It always makes the holiday that much more special when Independence Day falls on a wide-open weekend night.
Families and fun-seekers can easily pick and choose which special holiday events to attend, whether it's a large-sized festival along a waterway or a cozy neighborhood get-together.
This year, with the Fourth conveniently falling on a Friday, there's no shortage of celebrations going down around town, and many of the main events feature terrific live musical acts. Various performers, some new and others well-seasoned, are booked at clubs, restaurants and festival grounds this weekend in observance of the national holiday.
Some events, like the town-sponsored, family-friendly firework shows and picnics around the Lowcountry will be overtly patriotic and thematic. Others will be less formal.
Here is a round-up of some of the Fourth of July happenings on the calendar this year.
What: The Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is again opening up the flight deck on the aircraft carrier Yorktown to offer people a chance to see the fireworks display over the Cooper River from "one of the most unique viewing platforms in the country." "There really is no better way to enjoy the Fourth of July here in the Lowcountry," says Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette. "People couldn't wait for these tickets to go on sale." This year, two ticket options will be available. All attendees will enjoy live music by two veteran Charleston acts, versatile oldies/beach group East Coast Party Band and vintage pop-rock ensemble the Explorers Club. The $30 admission offers food and beverages available for purchase, with attendees encouraged to bring folding chairs. The $75 VIP admission includes complimentary drinks from a full service bar and access to a special area at the bow of the ship, with chairs and tables provided. Another option is watching the show from the landside of the museum, which is free. The fireworks, shot from a barge in the Cooper River, will begin after the sun sets.
When: 6 p.m. Friday, with parking and activities available starting at 4 p.m.
Where: Patriots Point, 40 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant
Price: Free-$75; parking is $10
More info: www.patriotspoint.org
What: Offering attendees a prime spot for viewing the fireworks over Charleston Harbor, the Uncle Sam Jam on the Mount Pleasant Pier will feature live music performed by Charleston-based Permanent Vacation. A well-established six-piece ensemble, its repertoire leans heavily on beach classics, old-school soul and R&B, but the band peppers the sets with a healthy variety of classic rock, modern pop, country and blues. "Our variety of well-known songs guarantee a great time at every show," says lead singer Michael Ruthsatz. "We separate ourselves from other bands through our broad range and diversity of songs." Beverages will be available for purchase on-site and made-to-order sandwiches, handspun milkshakes and snacks will be available at the Riverwatch Cafe and Gift Shop. Admission is limited and advance registration is recommended. Photo ID is required to gain entry. A registered and paid chaperone is required for ages 15 and younger.
When: Friday, gates open at 7 p.m. with music starting at 8 p.m.
Where: Mount Pleasant Pier at Memorial Waterfront Park, 71 Harry Hallman Blvd.
Price: $10, $8 for Charleston County residents; $10 on-site if available
More info: 795-4386 or www.ccprc.com
What: The city of North Charleston will again host its family-friendly Fourth of July Festival, featuring a full afternoon and evening of live music, kids games, jump castles, family activities, local cuisine and one of the largest fireworks shows in the Lowcountry. Things will get rolling with a twangy performance at 3:30 p.m. by acclaimed country-rock singer/guitarist Eddie Bush with special guest Greg Walker of the Blue Dogs, followed by award-winning party-rock band Plane Jane at 4:15 p.m. The Charleston Groove Factory will get funky at 5:45 p.m., and soul/variety group the Mighty Kicks will hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Local musician/producer "Big Hair Dave" Brisacher will conduct a laser light show at 8:50 p.m., just before the big fireworks show. Cast Iron Food Truck, Charleston Festival Foods, Dulce Truck, Fauzia's Kitchen, H'Bee's, King of Pops, Kool Katz, Lowcountry Creole Food Truck, Philly's Italian Ice, Raul's Maya Del Sol Food Truck, SC Strong, Sudlow-Just Lemonade and Tony the Peanut Man will be on-site. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets as there is no seating provided.
When: 3-9 p.m. Friday
Where: Riverfront Park, 1001 Everglades Ave., North Charleston
More info: 740-5853 or www.northcharleston.org
What: The Town of Summerville and Summerville DREAM (Downtown Restoration, Enhancement and Management) have combined forces to present this year's Red, White and Blue on the Green. Historically, the town of Summerville has hosted the Fireworks Show at Gahagan Park and Summerville DREAM has hosted Red, White and Blue on the Green at Hutchinson Square. By working together, they're promising families a "bigger and better July Fourth celebration." There will be live entertainment from local alternative rock quartet Zero to Never, food vendors, and a sizable beer garden featuring samples of specialty ales and lagers from national microbreweries, including a pilsner and a wheat beer from North Charleston's own Holy City Brewing Co. A parade, a kids zone with games and prizes, and a fireworks display will round out the event. Coolers and dogs are not permitted at the event.
