Where’s the 4th of July Party?

Remember in high school, when you used to drive around town on Wednesday night asking people where the party was? Well, that was embarrassing for everyone, and in the interest of you not repeating past mistakes, I found the parties for you this Wednesday, which happens to be the Fourth of July. So put earmuffs on the dog, tuck a few spare sparklers in your red, white and blue wunderpants, and go celebrate America’s birthday with gusto, green chile cheeseburgers, and a very small horse named Harley, you party animal you.

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Waterfront Blues Festival * 11am-10pm * www.waterfrontbluefest.com

Blanket ‘n beach chair, check. Sunscreen, check. Rain slicker, check. You’re ready for a day at the downtown Waterfront Blues Festival—10 hours of soulful tunes followed by a big ‘ol fireworks show. Bring a picnic but leave the booze at home (they’ll sell you some, don’t worry), come bearing two or more cans of food for the Oregon Food Bank, and be generous with your entry donation ($10 suggested) because every penny goes to the OFB. Don’t miss the Simon Tucker Group at 3:30pm—Dave “Killer Bread” Dahl will be playing guitar.

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Oaks Park * 10am-midnight * www.oakspark.com

Anything dubbed a Fireworks Spectacular is worth checking out, and Oaks Park doesn’t disappoint. Get there early to claim a first come-first serve picnic oasis, then hit the rides or take in the all-day live entertainment, and don’t wear yourself out before dusk, when the spectacular part begins.

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Mi Mero Mole * 12-7:30pm * mmmtacospdx.com

When you think 4th of July, you think of a New Mexican green chile cheeseburger and Los Angeles-style pastrami burrito, right? Well maybe you should, because “in honor of our country’s appropriation of Mexico’s food,” Mi Mero Mole is going to give you stomach fireworks (in a good way)(hopefully) with their holiday specials—a 1/3 lb beef burger slathered in housemade roasted Hatch green chile sauce and aged white cheddar, and a double-wrapped SoCal-style burrito stuffed with house-smoked pastrami, kosher dogs, beef chili, cheese and grilled onions. Nervous about staking your claim? You can reserve your burger or burrito by emailing reservations@mmmtacospdx.com. Boom!

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Red, White & Celebrate * 11am-4pm * northwillamettevintners.org

It’s always nice to have a patriotic reason to go taste yourself silly in wine country, so here you go: July 4th caps off the North Willamette Vintners’ Red, White & Celebrate, a five-day fest that encourages you to pack a picnic and sip your way through the North Willamette Valley, with each participating winery celebrating in their own unique way (Red, White & Rock=live music, Red, White & Release=barrel samples, Red, White & Sake=SakéOne tastings).

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4th of July Corbett Fun Fest * 7am-10pm * corbettfunfest.com

Corbett clearly knows how to throw a party—their 4th of July festivities start at the crack of dawn with a $6 all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, continue with a Hometown 4th Parade & Car Cruise, and then all heck breaks loose with slug races, field games, a pie-eating contest, spelling bee, talent show and auction, half-beef raffle, cupcake walk, fun fest jail, Harley the miniature horse and Killer the English Lop Rabbit, and what look to be some serious elephant ears. And that’s all before the “Fireworks with Patriotic Music at Dusk,” the metro area’s third largest fireworks display.

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St. Paul Rodeo * 10am-10pm * stpaulrodeo.com

This is St. Paul’s 77th annual 4th of July rodeo, so they’ve got it down to a science. It promises to be a “rip-roarin’, thigh slappin’ good time with plenty of laughs and eye-poppin’ action,” which sounds great but also kind of like a normal Wednesday so obviously I was interested in hearing about the food, and the rodeo doesn’t disappoint—the St. Paul Great Western BBQ Cook Off & Potato Salad Competition unites grillmasters and baby back ribs, and saladmasters and…potatoes, then permits bystanders to sample the results for $5 a plate. There’s also a 4th of July Parade at 10am, a carnival, a Wild West Art Show, the rodeo itself, and a fireworks show, if you aren’t asleep on a bed of baby back rib bones by then.

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Mill City Old-Fashioned 4th of July * 9am-10pm * www.ci.mill-city.or.us

Not far behind St. Paul in 4th of July party practice, Mill City is putting on its 56th Annual Old-Fashioned 4th of July Celebration this year, and they don’t mess around—the festivities start today with a formal Opening Ceremony involving free snacks and music by The Reckless Rockhounds, continue into the weekend with The Mutt Show dog competition and a softball tournament, and reach a crescendo on the 4th with the BBQ Competition and 5K Run (not necessarily in that order), Grand Parade at noon sharp, and the Mill City Volunteer Fire Department’s fireworks display at Kimmel Park.

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Independence Day at Fort Vancouver * 8am-10pm * 4th.fortvan.org

And, saving the biggest for last—Fort Vancouver opens its gates at 8am on Wednesday, so you can secure your front row fireworks seat on the parade ground, then relax and enjoy a full day of live music, barracks tours, black powder demonstrations, costumed interpreters, egg tosses and the wares of various food vendors, although you’re welcome to bring your own picnic. The Patriotic Parade starts at 4pm, and the massive 48th annual fireworks show takes over Pearson Air Field at 10:05pm. Note: The Fort Vancouver website clearly prohibits nunchucks at this event, so don’t even think about it.

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