Patriotism takes center stage as the Region celebrates the nation's 243rd birthday. Fireworks, floats, concerts and contests are planned for celebrations throughout the Region.

Michigan City gets a jump on the celebration today with its annual Star Spangled Parade. The parade, a tradition since 1957, has more than 100 entries in its lineup. It starts at 11 a.m. and travels south on Franklin Street from 10th Street to Ames Field.

The Duneland Chamber of Commerce hosts the 11th annual Fireworks on the Lakefront at the Indiana Dunes State Park Monday night. Food vendors begin selling at 6 p.m. and the fireworks show will begin at 9:15 pm. Entrance to the park is $7 per car or $12 per car with an out-of-state license plate. Sponsors said to expect a high volume of traffic at the State Park and Porter Beach. Guests are also asked not to bring any fireworks to this professional fireworks show and alcohol is not permitted within Indiana Dunes State Park.

The celebrations gets in to high gear Wednesday.

By: Emily Schnipke, emily.schnipke@nwi.com, 219-548-4352