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Have a blast at East Texas Independence Day events

From Staff Reports
July 3, 2012 at 11 p.m.

East Texans today will be celebrating America's independence with cookouts, barbecues, boat parades and fireworks displays.

In Longview, the Freedom Celebration and Fireworks Festival will begin at 6 p.m. on the grounds of the Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center, 100 Grand Blvd.

Spectators can watch the show for free from the Maude Cobb parking lot and surrounding area. Access to the Longview Fairgrounds area and Longview Exhibit Building - where there will be activities including food, live music, bounce houses, face painting and a flag ceremony - is limited to sponsors of the event and active military personnel.

Simulcast music for the fireworks show will be broadcast on KYKX FM 105.7.

The event is made possible by a partnership of Longview Too AMBUCS, the city of Longview and several local sponsors.

In addition to the fireworks show, the event also will include a Fourth of July Veterans Ride parade that feature veterans, Boy Scouts and other community leaders riding on motorcycles or on AmTrykes, which are specifically designed for people with disabilities.

The parade will start at 8 p.m. at the Longview Rodeo Arena.

The fireworks festival is a professionally produced show that has received city approval.

In Jefferson, patrons will celebrate Independence Day with the 20th annual Jefferson Salutes America celebration.

"This is a very American and very family oriented and fun event for the entire family no matter what age," said Juanita Chitwood, executive director of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce. "We have children's games and things for grown-ups to enjoy."

The free-to-the-public event begins at 5 p.m. in downtown Jefferson's Otstott Park.

A homemade ice cream contest will follow the parade.

The Shreveport Municipal Concert Band will play patriotic music at the Otstott Park Gazebo.

The Fireworks Fantazmagoria will begin at about 9:30 p.m. over Jefferson's Big Cypress Bayou.

In Uncertain, residents will celebrate with fireworks at Johnson's Ranch Marina.

The free family event will begin at 6 p.m for people who want to participate in the annual boat parade.

Boats will line up at the north end of Taylor Island.

The Harrison County Boat Patrol will lead the parade along the Uncertain shoreline to the Dallas Caddo Club and back to Johnson's Ranch.

Activities based at Johnson's Ranch Marina will include the band Diddly Squat, who will play during the event.

Barbecue plates also will be available.

The fireworks exhibit will begin at dark and can be viewed from the parking lot at Johnson's Ranch Marina.

In Pittsburg, the annual Independence Day Blast begins at dusk at Pirate Stadium.

"Each year the event draws a larger crowd, as the Pittsburg firework celebration is something that is known throughout East Texas," said Clint Hardeman, community/ economic development director.

The stands at the stadium will be open for seating; however, Hardeman said the best viewing will be from the surrounding parking lots that will be open for tailgating.



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