When: 5:30-9:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Gahagan Park, 515 W. Boundary St., Summerville
For more info: www.Summerville.SC.US
What: The city of Goose Creek will host its 25th annual Fabulous Fourth in the Creek festival behind City Hall. The event will feature a performance by the Local Motion party band, a variety of food vendors and a children's activity area. Activities will include a climbing wall, giant slide, jump castle, inflatable obstacle course, a basketball shooting game, toss games and a patriotic temporary tattoo parlor. The event will wrap up with the grand finale fireworks display, scheduled to begin about 9:30 p.m. Due to very limited parking, festivalgoers are encouraged to arrive early and carpool. No alcohol, coolers, pets or outside fireworks, including sparklers, are permitted.
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Behind Goose Creek City Hall, 519 N. Goose Creek Blvd.
For more info: 569-4242 or goosecreekrecreation.com
What: The RiverDogs will host a special game in support of veterans, followed by an extended fireworks show. On Red Shirt Friday, attendees can wear red to support the military and save $1 off your ticket or donate that dollar to the Canines for Veterans. The RiverDogs will compete against the Rome (Ga.) Braves, with Miller Coors $3 aluminum pint being offered in the Ashley View Pub. After the game, attendees are invited to stick around for "Charleston's largest and most anticipated fireworks show of the year."
When: 6:35 p.m. July 4
Where: Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park, 360 Fishburne St.
More Info: 723-7241 or www.riverdogs.com
What: Firefly Distillery and Irvin-House Vineyards will again celebrate Independence Day with its annual Fourth of Firefly celebration. The Stono Cafe will be on-site grilling hotdogs, hamburgers and BBQ chicken, and free tastings of Firefly's new Southern Accent Liqueur flavor, Red Velvet Cake, will be offered. Kristi Starr and Gary Hewitt will be entertaining the crowd with live music.
When: Noon Friday
Where: Irvin-House Vineyards, 6775 Bears Bluff Road, Wadmalaw Island
For more info: 559-6867
What: On Friday, the annual fireworks show at Patriot's Point will offer one of the best Independence Day displays in the Lowcountry, and the Omar Shrine Temple and Harbor Breeze Restaurant are offering up "one of the best viewing parties around." Folks are invited to avoid the holiday traffic and park in their "easily accessible lot" to enjoy a prime view of the fireworks over Charleston Harbor. During the festivities, attendees will be able to purchase food from a barbecue food truck set up outside, or indulge in the traditional July Fourth fare of burgers, hot dogs and more inside. Drinks will be available for purchase at the full bar located inside the air-conditioned venue.
Where: Omar Shrine Temple and Harbor Breeze Restaurant, 176 Patriots Point St.
For more info: www.OmarShriners.org
What: The family-friendly Independence Day festival at the Sullivan's Island Fire Station and adjacent Stith Park is an annual tradition for many East Cooperites. The town alters the traffic flow late in the afternoon to help create a block-party atmosphere near the playground and station, just blocks from the main drag's bar and restaurant district. This year, the town will host an early-morning "community bike and golf cart parade" along Middle Street at 9 a.m. before setting up for the cookout, picnic and concert by the main station house. The main event starts around 5:30 p.m. Local rock/beach/variety combo Shem Creek Boogie Band, featuring Michael Beard (a member of the Sullivan's Island volunteer fire department) on lead vocals and trumpet, Herb Stokes on guitar and backing vocals and John Sullivan on bass and vocals. The band is set to perform two sets of classic rock 'n' roll, Carolina beach music, soul, country and pop between 6-9 p.m. The fireworks show will be shot from behind the fire station around 9 p.m. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs.
When: Friday, parade starts at 9 a.m. with main event starting at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Stith Park, 2050 Middle St., Sullivan's Island
For more info: www.sullivansisland-sc.com
What: The Church at Cane Bay will host this Fourth of July event on the athletic fields at Cane Bay High School with a fireworks show, inflatable waterpark, climbing wall, food trucks, vendors, a corn hole tournament and more. Dogs are allowed but must be leashed.
When: 6-10 p.m. Friday
Where: Cane Bay High School, 1624 State Road, Summerville
More Info: 259-2263 or www.independenceatcanebay.com
What: Celebrate The Red, White & Blue on the Terrace Lawn of The Sanctuary with food, festive drinks, kids' activities and games and live music from the All American Band, followed by a fireworks show. Reservations required; community style seating.
