www.elklandartcenter.org.

Tweetsie Railroad Fireworks Extravaganza

Tweetsie Railroad, July 4

On Saturday, July 4, Tweetsie Railroad remains open late for a special fireworks show, beginning at 9:30 p.m.

Parking costs $10 per car, allowing the whole family to enjoy a fireworks extravaganza under the stars on a budget. An optional dinner with a premium view for the fireworks display takes place at the park’s Hacienda.

The buffet costs $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 3 to 12, while kids ages 2 and younger eat free.

Tweetsie Railroad is located at 300 Tweetsie Railroad Rd. in Blowing Rock. For more information, call (828) 264-9061 or visit www.tweetsie.com.

Fourth Fishing

July 4 is free fishing day in North Carolina, according to the N.C.Wildlife Resources Commission, and fishing licenses aren’t required from 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m.

“The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission stocks a variety of fish in public, inland waters across the state throughout the year to give anglers a better chance of catching fish,” a NCWRC news release reads. “Staff stocks cool mountain waters with brook, brown and rainbow trout, as well as walleye and muskellunge.”

For more information on fishing in public waters, visit www.ncwildlife.org.

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