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Fire and Water

Fire and Water
The fireworks spectacular at Newport Dunes lights up the harbor (Courtesy of Newport Dunes)

America really knows how to throw a party. On the Fourth of July, there's live music, parades and tons of fun for kids — all culminating in a dazzling display of fireworks. But along the Southern California coast, Independence Day is celebrated with special enthusiasm.

The Old Glory Boat Parade in Newport Harbor can be seen from beaches, docks and boardwalks throughout the harbor area. More than 100 vessels decked out in red, white and blue will cruise in the procession while Sousa marches and patriotic anthems fill the air. The American Legion Yacht Club, which sponsors the event, also has a pancake breakfast and a barbecue lunch and dinner, plus live music and dancing all afternoon.


If you want to be part of Newport's holiday spectacle, decorate your bike, scooter, wagon or stroller and join the Bicycle Parade to Mariners Park, where you'll find carnival games, giant slides, bounce houses, arts, crafts and good eats. Best of all, proceeds from the event support Mariners Elementary School.

For more sophisticated Fourth of July festivities, Hornblower Cruises and Events offers two elegant Independence Day cruises. Sail the bay and enjoy a champagne brunch with live entertainment while you view the Old Glory Boat Parade. Or give the holiday evening a romantic spin with a four-course gourmet dinner and dancing against a brilliant backdrop of fireworks.


Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina hosts an Independence Day carnival of family-friendly activities with games, crafts, face painting, a Kid's Corral with a bounce house, access to the floating Water Playground at Moe B's Watersports  — even a sundae-eating contest. Top local bands will get you up and dancing, and the classic rock group America will perform its greatest hits. For the grand finale to a perfect holiday, Newport Dunes will light up the skies with a magnificent fireworks extravaganza.

Maxine Nunes for Newport Beach

Visit Newport Beach Inc. 1600 Newport Center Drive, Suite 120. Newport Beach, Calif., 92660. 800-94-COAST.