The Independence Day holiday is a big enough deal it takes five days to pack in all the events in some communities.
Fireworks and floats, concerts and contests are on tap as the region gets ready to celebrate the nation's 237th birthday.
CEDAR LAKE | Cedar Lake's five-day Summerfest opens Wednesday and runs through Sunday at the town complex grounds, 7408 Constitution Ave.
It includes three fireworks shows — Wednesday, Friday and Saturday — plenty of contests, a midway and beer garden, live entertainment, food vendors, a car show, parade and run, among the many offerings.
The hours are 5 to 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, 5 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, noon to 11:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is free, but a $5 donation for parking is requested.
Among Wednesday highlights are senior citizens activities for those 50 and older at 2 p.m., the midway at 5 and fireworks at 9:30 on the lakefront.
Thursday's schedule includes a parade, which leaves at 10 a.m. from Hanover Central High School and travels to the town grounds.
The midway opens at noon, and a cardboard boat race is at 12:30 p.m. at the lakefront. Live entertainment is from 2 to 11 p.m.
The midway opens at noon Friday with a sports cup stacking contest at 5, a cupcake contest at 5:30, live entertainment beginning at 6 and fireworks at the lakefront at 9:30.
The Run Around the Lake is at 8 a.m. Saturday, the midway opens at noon, kids games begin at 3, live entertainment starts at 6 and a fireworks show described as "extravagant" is at 9:30.
Sunday gets an early start with a pancake and sausage breakfast from 7 to 11:30 a.m., the car show at 11, a beanbag tournament and a talent show at 1 and live entertainment from 6 to 9.
A complete schedule is found at www.cedarlakesummerfest.com.
CROWN POINT | Thursday's parade is all about veterans with the theme Hats off to Our Heroes. There will be a float for each branch of service in the military. The parade starts at 2 p.m. and an hour before, 13 disc jockeys will line the parade route along Main Street from the Old Lake County Courthouse square to Taft Middle School.
Fireworks, sponsored by a $17,000 donation from Mike Anderson Chevrolet in Merrillville, begin at dusk at the Lake County Fairgrounds.The event is free, and there will be two entrances at Greenwood and Court streets and at Lake Street, behind the fairgrounds. The south entrance at Buck Hill Road will be closed due to construction.
EAST CHICAGO | The city will host Independence Day festivities beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday at the East Chicago Marina Boardwalk, 3301 Aldis St. Fireworks are at dusk and music is by Latin Satin Soul and DJ Joweto. Food and beverages will be available to buy; no coolers are allowed.
GRIFFITH | Griffith's Amazing American Heroes parade begins at 10 a.m. Thursday with Parade Marshal George Thiel, the retired Griffith fire marshal and World War II veteran. Entrants must check in between 8 and 8:45 a.m. at St. Mary Hildebrandt Hall parking lot, 525 N. Lafayette St.
HAMMOND | The annual naturalization ceremony will be at 5 p.m. Thursday at The Pavilion at Wolf Lake, followed by fireworks at dusk.
The Fourth of July celebration also will feature the Bill Porter Orchestra beginning at 7:30.
The PAV is at Wolf Lake Memorial Park, 2324 Calumet Ave.
HIGHLAND | Highland's holiday celebration runs Wednesday through July 7 at Main Square Park, Ridge Road at Fifth Street.
It features a parade, carnival, live entertainment and fireworks.
The celebration starts with the Twilight Parade at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The parade begins at St. James the Less Church, continues north on Kennedy Avenue finishing up at Main Square Park
A Kiddie Parade begins at 12:45 p.m. Thursday in the parking lot across from Traditions Restaurant and a fireworks show is at 9 Thursday at Homestead Park.
Carnival ride bracelets are available from 1 to 5 p.m. for $20, with a Last Blast from 6 to 10 p.m. July 7 for $15. Discount coupons for a $2 savings on wristband purchases (except Last Blast) are available throughout town.
Wednesday is Retro Night featuring Dick Diamond and the Dusters; Thursday is Variety Night featuring Together; Friday is Country Night featuring Megan Owens; July 6 is Rock/R & B Night featuring Voices; July 7 is Family Night featuring Ralph's World at 3:30 p.m. and the Relics at 7:30.
