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It's not hard to find Fourth of July fun

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Fourth of July is coming up, and cities and towns across the state have their Independence Day festivities planned. Also, with the holiday falling on a Wednesday this year, many celebrations are starting early and/or ending late.

Here's a look at some of the happenings throughout West Virginia:

ONE-DAY CELEBRATIONS

Charleston

The capital city celebrates Independence Day with an 8 p.m. concert Tuesday by the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra at Haddad Riverfront Park. The free performance includes music from "Star Wars" as well as a big band salute, Sousa's "The Liberty Bell" and Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture." It concludes with fireworks.

Huntington

The annual Dawg Dazzle, sponsored by radio station 93.7 The Dawg, begins at 4 p.m. Saturday at Harris Riverfront Park. The event features a children's area with inflatables, professional wrestling featuring Lex Luger and a fireworks display on the Ohio River. Music begins at 5 p.m. and features The Big Buck Jamboree, Hanna Ellis, The Whipps and headliner Lee Brice.

Tickets are $5. Visit www.937thedawg.com/dazzle.

Ripley

The Jackson County Courthouse Lawn is the setting for a day of free activities beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday. On the schedule are Point Pleasant native Chase Likens, an "American Idol" semi-finalist this year, at 11 a.m.; a parade at noon; the Texaco Country Showdown at 2 p.m.; magic and balloon art by Dennis Regling at 4:30 p.m.; bluegrass band No One You Know at 6 p.m.; country rocker quartet Davisson Brothers Band with former WVU and current NFL player Owen Schmitt at 8:30 p.m. and fireworks at 10 p.m. Visit www.ripley4thofjuly.us.

North Bend State Park

The Stepping Stone Band will give a free outdoor concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the amphitheater at the park in Cairo, Ritchie County. They'll perform Top 40 hits, country and soft rock tunes. Call 304-643-2931.

Point Pleasant

Fort Randolph at Krodel Park hosts "Liberty Saturday" from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Re-enactors and demonstrations will help celebrate our country's independence. You can stand guard against British tyranny or quietly express your loyalty to the crown. There is no admission fee, but donations are accepted. Call 304-675-7933.

ONGOING EVENTS

St. Albans

The 18th annual Riverfest runs Thursday through Sunday at Roadside Park along U.S. 60. There's free music nightly plus children's games, a parade (11 a.m. Saturday), fireworks (10 p.m. Saturday), the March of Dimes' Scoop for Babies ice cream social (1-4 p.m. Sunday), kids' tractor pulls (4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday) and a car show (6 p.m. Friday across the street at Mayberry's).

Thursday's music features the Riverfest Idol semi-finals at 6:30 p.m., local rockers Gage at 8 p.m. and country singer Darryl Worley at 9 p.m. Friday it's oldies with The Esquires at 8 p.m. and The Reflections at 9 p.m. On Saturday, there's the Riverfest Idol finals at 6:30 p.m., country/rock group Her & Kings County at 8 p.m. and country singer Lyndsey Highlander at 10 p.m. Sunday closes things out with local church groups from noon to 5 p.m. and Mike Chapin as Elvis at 6 p.m.

The Spirit of West Virginia will be giving one-hour tours on the Kanawha with Capt. Dick Daugherty sharing stories of the river. Tickets are $10. The cruises run at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, 6:30 and 8 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m., 12:30, 2, 4:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday. (The final cruise is a fireworks cruise.)

The St. Albans Rotary Club will hold a rubber ducky raffle, to be drawn Saturday evening, which has a $1,000 first prize and a pair of passes to The Greenbrier Classic among other prizes. Visit www.saintalbansriverfest.com.

Alderson

Alderson will celebrate Independence Day from Friday through July 5 this year. Highlights include an Esquires concert from 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday, a gospel concert at 7 p.m. Sunday, a fireman's rodeo at 7 p.m. Friday, and two fireworks displays (10 p.m. Sunday and Wednesday).

Other music comes from Nashville Departure (country, rock, Southern rock) at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Stonestreet Band (Top 40 from the '70s to today) at 7 p.m. Wednesday. A talent contest takes place during Tuesday's concert.

Other activities include a parade Wednesday, an ice cream social Saturday, dances Monday and Tuesday evenings, a car show Wednesday, a kids' fishing derby on Friday and inflatables daily. Contests include a 5K run and bike race Saturday, whitewater canoe races and a horseshoe tournament Sunday, a cornhole tournament Monday, hotdog eating and tug-of-war contests Wednesday.

Admission to most events is free. The gospel concert is $5. Visit www.alderson4th.com.

Blennerhassett Island

On Wednesday, Blennerhassett Island's Ringing of the Bell will happen at 2 p.m. to honor the sacrifices made by men and women for our freedom. The bell rings 13 times to signify the 13 American colonies.

The island has mansion tours with costumed guides, horse-drawn carriage rides, bicycle rentals and more. Tickets for the ferry over are purchased at the Blennerhassett Museum in Parkersburg. The ferry departs on the hour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for children. Mansion tours are $4 for adults and $2 for children. Carriage rides are $5.

Before that, on Sunday, there's a Sundae Cruise at 6:30 p.m. It's a three-hour tour that includes a brief stop at the island for ice cream. Tickets are $12 and reservations are required.

Call 304-420-4800 or visit www.blennerhassettislandstatepark.com.

Hamlin

The Lincoln County Fourth of July Celebration runs Wednesday through July 7 at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds near Hamlin. Events include a car "Cruze In" at 5 p.m. Wednesday, a demolition derby at 7 p.m. July 5, truck and tractor pulls at 7:30 p.m. July 6, a truck mud run at noon Saturday and fireworks at 10 p.m. Saturday.

There's gospel music at 6 p.m. Wednesday with Road Less Traveled, Change of Heart and Gospel Tide and bluegrass music with Weekend Grass and Jim & Valerie Gabehart at 7 p.m. Saturday. Also performing are the Pour House Crew at 8 p.m. July 5 and the LC Band at 7:30 p.m. July 6.

Carnival passes are $15 from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through July 7 and $18 from 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday and July 7 and 6 to 11 p.m. July 5-6. Admission to the demolition derby, truck and tractor pulls and mud run is $8; for information on how to participate in those events, call Jack at 304-549-7301.

Visit  www.lcfairsandfestivals.com/july4thcelebration.htm.

Gassaway

The annual Gassaway Days celebration runs July 5-7 at Kenton Meadows Field. There's plenty of live music, including headlining concerts by Wood County country/Southern rock outfit South of the River July 5-6 and Clarksburg rockabilly quartet Ryan Cain and the Ables July 7. There are also carnival rides, a car show, parade, kids' games and races, a tractor and lawn mower pull and fireworks.

Visit www.facebook.com/gassaway.days.

Reach Amy Robinson at flipside@wvgazette.com.


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