Fourth of July celebration starts in Nevada City, wraps up at fairgrounds |

Fourth of July celebration starts in Nevada City, wraps up at fairgrounds

Sarah Hunter
Staff Writer
This year's parade will start in Nevada City at 11 a.m. with cars and floats decorated with the theme "Sweet Home Nevada County!"
Submitted photo to Prospector


WHAT: Fourth of July Celebration

WHEN: 3-10 p.m. today

WHERE: Nevada County Fairgrounds, McCourtney Road, Grass Valley


WHAT: Fourth of July Parade

WHEN: 11 a.m. today

WHERE: Throughout the streets of Nevada City

“Sweet Home Nevada County!” is the theme to this year’s Fourth of July celebration, honoring the rich history and patriotism in the small foothills we call home.

Before the iconic parade even begins, the Nevada County Concert Band will be performing in front of the Alpha Building on Broad Street at 10 a.m. today. The band will keep playing during the parade to keep the mood alive.

This year’s parade will be in Nevada City, starting at 11 a.m. As tradition upholds, Nevada City hosts the parade on even-numbered years, and Grass Valley holds it on odd-numbered years. This was decided in 1902, 116 years ago.

“What happens here on July Fourth is the epitome of a small-town celebration,” said Robin Davies, executive director of the Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Whether the parade is in Grass Valley or Nevada City, the focus is on three important elements of American life: families, communities, and patriotism.”

Emily Fitzpatrick, a student at Nevada Union High School, will start off the parade singing the National Anthem, followed by a traditional flyover. As the parade begins, over 70 entries of floats, horses, car, marchers and dancers will promenade down Nevada City. Parade entries are still being accepted at the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce. Interested parties may visit the office at 132 Main St., Nevada City.

Activities at the Fairgrounds

Later the same day, the Nevada County Fairgrounds will host the ever-loved celebration, complete with fireworks, food and entertainment. The gates open at 3 p.m., and musical entertainment will be at the Pine Tree Stage, starting at 4 p.m.

Many others will start at 5 p.m. at the Dance Pad, and will feature the Stamp Mill Stompers, the Tommyknocker Cloggers, Vicki Fortinit, Peter Wilson and more.

Carol Smith, the group director of the Tommyknocker Cloggers, said, “We’ve been performing for the Fourth of July celebration for over 25 years. The crowd really loves our patriotic numbers. We’re excited to be a part of it again this year.”

But what would Fourth of July be without summer food? Treat Street will be open once again. Lazy Dog ice cream, Job’s Daughters corn dogs, Gold Country Kiwanis fried shrimp and chicken, beer, wine, and the ever-famous funnel cakes will be available for purchase.

Away from Treat Street, vendors line the Gold Path as much as the marigolds. Face painting, bounce houses, and balloons are available for both kids and adults (because who doesn’t want to get a few stars painted on their face?). But if you want something that’ll last longer than a day, Sierra Jewelers, Lime Tree Designs, Cozy Celtic, Baizaar and other local craft vendors will be selling their goods and wares.

What we all wait for …

The main event, the spectacular fireworks, will begin at 9:30 p.m.

Many Grass Valley residents have fond memories of watching these sparkling beauties from their own back porch. There are instances of the whole block getting together on the lawn that has the best view.

But if the pine trees block the show, you’re encouraged to bring your blankets and chairs to the Fairgrounds and watch them up close and personal.

Unfortunately, fireworks are prohibited in Nevada County, except for professional, licensed fireworks, like the show at the Fairgrounds.

According to Cal Fire, “California has a zero-tolerance policy toward illegal fireworks.” They, along with local authorities, will be working together to ensure a safe holiday.

Starting fires isn’t the only thing to worry about. Make sure to drink a lot of water and keep applying sunscreen all day long, officials recommend.

Tickets will be available at the discounted rate until 2 p.m. today, at the Nevada City and Grass Valley Chambers, at, and at Gate 1 at the fairgrounds.

Tickets are $15 at the gate, $10 in advance. Active and retired military and spouses with Military ID’s and kids under 12 are free. The Nevada County Fairgrounds charges $5 for parking at the Fairgrounds and parking is limited.

No alcohol, glass, pets, barbecues or personal fireworks are permitted at the fairgrounds.

Sarah Hunter is a University of Nevada journalism student and intern with The Union. Contact her at

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