Guest Blog By Mark Stevens
Oooooh! Aaaaah! They are the two most distinguished sounds of a spectacular 4th of July fireworks display lighting the night sky. As we gear up to celebrate America’s 242nd birthday and commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, let’s put our patriotism on display and start this party off with a bang. Here’s a quick guide to the best Independence Day fireworks shows in the area.
Those wanting to get an early jump on watching the fireworks can head on over to Ball Park on Main Street in Cherry Creek on Saturday, June 30th at 10pm. Then on Tuesday, July 3rd, you can go to Borrello Park in Silver Creek for the annual display there to be held at dusk. The rain date in Silver Creek is Thursday, July 5th. Then on the big day itself, Wednesday, July 4th, you can check out a number of displays, starting with the City Pier and Memorial Park in Dunkirk, also at dusk.
Fireworks can also be seen over the night sky in Findley Lake which are set off from the North end at 10pm. The village of Lakewood also shooting off fireworks at 10pm in Hartley Park. Also at 10pm the village of Mayville lights the night sky from Lakeside Park. Last but not least, later in the week, Midway State Park in Maple Springs will play host to its annual fireworks extravaganza on Saturday, July 7th at 10:15pm.
But wait, that’s not all. There’s more! In addition to the majestic displays of vibrant color, a handful of areas around Chautauqua County are hosting a number of Independence Day related events as well. So, get your Yankee Doodle Dandy on and let’s take a trip around the region.
Let’s start in Cassadaga where the only event will actually be held on Wednesday. The village is marking the occasion with a Flares Around the Lake event starting at 9:30. People in need of flares can purchase them at the Legion post on Maple Avenue. People living in the village of Bemus Point are set to flare the lake at dusk as well.
For those looking for a little more “pop” in their celebration, should look no further than inside the gates of historic Chautauqua Institution. On Wednesday, July 4th at 8pm, the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra presents, “Independence Day Pops Celebration. The event is under the direction of Stuart Chafetz, with vocalist Capathia Jenkins. The concert will take place inside the newly renovated Amphitheater and does require a gate pass or event ticket. For more information, you can contact the Chautauqua Institution ticket office, Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm, at 716-357-6250 or log on to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The town of Cherry Creek continues its “Independence Day Celebration in Home Town Tradition” Friday, June 29th through Sunday, July 1st. Don’t forget, all three days, village-wide yard sales. Maps are available at Mendle’s Crossroads Grocery.
On Friday, June 29th, at Cherry Creek’s Main Street Ball Park, amusement rides, food vendors, games, crafters, raffle, a beer and wine tent, and chainsaw carving demonstrations will take place throughout the day. Rides will take place from 5pm to 10pm. From 5pm to 8pm, the ever-popular Cruise-in, followed by live music from Freddy and the Jets at 6pm and Just Plain Lucky at 8pm.
On Saturday, June 30th, all at Main Street Ball Park, there will be a pie-eating contest starting at 11am, the annual parade down Main Street at 1pm, amusement rides from 2pm to 10pm, a chicken bbq sponsored by the Cherry Creek Fire Department and Auxillary, a live auction at 2:30, live music from Left of Center at 4:30pm, mechanical bull rides starting at 5pm, live music by national recording artist Ricky Lee and his band at 7pm, leading up to the fantastic fireworks at 10pm.
Then on Sunday, July 1st, at 10:30am, a community worship service will be held at Ball Park Pavilion, followed by the Panther Prowl, Pine Valley alumni reunion at the Pavilion starting at 2pm.
The celebration continues in Northern Chautauqua County as well. On Tuesday, July 3rd, in the city of Dunkirk, at the City Pier and Memorial Park, live music from Wooden Ship, starting at 4:30pm, and The Floyd Concept-Pink Floyd Tribute band at 6:45pm.
The live music continues on Wednesday the 4th, with Left of Center at 2pm, Black Diamond at 4pm and finally, The Rising from 6pm to 9pm, leading up to the fireworks. Of course, there will be lots of food vendors, a large open space to sit, and a nice picturesque view of Lake Erie.
