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Celebrate our nation’s birthday with these Midlands events

Boaters celebrate the Fourth of July at Lake Murray's annual Boat Parade. This year’s event will kick off between noon and 12:30 p.m. June 29 at Bomb Island.
Boaters celebrate the Fourth of July at Lake Murray's annual Boat Parade. This year’s event will kick off between noon and 12:30 p.m. June 29 at Bomb Island. The State

If you are looking for a way — or a few ways — to celebrate July Fourth, there’s no shortage of Independence Day patriotism in the Midlands. Here are a few options:

Lake Murray Boat Parade

It’s the boat parade’s 31st year, and the theme is Light Up Lake Murray.

The parade begins between noon and 12:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29 at Bomb Island. Once boats have fallen in line behind the lead boat, the parade will head toward the Lake Murray dam.

Have a boat and want to participate? Pick up a registration packet at the Lake Murray Country Visitor’s Center, 2184 N. Lake Drive. Registration is free and continues through Friday, June 28.

Where to watch? Try the SCE&G parks on either side of the dam, or hop on a boat along the parade route.

If you go: Around noon Saturday, June 29, between Bomb Island and the Dreher Shoals Dam on Lake Murray. Watch from the Lexington-side Beach and Recreation Area (aka Lake Murray Beach), 1832-1834 N. Lake Drive, Lexington, or from the Irmo-side boat access area, Lake Murray Dam North Recreational Area, 2101 N. Lake Drive. Fees at both parks are $2 for motorcycles, $3 for cars and trucks and $5 for passenger vans. www.lakemurraycountry.com.

Fireworks on the lake

The fireworks display will take place at dusk Saturday, June 29. Fireworks will be launched from Dreher Island State Park and Spence Island.

Viewers may tune their radios to WTCB B106.7 FM or WOMG Classic Hits 98.5 FM for music that will be synced to the fireworks extravaganza. Festivities will go on as scheduled unless lightning is present. Rescheduling would be announced on the radio broadcasts.

The best places to see the fireworks are Dreher Island State Park, by boat near the islands (remember that you need a designated boat driver), or at the parks on either side of the dam. The walking path at the dam also will be open.

You’ll want to get where you’re going early: Dreher Island will close at 8 p.m. to allow emergency vehicle access, and the SCE&G parks will be open until they reach capacity.

If you go: Around 9:15 p.m. Saturday, June 29, near Dreher Island State Park, 3677 State Park Road, Prosperity; Spence Island on the east side of the lake; the recreation areas and walking path at Dreher Shoals Dam, along North Lake Drive in Lexington and Columbia; and by boat. Admission to Dreher Island is $2 ($1.25 for seniors and free for children 15 and younger). www.lakemurraycountry.com.

Peach Festival

If you want to celebrate in a more relaxed manner, the Lexington County Peach Festival is a good option.

The one-day festival, held on July Fourth, is a family-friendly event celebrating its 61st year.

Why peaches? The Gilbert Community Club, which organizes the festival, explains: “Summer after summer in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, the community was alive with the harvesting, packing, and shipping of peaches.

“Today, while we find only a few peach farms still in operation, the peach remains (in our minds) the Queen of all Fruits and worthy of honor in our small town.”

The festival is the club’s main fundraiser, and its proceeds benefit Gilbert Community Park, scholarship funds for student volunteers, and other community civic organizations of the club’s selection.

Events include beauty pageants for different age groups, a car show (8 a.m. to 2 p.m.), the Peach Parade (9:30 a.m.) with a Bell Aviation Flyover, and a fireworks display (10 p.m.). Plus, visit arts and crafts vendors, enjoy carnival rides, and hear live music.

If you go: All day Thursday, July 4, at Gilbert Community Park, 110 Rikard Circle, Gilbert. www. lexingtoncountypeachfestival.com.

Columbia Fireflies

Enjoy spectacular fireworks and celebrate our nation’s birthday with the Fireflies.

Independence Day Celebration fireworks will immediately follow the Wednesday, July 3 game against the Greenville Drive.

If you can’t make that particular game, you can also catch fireworks at the Fireflies’ Saturday, June 29, game against the Hickory Crawdads.

If you go: 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, at Segra Park, 1640 Freed St. Tickets start at $5. www.columbiafireflies.com.

Lexington Co. Blowfish

Lexington County’s baseball team will have a two-day celebration where both games end with fireworks.

Thrusday, July 4 will feature an Independence Day Concert, $1 drinks from 6-8 p.m. and fireworks over the stadium after the game against the Savannah Bananas.

Friday, July 5 is Veterans Night, honoring former and current memebers serving in the U.S. military. There will be fireworks over the stadium after the game against the Macon Bacon.

For extra fireworks, see the games against the Savannah Bananas on Saturday, June 29, and the Florence RedWolves on Saturday, July 13.

If you go: 7:05 p.m. Thrusday, July 4, and Wednesday, July 5, at Lexington County Baseball Stadium, 474 Ball Park Road, Lexington. Tickets are $6 to $9. www.goblowfishbaseball.com.

Symphonic Salute

The Lake Murray Symphony Orchestra will celebrate Independence Day with its annual patriotic concert, the Star-Spangled Symphonic Salute, on Wednesday, July 3.

The lineup features a range of music from Broadway numbers to patriotic songs to singalongs.

Take a picnic blanket or a chair for the outdoor concert.

If you go: 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 3, at Saluda Shoals Park, 5605 Bush River Road. $5 parking fee. www.icrc.net.

Celebration of Liberty

First Baptist Church’s 32nd annual Celebration of Liberty features a cast of hundreds to celebrate America, its freedom, its founding and its future.

The expansive show will include performances by the church’s sanctuary choir and orchestra and the 282nd Army Victory Band. Longtime WIS-TV anchor Joe Pinner will be master of ceremonies.

If you go: 4 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 30, at First Baptist Church, 1306 Hampton St. Doors open one hour prior to show. Tickets are free but required; call 803-217-3250 to reserve them. www.fbccola.com.

Special to GoColumbia