From fireworks to fun runs, 10 places to celebrate America on July 4

Cordova July4
Photo courtesy of Cordova Community Council
Rancho Cordova's two-day 4th of July Celebration is among the region's Independence Day highlights.

Oh, say can you see: It’s that time again to don your red, white and blue and get outside to celebrate Independence Day. From pancake breakfasts to chili cook-offs to bicycle parades to the all-important fireworks finales, here are 10 regional events to help you and yours celebrate America’s birthday.

Cal Expo
July 4 For the 15th year running, Sacramento County and the City of Sacramento team up to put on the region’s biggest, baddest display of glittering pyrotechnics. Grown-ups can get down to the country grooves of the Chris Gardner Band, while this year’s new kids’ festival area offer face painting, bounce houses and other amenities for the little ones. SoCal-based Pyro Spectaculars—which has created fireworks shows for the likes of Disneyland, Disney World and the 2004 Summer Olympics—will light up the skies at 9:30 p.m. Free ($10 for reserved seats; advance purchase recommended). $10 for parking. 4:30-10 p.m. Cal Expo. 1600 Exposition Blvd. 263-3247.

July 4 This yearly extravaganza begins bright and early at 7 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at the Carmichael Park Clubhouse, followed at 10:30 by the brightly colored floats, vintage cars, military veterans, law enforcement officers and other honored passersby during the 56th annual Carmichael Elks Club parade. Continue the family-friendly festivities at the nearby La Sierra Community Center, where a puppet theater and inflatables will be set up for the kids and regional food trucks like Ciao Chow and Papa Dale’s will provide the cuisine. The day concludes with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Free. 7 a.m.-10 p.m. Locations vary. 485-5322.

July 4 Davis’ holiday happenings include an all-day softball tournament, a Kiwanis Kiddie Parade through downtown (where kids can bring their patriotically decorated bikes, wagons and scooters for all to see), the 38th annual Fourth of July Criterium bike race, and a gathering at Community Park with games, concessions benefiting local nonprofits and live music from Woodland-based folk group The Bottom Dwellers, feel-good pop band Sunmonks and gypsy rockers Diego’s Umbrella. Sparks fly at 9:35 p.m. Free. 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Locations vary. 530-757-5626.

El Dorado Hills
July 3 This gateway to the foothills gets an early start on Independence Day weekend with its fifth annual Fireworks Jubilee. After the El Dorado Hills Fire Department’s annual parade, fill up at the Badge-to-Badge chili cook-off ($10 to taste) between officers and firefighters from local sheriff, CHP, El Dorado Hills Fire and Folsom Police departments. Listen to the Gary Mendoza Band sing the blues, local cover band Apple Z lay down classic and modern favorites, and Foreverland, a 14-piece tribute band to Michael Jackson, perform the King of Pop’s greatest hits. The glittering firework finale by Pyro Spectaculars begins at 9:40 p.m. Free ($5-$10 for kids' zone). 6-11:30 p.m. El Dorado Hills Town Center. 4364 Town Center Blvd. 933-6699.

Elk Grove
July 4 The 18th annual Salute to the Red, White & Blue offers events all over town, starting at 8 a.m. with a Stars and Strips pancake and bacon breakfast ($5; $1 for ages 2 and younger) at the Elk Grove Park Pavilion. Motorheads will want to visit Strauss Island for the Chamber of Commerce’s Rod, Custom and Motorcycle Show featuring muscle cars, street rods and bikes, while the finale at Elk Grove Regional Park promises food and drinks from local vendors like Mo Betta Finger Foods and Costa’s Finest Kettlecorn. Performances from local groups like Alternative Country rockers Rachel Steele & Road 88 and soul/funk band Joy and Madness pump up the crowd before the glowing sky-tacular blasts off at 9:30 p.m. Free ($10 for parking). 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Locations vary. 691-2489.

