Fireworks fill the sky in this 2010 file photo as the Vermont Symphony Orchestra performs Tchaikovsky s  1812 Overture  during its annual 4th of July
Fireworks fill the sky in this 2010 file photo as the Vermont Symphony Orchestra performs Tchaikovsky s 1812 Overture during its annual 4th of July concert at Grafton Ponds. (Reformer file photo)

In Brattleboro...

BRATTLEBORO GOES FOURTH: The all-volunteer "By the People: Brattleboro Goes Fourth" citizens' committee invites the public to the town's 40th annual Independence Day celebration on Thursday, July 4.

The day will begin with a 10 a.m. parade along Canal and Main streets to the town Common. Some 50 entries - including the Brattleboro American Legion and Brattleboro Union High School bands, veterans and civic and youth groups - will appear in divisions that "Honor the Past," "Celebrate the Community" and "Welcome the Future."

The march will be capped by an "Alfred Saves the World" finale featuring local personality Alfred Hughes Jr. in his annual top-secret gown surrounded by youth bearing flags and messages mirroring the 1973 parade's tribute to Brattleboro immigrants and their native countries.

After, the Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department will offer a series of public concerts, sporting events and family activities at Living Memorial Park - just off Western Avenue and Interstate 91 Exit 2, from 1:30 p.m. to the start of fireworks (by Northstar, a Vermont-owned company) at 9:30 p.m.

All programs are free thanks to citizen, civic and corporate donations, including fireworks sponsor Entergy Nuclear Vermont Yankee, parade sponsor C&S Wholesale Grocers and major supporters the Brattleboro Savings & Loan, Holstein Association USA and the Richards Group.

Parade participants must register in advance by emailing brattleborogoesfourth@gmail.com.

Also, an all-volunteer citizens' committee is working to close a $2,000 budget gap to pay for local bands, fireworks and appropriate liability insurance and security. People can mail contributions to "By the People: Brattleboro Goes Fourth," P.O. Box 1112, Brattleboro, VT 05302.

SCHEDULE

9:30 a.m., Bill Powers Memorial Firecracker 4-Miler. Run from Living Memorial Park to the Common. Registration 8-9:15 a.m. Information: 802-257-2015 of www.redcloverrovers.com.

Downtown:

10 a.m., Parade, Canal to Main Street to Common (children's bike decorating at 9 a.m. at Vermont Inn Pizza on 228 Canal St.)

Living Memorial Park:

1:30-9:30 p.m., Food and family activities.

1:30 p.m., Small Fry baseball All-Star Game.

2-3:30 p.m., Children's penny carnival with face painting and games.

3 p.m., Swim races.

5:30-7:15 p.m., The Santa Croce family band.

6:30 p.m., Children's concert with Vic and Sticks.

7:45-9:30 p.m., New England native Peter Miles and his rock/funk/blues/jazz band.

9:30 p.m., Fireworks by Northstar.

***

BIKE DECORATING: The Brattleboro Recreation and Parks Department is hosting its annual Fourth of July bike decorating. Children can bring their bikes and helmets to the Vermont Inn Pizza parking lot on Canal Street at 9 a.m.

At 10 a.m., there will be a parade. Decorations, tattoos and face painting will be provided for the participants. Children ages 5 and under must be accompanied by an adult in the parade. Parents of children over the age of 5 can meet their children at the Common at the end of the parade.

For more information or for special needs, call 802-254-5808.

In Chester...

VSO EVENT MOVED: The Vermont Symphony Orchestra will be unable to perform its TD Bank Summer Festival Tour concert at Grafton Ponds in Grafton on Wednesday, July 3, due to extremely wet conditions. The complete concert program will take place at 7:30 p.m. on the same date at the Green Mountain Union High School in Chester with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking in the cafeteria.

Tickets are $31 for adults ($36 at the door); free for children under age 18, with advance adult ticket purchase only ($12 at the door). Tickets are available at Village Square Booksellers in Bellows Falls and from Grafton Village Cheese Shops in Brattleboro and Grafton. Tickets are also available at BrattleboroTix.com.

It is urged that tickets be purchased in advance for the indoor performance, however, the discounted advance sale ticket price will be honored at the door. The school is located at 716 Vt. Route 103 south, just before the village of Chester.

In Guilford...

INDEPENDENCE WEEKEND: The Town of Guilford will hold its annual Independence Weekend Celebration on Saturday, July 6, at Broad Brook Grange.

