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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.