The Folsom Pro Rodeo runs Thursday through Saturday, concluding with fireworks every night. (Photo courtesy of Folsom Pro Rodeo)

July 3-5 Nothing says America like a three-day rodeo full of horses, hijinks and harrowing stunts culminating in nightly pyrotechnics. The 54th annual Folsom Pro Rodeo commences July 3, with a longhorn cattle drive through Historic Folsom, followed the next day by displays of some of the region’s best bull riding, barrel racing, roping events, “mutton busting” (where 4- to 6-year-olds cling to sprinting sheep as they race out of the bull pen), an equestrian team performance and motocross bike stunts. Every night, before the dazzling fireworks displays begin at 9:30 p.m., watch the American flag descend from the heavens courtesy of a patriotic parachutist. $19.50-$39; $15 for kids under 10. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Dan Russell Rodeo Arena. 200 Stafford St. Folsom. 985-2698.

July 4 Bring a picnic dinner, meander through a massive hay maze and take part in kid-friendly games, contests and crafts at the Annual Family Blast at the El Dorado Fairgrounds. The all-evening affair will also include two inflatable bounce features for the young ones ($5 for an unlimited wristband), live music and concludes with a sparkling fireworks show (9:30 p.m.). Plus, families can satisfy their need for speed with a series of high-octane auto races at the fairgrounds’ Placerville Speedway. $3 (free for ages 6 and under). $5 for parking. $12-$20 for auto races. Starts at 4 p.m. El Dorado Fairgrounds. 100 Placerville Dr. 530-621-5860.

Rancho Cordova
July 3 & 4 The two-day Rancho Cordova 4th of July celebration promises carnival standards (from funnel cakes to a Ferris wheel), BMX bike stunt shows (where the city is giving away 500 free bike helmets to kids), the ever-popular “Bobble Lagoon” (where youngsters hop inside a human-sized hamster ball and roll in a pool), a beer garden and live music from groups like tribute band Journey Unauthorized and San Francisco-based party band Night Fever. See a heavenly host of pyrotechnics on both nights starting at 9:30 p.m. and stick around for a post-fireworks outdoor movie—Captain America: The First Avenger on Thursday and Independence Day on Friday. $2 ($10 for parking). Thurs. 4-11 p.m. Fri. 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Hagan Community Park. 2197 Chase Dr. 273-5704.

July 4 Before the Roseville revelry begins, help the city’s Police Department “Run Crime out of Roseville” with a 5K fun run and walk at 7:45 a.m. at Royer Park. The city’s annual parade follows with a procession of classic cars, dune buggies, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops and an appearance by Miss Roseville. Head back to Royer Park at 10 a.m. for carnival games, patriotic tunes provided by the Capitol Pops Concert Band and local food vendors like Kazoku Teriyaki and Dave’s Dawgs. The Placer County Fairgrounds hosts the city fireworks—see the blaze of color illuminate the night sky at 9:30 p.m. Free. $5 for fairgrounds parking. Times and locations vary. 774-5200.

West Sacramento
July 3 & 4 Get an early jump of the holiday when the River Cats take on the Fresno Grizzlies at Raley Field on Thursday, July 3, preceded by a barbecue dinner and followed by fireworks after the final out. On Friday, the second annual Fourth on the Field event lets families relax on the diamond, where Nunchuck Taylor will provide lively party music starting at 6 p.m. and event-goers can munch on food truck fare from the likes of Wicked ’Wich and Mama Kim On the Go. Kids can have their faces painted and climb on inflatables, while grown-ups 21 and over can head up to the second-deck Solon Club for a full bar, food from Broderick Roadhouse, games and music. Down on the field, River Cats’ Mike on the Mic will challenge folks to classic games like a potato sack race and a hot-dog-eating contest for fun prizes before a fireworks finale at 9:30 p.m. July 3: $37.85-$42.35 for dinner & game. Gates open at 5 p.m. July 4: $10 ($5 for ages 12 and under; $15 for Solon Club). 6-10 p.m. Raley Field. 400 Ballpark Dr. 376-4676.