Festival hours are from 5 p.m. to midnight Wednesday; 1 p.m. to midnight Thursday; 5 p.m. to midnight Friday; 1 p.m. to midnight July 6; and 1 to 10 p.m. July 7.
HOBART | Hobart gets a jump on the holiday with the annual Brickyard Run at 7:30 a.m. Thursday at Hobart High School.
The parade, with the theme A Celebration of the Hobart Family, leaves at 10 a.m. from Mundell Field. It heads east on Third Street, north on Main Street, west on Old Ridge Road and south on Wisconsin Street, ending back at Mundell Field.
There's entertainment at 6:30 p.m. at Festival Park and the annual fireworks display at dusk at Festival Park.
LAKE STATION | Lake Station's Fourth of July parade begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Columbus Park. The parade travels down 29th Street up to Central Avenue and will cross over by the Chase Bank near Thomas A. Edison High School.
Fireworks follow at dusk at Riverview Park, 2701 Ripley St.
MERRILLVILLE | Merrillville holds its Independence Day parade at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The parade route starts at Geisen Funeral Home, 7905 Broadway, and travels north to the 67th Avenue and Broadway intersection.
The Ross Township trustee's office will host its Independence Day festival starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday at Hidden Lake Park, 6355 Broadway.
Food vendors open at 4 p.m. and a beer garden opens at 6. Ken Kinsey and the Funky Mojo Daddy's Band performs from 6:30 to 11 p.m.
A fireworks display starts around 9 p.m.
Rides for children will be available during the festival.
VFW Motorcycle Riders Association Post 1563 will hold it annual fireworks picnic for members and family of friends of the post to help support the riders. It's from 5 p.m. to midnight Wednesday at the post, 6880 Hendricks St., and offers food and drinks, entertainment with the band DreamZ, and fireworks at dusk.
MUNSTER | Munster is planning a two-day celebration of the nation’s 237th birthday.
There's entertainment, food and fireworks Wednesday at Centennial Park. Gates open at 6 p.m.
Shuttle buses will provide transportation to and from Centennial Park from remote parking areas. For those without handicapped permits, the remote parking will be set up at the Community Hospital’s south lot (south of the parking garage), West Lakes Park and Providence Bank, Munster High School and the Munster Community Pool parking lot. Handicapped parking is available at the Community Veterans Memorial with golf cart shuttles provided.
Jamrose, featuring Nicole Jamrose, will entertain from 7:30 to 9 p.m., then return after the fireworks until 11.
The live fireworks show begins at 9:30 p.m., sponsored by the Munster Civic Foundation.
Food, beer and wine will be available for purchase throughout the festivities. The beer garden has a $5 cover charge that includes one complimentary domestic drink.
All bags and coolers will be subject to search. No alcohol, firearms or fireworks will be allowed in the park.
Two parades step off Thursday.
The Independence Day Kiddie Parade begins at 10 a.m. at Foliage Lane and Oriole Drive. Kids of all ages are encouraged to decorate their bikes, Big Wheels and wagons for the parade or walk as part of the celebration. The lineup is at 9:45 a.m.
Munster’s annual Independence Day Parade starts at 2 p.m. and is sponsored by the town and the Munster Lions Club.
The parade route begins at Fisher Street and Calumet Avenue and proceeds north on Calumet Avenue to Ridge Road, then east to the reviewing stand at Munster Town Hall.
Text the word EVENT to 88877 to register to receive text messages for the fireworks and parade events.
SCHERERVILLE | Schererville's holiday celebration begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Rohrman Park, 6750 Rohrman Road.
It includes music, food concessions and a fireworks show. The fireworks program starts at dusk.
Additional parking is available at Illiana Speedway.The rain date is Friday.
WHITING | Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Wednesday in Whiting's Lakefront Park. The 119th Street park entrance closes at 9:45 p.m.
Whiting's 94th annual Fourth of July parade begins at 10 a.m. from the corner of 116th street and Indianapolis Boulevard. The parade will continue to 119th Street and end at Whiting's Lakefront Park.