When: 5:30-9 p.m. Friday
Where: The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, 1 Sanctuary Beach Drive
Price: $24 children, $48 adults
More Info: 768-6253 or www.kiawahresort.com
What: Middleton Place will commemorate the Fourth of July with special readings of the Declaration of Independence 5 minutes before each House Museum tour, with a costumed interpreter reading a portion of the historical document that was signed by Arthur Middleton, born on the plantation on June 26, 1742. In addition to the readings, attendees will have the opportunity to meet a Revolutionary War soldier re-enactor and find out about life in the battlefield; participate in hands-on military drills from the 18th century; and more. A family activity area will be set up, where children of all ages can write with hoop.
When: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday
Where: Middleton Place, 4300 Ashley River Road
Price: Free with paid admission ($28, $15 for students, $10 for ages 6-13, free for kids 5 and under)
For more info: www.middletonplace.org
What: Sponsored by the Washington Light Infantry, a public reading of the Declaration of Independence will be given in honor of Independence Day and to celebrate its first reading in Charleston on Aug. 5, 1776. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, along with others from the Old Exchange Building and members of the Washington Light Infantry will be reading the historic document.
When: 9:30 a.m. Friday
Where: Old Exchange Building, 122 East Bay St.
More Info: 722-1807 or www.washingtonlightinfantry.org
What: The Front Beach and Pavilion areas on Ocean Boulevard (between 10th and 14th avenues) will be the Isle of Palms hot spot for this year's Fourth of July Fireworks event at the rock 'n' roll after-party at The Windjammer. The city's fireworks show will take place over the ocean near the 14th Avenue side of the facility close to 9 p.m.; it's free and open to the public. Shortly after the display, Burning Bright will hit the stage at The Windjammer, 1008 Ocean Blvd. Based out of Statesville, N.C., the four-piece band handles a variety of classic and modern rock favorites, as well as a set of melodic, guitar-driven originals from its new studio album "Beautiful Mess." "We're really excited to be playing at The Windjammer on the Fourth of July," says bassist Michael Lanigan. "The crew at the club is great to work with, and it's always a good time." Lanigan says they'll play a cool mix of '90s rock throughout the evening. "If you're a fan of Pearl Jam or the Foo Fighters, or just a fan of good, driving rock 'n' roll, it should be a great time," he adds. "As for holiday-related songs, our lead guitarist Travis Howell has been known to throw down on 'The Star Spangled Banner' from time to time."
When: Friday; fireworks start around 9 p.m., The Windjammer show starts afterward.
Where: The Front Beach and Pavilion areas on Ocean Boulevard (between 10th and 14th avenues), Isle of Palms
Price: Fireworks are free and open to the public; The Windjammer show is $10
What: With most of the fireworks shows taking place along the Lowcountry's rivers and waterways, party-minded folks on James Island might consider catching some musical sparks at popular music venue the Pour House. Charleston-based saxophonist and bandleader Mike Quinn knows how to conduct a party band through just about any occasion and is adept at playing a variety of styles, from classic funk and soul to be-bop and Latin jazz. Quinn describes his band Superfunk's event on Friday as a "super-funky, guest-filled local throwdown." The spontaneity of the musical family jam sessions will surely be on display when Quinn and his troupe hit the stage at 9:30 p.m. This show is for ages 18 and up.
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: The Pour House, 1977 Maybank Highway, James Island
Price: $5 in advance, $8 at the door
For more info: www.charlestonpourhouse.com
What: The Charleston Community Band will present "Salute to Our Heroes," with patriotic, classical and pop music in honor of Independence Day.
When: 6 p.m. Thursday
Where: Daniel Island Waterfront Park, 101 River Landing Drive
More Info: 830-3233 or www.charlestoncommunityband.com
What: Party band will play during an Independence Day celebration.
When: 6 p.m. July 4
Where: Tides Folly Beach, 1 Center St.
What: A Fourth of July-themed ice cream party will be put on by The Sanctuary with a sundae station and a special "beaches and cream" flavor.
When: 7-10 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
Where: The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, 1 Sanctuary Beach Drive
More Info: 768-6253 or www.kiawahdining.com
What: Southern Season will host a red, white and blue wine tasting in honor of Independence Day.
When: 5-8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Southern Season, 730 Coleman Blvd., Mount Pleasant
More Info: 416-1240 or www.southernseason.com/our-stores/charleston
What: A Fourth of July party with live DJs and more.
When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: King Street Grille, 2070 Sam Rittenberg Blvd., Charleston
Price: $7 general, $15 VIP
More Info: 478-0771 or www.juicyatksg.eventbrite.com
Charleston Scene editor Allison Nugent-Caruso contributed to this listing.