It’s going to be hard to choose from the plethora of events happening in Great Falls on the Fourth of July this year. To make it easier, here’s a roundup of everything we could find.
The city’s Fourth of July parade starts at 11 a.m., and the route runs from 1st Avenue South to 8th Street, then north to Central Avenue, turns west to Park Drive, and disbands in Margaret Park north of the Civic Center.
Paradegoers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and park only in areas outside the parade route. For more information about the parade, contact Lola Galloway at 406-750-4721 or Terry Bailey at 406-799-1091.
Over in Black Eagle, the annual parade starts promptly at 5 p.m. and runs from the Black Eagle Country Club and runs east on Smelter Avenue towards the Black Eagle Community Center. This year’s theme is Joe Dirt with Freedom and Fireworks.
The People's Park & Recreation Foundation sponsors the annual community fireworks display. The best viewing will be from Elk's Riverside Park on River Drive North between Central and 6th Street. The show kicks off from West Bank Park at around 10:15 pm after it gets dark. West Bank Park will be closed all day for setup. Parking is available at Gibson Park.
The People's Park & Recreation Foundation put on the annual display by collecting donations. If you’d like to contribute to the Fireworks Forever Fund, you can do so during the parade or by mailing a donation to Fireworks Forever Fund, c/o People's Park and Recreation Foundation, P.O. Box 2106, Great Falls, MT, 59403.
Other fun stuff
You can also watch fireworks from Eagle Falls Golf Course and Centene Stadium.
The Great Falls Voyagers have a 7 p.m. game with a fireworks show to follow.
The Eagle Falls Golf Course plans a free Community Celebration starting at 6 p.m. with live music, firework viewing, face painting and games, along with food and drink specials in the Taphouse. For the first time, Eagle Falls is holding the Firecracker Golf Outing, a nine-hole, two-person scramble beginning at 5 p.m. For more information, call Eagle Falls at 406-761-1078.
The third annual 4th of July Hootenanny features country rapper Colt Ford headlines with live music beginning immediately after the parade on Central Avenue between 4th and 6th Street. Admission is free, and the party includes music, dancing, food, drinks and more. Feel free to bring a folding chair and remember sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. Coolers and outside alcohol are not allowed. Alcohol must stay in designated areas. Pets and smoking are also prohibited. For details, visit facebook.com/downtownsummerjam.
Cool off after the parade at the Electric City Water Park, featuring the Power Tower Plunge, the Kersplash Rock Wall, the Riptide Slide and the Lazy River. Youngsters can play in the swimming pools or splash in the Squirt Zone. The park will be open from noon until 6 p.m.
Fireworks may not be discharged in any city park or on any public sidewalk, street, public right-of-way, public easement or alley. They should only be set off on private property such as the sidewalk leading to a residence or driveway. The discharging of fireworks within the city limits can only take place on July 2, 3 and 4 from 8 a.m. to midnight.
Children age nine and younger must have a supervising adult within 10 feet when setting off fireworks, and the city encourages everyone to clean up any fireworks debris left behind.
Great Falls Fire Rescue also wants to remind folks to practice fireworks safety.
“Our goal at Great Falls Fire Rescue is to educate residents about fire prevention and safety. Annually, fireworks start over 19,000 fires and send over 9,000 people to the Emergency Room each year,” said Great Falls Fire Marshal Mike McIntosh in a news release. “We hope that through proper education and use of fireworks, the citizens of Great Falls will not be part of these statistics. Know the rules, pay attention, and stay safe.”
Fourth of July fireworks safety tips from GFFR:
Read Directions — Read the cautionary labels and directions before discharging.
Discharge Outdoors — Always use fireworks outside in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.
Keep Fireworks away from Others — Never point or throw fireworks at another person or place any part of your body directly over a firework when lighting the fuse.
One at a Time — Light fireworks one at a time, then move back to a safe distance quickly.
Have Water Handy — Have a bucket of water or a water hose nearby to prevent a possible fire. Always remember to douse discharged fireworks with water once they have completely burned before throwing the fireworks away to prevent a trash fire.
Adult Supervision — A responsible adult should always closely supervise all fireworks activities. Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
Clean it Up — Always clean up used fireworks when finished (make sure they are doused with water!).
Prevent Injury — Fireworks should never be carried in a pocket or be shot off in metal or glass containers. Fireworks should be used on a solid, flat level surface. Never use altered fireworks. Not only are they dangerous, they can also be illegal.
Sparklers — Sparklers can burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees. Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers.
It Didn’t Light? — If a firework does not work, leave it alone. Do not try to relight it. Pour water on it.
Buying Fireworks — Purchase fireworks only from reliable outlets. Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper or packaging. This is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and could pose a danger to consumers.
Finally, GFFR urges residents to remember that not everyone loves fireworks. When you’re celebrating, make sure to be a good neighbor and be sensitive to others when choosing to discharge fireworks. Fireworks can disrupt those sleeping, scare pets and can be a trigger for veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
For more information about Fourth of July safety, contact GFFR at 406-727-8070.
This article originally appeared on Great Falls Tribune: 4th of July lineup: Where to see fireworks, parades, more in Great Falls