The event will begin with a 5K race, continue with a small parade, with a marching band, and two hours of family fun, food, and music.

Registration for Guilford's 3rd annual 5K run takes place from 9 to 10 a.m., with the registration fee of $10 benefitting the Grange Building Fund. The race starts at 10 a.m. beginning at the Grange, and takes a circuit past the Town Office and School, through woodlands and up Barney Hill, through farmland, and back through historic Guilford Center to the Grange. There will be a number of prizes for runners. John Majonen will again manage this event, and may be contacted for more information at majonen@gmail.com or 802-257-4067.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be family fun, including a small parade forming at the school at 11 a.m.; the parade steps off there at 11:30 and proceeds past the Grange into Guilford Center Village.

Until 1 p.m. at the Grange, there will be local music, and the Grange, which is sponsoring this event, will have hot dogs & burgers on sale. Several Guilford organizations will add to the food offerings. The Guilford Historical Society will serve free watermelon, and Friends of Music at Guilford will be selling ice cream, baked goods, and cold drinks, along with their T-shirts and other items. Guilford Free Library will be having a book sale.

The Guilford Conservation Commission will have an exhibit on invasive plants, and other town non-profits may have booths as well. The Historical Society will have open its three historic properties in the village: the one-room brick schoolhouse, the Meeting House, and its museum in the old Town Hall, and will lead a walkabout from the Grange to those buildings for interested members of the public.

There will be free face painting and games and other fun as well.

The Grange is locate at 3940 Guilford Center Rd., 4 miles west of the newly-opened Guilford Country Store.

In Saxtons River...

FOURTH OF JULY: With a theme of "Celebrate!" Saxtons River will kick off its annual Independence Day celebration Thursday, July 4, with a 5K Firecracker road race at 8:30 a.m., followed by a parade at 9:30 a.m.

In addition to the race, sponsored by Pleasant Valley Brew Pub, the day's activities include a street fair highlighted by firemen's water polo, a hula hoop contest and music on the bandstand. Miniature golf, an egg toss, a pie contest, and a baseball game featuring a match between the Saxtons River Pirates and the Bellows Falls American Legion are also on the schedule.

Grand marshals for the parade are Michael B. Furgat and Lynda Fletcher-Furgat, representing the family that donated the land for the Saxtons River Recreation area.

Afternoon activities move to the Recreation Area and include swimming, square dancing and old-time fiddling with Andy, Laurie and Friends, and music for dancing with the band, all topped off with fireworks at dusk. There will also be popcorn and cotton candy on sale, and the Saxtons River Montessori School will be selling hamburgers and hot dogs.

This year's T-shirt is a blast from the past as a popular design by Mary Landon is reprised. T-shirts will be on sale from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 29, in front of the Village Market and at the parade.

In Wardsboro...

FOURTH OF JULY FESTIVITIES: Wardsboro will celebrate its 65th Independence Day Festival on Thursday, July 4, with an art show, street fair, and parade. Regional artists will be exhibiting a wide selection of work, including handicrafts, jewelry, pottery, glass, oils, watercolors, and photography. Admission to the show is free and runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 4 only.

Starting at 9 a.m., rain or shine, there will be a street fair all along Main Street. In addition to vendors, food and entertainment, the Friends of the Wardsboro Library booth, located across from Town Hall, will host two raffles. The super raffle is an Old Town Kayak (drawing Aug. 17), and the "July 4th Only" raffle features 30 prizes appealing to all ages (winners announced at 1 p.m.). All proceeds from the art show and raffle benefit the Friends of the Library.

The parade begins at 10 a.m. It will travel the length of Main Street, then turn around for a second pass. Winners will be announced from the steps of Town Hall on the parade's return trip.

Visitors are urged to arrive early since parking on Main Street will be prohibited during the parade. Other parking areas, including a handicapped-only lot, will be available along Route 100.

In Wilmington...

INDEPENDENCE DAY: The Annual Independence Day Party and Fireworks will be held Thursday, July 4, at Baker's Field in Wilmington, behind Twin Valley High School. The rain date will be Friday, July 5.

The Independence Day celebration starts at 6 p.m. with a party, live entertainment and vendors on the field. The evening culminates with a spectacular fireworks display at dusk, around 9 p.m.

The celebration is sponsored by Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce. For more information: 802-464-8092.

Parking in town is very limited. There will be "Park and Ride" sites at the Howe Farm on Route 100 North and on Route 9 West with free transportation provided by the DVTA MOOver buses. Buses will return riders to the parking lots following the fireworks display.