Happy Fourth of July, Denver. There's no shortage of officially sanctioned fireworks and festivals in the Mile High City, and chances are good that your neighborhood is hosting a party of its own. To help you plan your day, we've created a rundown of the pancake breakfasts, fun runs, parades, beer gardens, bouncy castles, human hamster balls, concerts, dueling pianos and, of course, fireworks shows, that are most likely to make you say, "America, hell yeah." They're presented in chronological order, and some begin early, so start reading! You'd rather eat your way through this holiday? Head over to our list of food-and-drink-centric celebrations.
Northglenn July 4th Festival
E.B. Rains Jr. Memorial Park
July 4, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
Northglenn is hosting what may be the metro area's longest Independence Day festival, with a roster of activities that lasts from dawn until after dusk. Festivities begin with a pancake breakfast and a four-mile run, and continue with a bake sale, parade, car show and several live musical acts. Food and beer start flowing at noon, and pedal boats and bouncey houses make good stops for kids. Fireworks start around 9 p.m.
Liberty Run 4 Mile & Kids Firecracker Run
July 4, 8:30 a.m.-noon
Kick off your day with a four-mile fun run, and circle Washington Park in your festive red, white and blue. This is one of Denver's largest Fourth of July runs, and participants are welcome to register individually or in teams.
Highland Parade and Picnic
July 4, 8:30 a.m. - noon
The tenth annual Highland parade and picnic kicks off with bike-decorating at 8:30 a.m., but the main event is the parade, a procession of non-motorized vehicles, which starts rolling from 32nd Avenue and Clay Street at 9:30 a.m. Hit Hirshorn Park at 10 a.m. for food, music, games, face-painting and piñatas; Little Man is building a 200-foot ice cream sundae at 11:30 p.m.
Annual Pancake Breakfast
Fountain Pavilion in Central Park
July 4, 9 a.m.
Kick off your Independence Day with a pancake breakfast, the proceeds of which benefit the Stapleton Stingrays swim team. After you feast, hop on your festively decorated bicycle and join the parade, which loops around the neighborhood. Suggested donation for the breakfast is $5 for adults and $3 for children.
Fourth of July Family Festival & Fireworks
Belleview Park and Cornerstone Park
July 4, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Official Fourth of July activities don't get underway until 3 p.m. at Belleview and Cornerstone Parks, but there's plenty to do in the lead-up, including miniature golf, a petting zoo and batting cages. Food vendors start slinging snacks at 3 p.m., and live music starts at 7 p.m. Fireworks go off in Cornerstone Park at 9:30 p.m.
Golden July 4th Celebration
July 4, 11 a.m.
The Golden Lions Club is hosting its annual Independence Day celebration in Lions Park, where you'll find face painting, live music and food. Bands play from 12:15 p.m. until 9:15 p.m., weather-permitting, and the fireworks start at dusk.
Park Hill Annual 4th of July Parade and Kearney Street Fair
23rd Avenue and Dexter Street / 2200 Block of Kearney Street
July 4, 1:30 p.m.
Park Hill's Independence Day March includes floats, classic cars and costumed characters, which crawl along 23rd Avenue from Dexter Street to Krameria Street. After the procession, head to the 2200 block of Kearney Street, where you'll find a family-friendly street fair with music, food and activities.
Arvada Independence Day Celebration
Lutz Ballfield and Stenger Sports Complex
July 4, 4-10 p.m.
The Arvada Independence Day Celebration includes bouncy houses, human hamster balls, games and food from local vendors, plus a fireworks show commencing at dusk. KOOL105 presents a fireworks simulcast once the show begins.
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Union Station Stars and Stripes Express Fest
July 4, 4-10 p.m.
For the third year in a row, Union Station is doubling the size of Terminal Bar's patio for an Independence Day party. The festivities started yesterday; stop by today for the Paizley Park Prince Tribute Band and Phat Daddy. Admission is free; Avery will provide beer.
Dueling Pianos and Fireworks
The Square on 21st
July 4, 5-11 p.m.
Coors Field is hosting fireworks, and the best way to catch them is via the Dueling Pianos and Fireworks event at the Square on 21st. Here, you'll witness Wild Ivories on Tour duke it out while you imbibe on provisions from Great Divide and Mile High Spirits. Entrance to the event is free, but purchase your drink tokens in advance to save money.
Commerce City 4thFest and Colorado Rapids Game
Dick's Sporting Goods Park
July 4, 5 p.m.
Coors Field and Mile High will also host fireworks shows this year, following the Rockies and Outlaws games respectively. But our pick for a sporting event-related Fourth of July celebration is at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, where the Rapids will take on the Seattle Sounders. Head to the pre-match festival on Burgundy Boulevard, where you'll find obstacle courses, entertainers and a beer garden; catch the soccer game at 7 p.m.; and then stick around for the fireworks, which start at about 9:30 p.m.
Great American Picnic
Broomfield County Commons Park
July 4, 5 p.m.
Bring a picnic dinner or plan to purchase food from vendors at Broomfield's Great American Picnic, which also features a full slate of entertainment. Start with a pony ride, join the bike parade and then dance to FACE, an a capella group, and the '80s tribute band That 80s Band, before the fireworks start at 9:30 p.m.
Fourth of July at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club
Green Valley Ranch Golf Club
July 4, 6-9:30 p.m.
Live music starts at 6 p.m. at the Green Valley Ranch Golf Club, and it goes until the fireworks start at about 9:35 p.m. Supplement the concert with free face-painting and games for kids, and partake in the food and drink that will be available for purchase.