Speaking of lakes, check out what’s happening over in Findley Lake. Starting at Noon on Wednesday the 4th, the Fireman’s Chicken BBQ. Then head on over to the Waterwheel for the duck race. Then at 2pm, move on to downtown’s Lakeside park for the boat parade. Be sure to vote for your favorite decorated boat. Live music starts at 7pm, followed by flares around the lake at 9:30pm and as mentioned earlier, fireworks at 10pm.
A full day of fun is also in store for all in the village of Lakewood for the 4th of July Summerfest. The day kicks off bright and early with a Lakewood YMCA “Firecracker Run.” The 10K, 2 mile run./walk steps off at 9am from Hartley Park. Registration opens there at 7am. The entry fee is $30 the day of the race. Then at 9:30am, there are kds races on the Packard Estate lawn for those ages 2-12, and a M&T Bank money hunt at 11am, from kids ages 2-10 at the Hartley Park Playground.
The rest of the events shake out like this — from 11:30am to dusk, there will be a Kids Zone in the village. It’ll include, bounce houses, carnival games, a 20 foot slide, music, a dunk tank, caricatures, face painting, a Lakewood history museum, and antique fire truck.
At 5pm, Lakewood on Wheels, Bike, scooter, skateboard, stroller parade along Chautauqua and Terrace. Prizes for the top three best patriotic decoration or costume.
Then all along Chautauqua Avenue, from Noon to 10pm, there will be street sales. Several vendors will be on-hand offering a wide variety of food, gifts and crafts.
And finally, at Hartley Park, from Noon to 4pm, sailboat rides at the Lakewood Beach House, courtesy of the Chautauqua Lake Community Sailing Foundation. At 1pm, Lakewood Police Department K9 demonstration. At 5:30, there will be a Lakewood American Legion #1286 Patriotic Salute. Live music by Two for Flinching will take center stage from 6pm to 10pm, leading up to the fireworks extravaganza at 10pm.
Over at Midway State Park, on Route 430, hours are extended from Noon to 10pm on Saturday, July 7th for the park’s Independence Day Celebration. Rides will shut down during the day from 4:30pm to 5pm, as opposed to from 3pm to 3:30pm. At 4:30pm, during the shutdown, Midway will proudly present, Rock and Roll Pet Store show. After the park closes at 10pm, the fireworks will begin about 10:15pm.
Chautauqua County’s July 4th Celebration 2018 continues with a full slate of events in Mayville, on Wednesday the 4th. Calling all fire apparatus, antique and classic car owners! The judging of your vehicle will begin at 9am at the Chautauqua Lake School parking lot.
At 10am, the village puts it’s holiday spirit on parade, with the annual Grand Parade down Main Street. This year’s theme is “U.S.A…Bold Stripes, Bright Stars, Brave Hearts, as the reviewing stand will be located outside of the Mayville Depot. So, put on your best red, white and blue parade go’ers, and wave that flag as you line the streets of Mayville cheering on the participants.
For those taking part, parade registration begins at 8am on the courthouse lawn.
At Noon, the festivities kick off at Lakeside Park with a Chiavetta’s chicken bbq, kiddy rides, face painting, and a petting zoo, as well as, food, games and raffles. Also at Noon, live music by Total Chaos at the gazebo.
At 1pm and 3pm, “Injest” – Comedy, Variety and Stunt show featuring Nels Ross takes place at the Community Center. Also at the Center at 2pm and 4pm, the amazing magic of Mike Baron and Annie.
Live music once again fills the gazebo at 2:30pm with the sounds of Pressure Sensitive. At 6pm, the sounds of Next of Kin grace the gazebo. At 9:30pm, grand prize drawings will be announced at the Community Center. All leading up to the annual fantastic fireworks display at Lakeside Park.
So, from parades to fireworks, enjoy all this county has to offer as we celebrate our Nation’s birth and all the freedoms that come with it. Have a happy and safe 4th of July!
Plan your adventure to the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Region by requesting your FREE 2018 Chautauqua County Travel Guide. Also, check out the #TourChautauqua Calendar of Events for even more fun things to do and see while your here.
Originally from New England, Mark Stevens is a writer and journalist who lives in Jamestown, NY with his wife and three children. He enjoys travelling and spending time with family and friends.