Fourth of July celebrations planned around peninsula
With the Fourth of July coming on Monday and good weather predicted all weekend, it’s looking like a good time to get out and celebrate.
Fourth of July is usually one of the bigger holidays around the Kenai Peninsula, with some of the year’s longest days and typically great weather to celebrate. In Kenai, the annual parade and festivities are scheduled to kick off on Monday at 11 a.m. The parade will follow its regular route along Bidarka and Main Streets and down the Kenai Spur Highway, according to Brett Perry with the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center.
“It’s looking like we’re going to have a nice event,” he said. “We have 49 entrants so far—actually, a few others have trickled in recently, so it’s actually in the 50s now. We have 25 vendors so far as well. It’s looking good, and we just need people to show up, so I encourage everybody to come.”
After the parade, there will be vendor booths and a children’s carnival on the Kenai Green Strip, which runs alongside the ball fields on Main Street. Perry said the Kenai Fire Department will be there with some water activities for kids to help with the midsummer heat. There will also be live music in the afternoon.
“There’s going to be vendor booths, food trucks,” Perry said. “There will be a beer garden as well, a kids’ carnival, and the fire department will be out there with their fire trucks with some types of water games that will be fun for kids.”
Kenai is the main hub for Fourth of July festivities on the central peninsula. Headed south, Seldovia is planning to host its Independence Day Celebration, which takes over most of the small town for the day. Early risers can expect a blueberry pancake breakfast and an open parade, games, a rubber ducky race, a 5K race, live music and vendors. Homer is also planning to host its annual Fourth of July Parade in the evening, with the parade starting down Pioneer Avenue at 6 p.m.
Halfway between Soldotna and Homer, Ninilchik is jumping into the Fourth of July events with horse races and a rodeo. On Saturday and Sunday, there will be beach horse races at noon on the Ninilchik Beach, followed by a rodeo at 6 p.m. that night and again at 2 p.m. Sunday. Both the rodeos are scheduled to take place at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds.
On the eastern peninsula, Seward is back to hosting its annual Fourth of July festival and the Mount Marathon Race on the holiday this year, after moving the race to a different date to thin crowds due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The festivities started today with some booths opening in downtown Seward, but the main bulk of the events start tomorrow at 10 a.m., with events like a strength tester, three-legged race, and a disco roller skate. Sunday continues the games and vendors, with a boat parade scheduled for 11 p.m. in the harbor and a fireworks display scheduled for midnight.
The Mount Marathon races take place Monday starting at 9 a.m. for the juniors, 11 a.m. for the men’s, and 2 p.m. for the women’s, with the Fourth of July Parade between at 1 p.m.
Wherever you find yourself celebrating, the Alaska Division of Forestry and the Alaska Department of Public Safety want to remind everyone that the fire danger is extremely high across the Kenai Peninsula due to the hot weather and lack of rain so far. Fireworks are banned everywhere from the peninsula up to Fairbanks, according to an announcement from the state. Gorilla Fireworks in Houston, the only legal place in Southcentral Alaska to buy fireworks, announced on its social media that it will remain closed throughout the weekend due to the high fire risk.
Reach Elizabeth Earl at email@example.com.