Nevada County gears up for Fourth of July |

Nevada County gears up for Fourth of July

Tom Durkin
Special to Prospector

This photo, courtesy of Music in the Mountains, shows two unidentified boys enjoying the organization's Happy Birthday USA concert July 3, 2013. It is one of many great Fourth of July events to choose from in Nevada County this week.

Some organizations, like Music in the Mountains and the City of Colfax like to commemorate the Fourth of July on July 3.

The town of Rough and Ready gets an even earlier start with its 59th annual Secession Days celebration this weekend (see Page 16).

For traditionalists, however, the Greater Grass Valley and Nevada City chambers of commerce, and the Grass Valley Downtown Association, are presenting a classic Nevada County Independence Day celebration July 4.

It starts out in downtown Nevada County at 10 a.m. with a performance by the Nevada County Concert Band in front of the Alpha Building at the bottom of Broad Street, said Cathy Whittlesey, executive director of the Nevada City Chamber.

At the top of Broad Street, the parade starts at 11 a.m. with approximate 75 entries.

Paralympian gold medalist snowboarder Evan Strong has been named as this year's Grand Marshal. Also, the ever-popular Ophir Prison Marching Kazoo Band & Temperance Society will return to the Nevada City parade for the first time since 2008.

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Later in the afternoon, the Independence Day celebration moves to the Nevada County Fairgrounds where the gates open at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate. Children 12 and under are free, as are active military and their spouses with ID.

Both chambers are urging people to buy tickets in advance to save money. Tickets can be bought at both chambers seven days a week (see Know & Go).

Although the fireworks don't start until 9:30 p.m., there will plenty to do, promised Keith Davies, executive director of the Greater Grass Valley Chamber. There will be bounce houses for the kids, Treat Street for food, and the Loading Chute for beer and wine. (No outside alcohol is allowed; neither are glass, pets, barbecues or personal fireworks.)

Davies reported country swing band Cousin Cricket will play from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on the main stage. Then the Earles of Newtown will jazz it up with their high-energy, big band sound from 7 p.m. to 9:30 when the fireworks start.

Lasers replace fireworks in Colfax

As usual, the City of Colfax will host its annual Independence Day celebration July 3 because traditionally, a professional fireworks display is cheaper and a lot more people come to town.

This year, not for the first time, the Colfax celebration will not have fireworks. Sometimes it's been a budget problem, other times, like this year, it's because the fire danger is too high, reported Frank Klein, president of the Colfax Chamber of Commerce.

Instead, he said they'll end the all-day celebration with fire dancers and a laser light show.

The party in Colfax kicks off at noon with the Kiwanis Little Patriots Parade, Klein said. The Colfax Lions Club presents the main parade at 6 p.m.

There will be musical entertainment throughout the day and evening, a display of the No. 3 NASCAR driven by the late Dale Earnhardt, vendors of food and sundry items, and a beer garden, Klein said.

All the events are free. Call 530-346-8888 or for more information.

Happy Birthday USA!

Music in the Mountain is also getting a head start Fourth of July celebration with its July 3 "Happy Birthday USA" picnic and concert with the MIM Chorale and Orchestra at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

This year's concert will not only feature traditional patriotic music but also popular Broadway and Disney/Hollywood classics, said MIM Executive Director Cristine Kelly.

The guest conductor will be Dawn Harms, conductor of the Bay Area Rainbow Symphony, a teacher at Stanford University, and a violinist with three other orchestras.The gates open at 6:30 p.m. with the concert beginning at 8 p.m. Guests are encouraged to bring their own blankets and lawn chairs. Food and drink may be brought in, but no alcoholic beverages. Food vendors will be available and the MIM Alliance will be selling beer and wine.

There will also be special events, including a military color guard and flyover as well as a non-laser light show, Kelly confirmed Tuesday.

General admission is $20 in advance and $25 at the gate. Youth 17 and under are free. Advance tickets can be purchased at the MIM box office, 530 Searls Ave., Suite A, Nevada City or by calling 530-265-6173.

What's not happening

Both the Center for the Arts and the Miners Foundry will be dark Fourth of July weekend.

Because Nevada City's First Friday Artwalk falls on July 4, Reinette Senum, one of the organizers, said they decided to move it to the second Friday, July 11.

What's also not happening, except at the fairgrounds and certain parts of Nevada City, are fireworks. The Fire Prevention Bureaus of Nevada County Consolidated, Grass Valley and Nevada City issued the following warning:

"It is illegal to discharge any type of fireworks in the County and the City of Grass Valley. Discharging of fireworks in the City limits of Nevada City is permitted except in the following areas: Deer Creek environs, Nevada City airport area and Sugar Loaf Mountain."

They added, "Fireworks will be confiscated and citations could be issued."

Other than that, "Have a safe and fun 4th of July," the fire officials wrote.

Tom Durkin is a freelance writer and photographer in Nevada City. He can be contacted at

Know & Go

WHO: Nevada City and Greater Grass Valley chambers of commerce and Grass Valley Downtown Association

WHAT: Fourth of July concert and parade

WHERE: Broad Street, Downtown Nevada City

WHEN: 10 a.m. Friday, July 4, 10 a.m.


WHAT: Fourth of July picnic with entertainment and fireworks

WHERE: Nevada County Fairgrounds

WHEN: 3 to 11 p.m. Friday, July 4

TICKETS: $10 advance, $15 gate; children 12 and under free; military and spouse with ID also free.

Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce, 128 E. Main St., Grass Valley; Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, 132 Main St, Nevada City.


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