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Top 11 Fourth of July destinations in the South Sound

Need a place to celebrate the 4th? Look no further

The area’s largest celebration on the 4th of July is in Tacoma on Ruston Way during Freedom Fair. Courtesy photo

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The 4th of July is coming upon us sooner than you think. For most of us, that's a good thing, as it means barbeques, fireworks and cheap American beer (or root beer, for the young'uns and abstainers out there). When you host the party on the 4th, however, it's a completely different story. Spending all that money on food, beer and fireworks can be a hassle, especially if your buds conveniently "forget" to pay you back. Fireworks are especially tricky, as they're certainly not cheap. Besides, do you even know if they're legal in your hometown? Luckily, many towns in the Puget Sound area have you covered in the explosives department, with free shows happening in seemingly every area in the region. In fact, some cities even have all-day gatherings, so you don't have to host (or go to) a party at all! Here's our top 10 Fourth of July events around the Puget Sound for those who like their celebrations to be more public.

1) Freedom Fest (Joint Base Lewis-McChord)

Not to be confused with its Tacoma twin, the bases' Freedom Fest is a separate affair put on by the military itself. What's more American than that? There's fireworks and food, of course, but last year, country star Frankie Ballard performed. This year, TV singing contestants from American Idol and The Voice including Tacoma's own Vicci Martinez will rock the base. See more at

2) Freedom Fair (Tacoma)

This is a big one that many of you likely already know about. Still, it would be downright un-American not to list it, as Freedom Fair is such a massive event. Vendors selling odd clothes and trinkets, wonderfully greasy food, musical performers, an air show, a car show, and, oddly enough, a pole vault competition ...what doesn't the Freedom Fair have? Oh yeah, and if you can survive the blissful chaos, there's fireworks at the end on Commencement Bay. If you like your 4th of July to be loud, insane, but never boring, Freedom Fair, right on the Ruston Waterfront, is an easy pick. See more at

3) Seafair Summer Fourth (Seattle)

Of course, if you'd rather take part in a celebration in a larger city, Seafair's Summer Fourth may be for you. Taking place in the Emerald City's iconic Gas Works Park, this one, like Freedom Fair, is a huge, block-party-style blowout, complete with potato sack races, pie-eating contests and other classic American activities. It's free, but if you want reserved seating for the fireworks show, there is an option to spend a little cash to get the perfect view, if that's something you care about. See more at

4) Town of Steilacoom

The state's oldest city also has one of the better backdrops with a community parade, street fair and fireworks overlooking the Puget Sound.  This sleepy town is a page right out of the Saturday Evening Post - it's Americana at its best.  Enjoy street food, crafts and more. See more at

5) Bellevue Family 4th

As it states right in the title, Bellevue's American celebration is a smidge more kid-friendly than the untamed insanity of the main cities' bashes. Don't confuse "kid-friendly" for "lame," though, as Family 4th still brings its A-game. Sure, it also has the same fireworks and greasy food and live music as the rest, but what sets Family 4th apart is how they present the fireworks. The Bellevue Youth Symphony Orchestra plays during the colorful explosions, and keeps performing after the big show is done. If you want a slightly classier evening, the Eastside may be for you. See more at

6) Lacey Fireworks Spectacular and Freedom Concert

Are you one of those people who thinks everyday should be like the 4th? Say no more, Lacey has you covered, as their annual celebration is actually on the 3rd. That's right, it's a pre-4th of July blowout that's essentially a duplicate of the rest, with food and fireworks and music. Except it's a day early. If you want to have double the America in your life, or if you have other, non-celebratory plans on the actual holiday, Lacey's celebration might be perfect. See more at

7) Freedom Festival (Bothell)

Yes, Bothell is a bit of a drive. So it would be understandable if you choose not to go to this one ... except there's a pancake breakfast. Yes, free pancakes will come to those who arrive early at Bothell. Honestly, if the promise of sugary breakfast food isn't enough to entice you, then we don't know what to tell you.
8) Tacoma Rainiers Game vs. Las Vegas

Yes, it counts. There's fireworks! And like Lacey, it's on the 3rd of July, so you can hit another event the next day. Besides, what's more American than baseball, hot dogs, and watching Mike Zunino learn how to hit a curveball. See more at

9) The Great Carnation 4th of July Celebration

Yes, Carnation is a real place, and yes, the tiny village east of the Sammamish Plateau has a 4th hoedown worth checking out. Like Bothell, it has a pancake feed, and like everywhere else, it has fireworks and delicious food, but this adorable little festival differentiates themselves with a three-on-three basketball tournament, so you (or your kid) can get your Shawn Kemp on, and an old-school car show, where the theme is, of course, American-made. So why not go to the small town to celebrate our country? It's what John Cougar Mellencamp would do. See more at
10) Fourth of July Splash (Kent)

Unfortunately, the city of Kent doesn't allow fireworks, so if you're in that area, Splash might be your best option to see the sky light up. Besides, it's on gorgeous Lake Meridian, and the Seattle Thunderbirds local hockey team is sponsoring a Puck and Shoot activity. Get on your swim trunks and hop on over to Kent if that piques your interest. See more at

11) Bremerton/Port Orchard Fireworks

For those in Kitsap who maybe just want a simpler 4th of July, Bremerton and Port Orchard are hosting a fireworks show on the waterfronts of both cities in the Sinclair Inlet. No fuss, no gimmicks, just big explosions in the sky. Sometimes, that's all you need. See more at

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