Midpeninsula's best bets for Fourth of July

Fireworks, chili cook-off and parades on tap for Independence Day celebrations

Independence Day celebrations will take place throughout the Peninsula on Saturday, July 4. Celebrate the red, white and blue at patriotic events, including family-friendly activities in Palo Alto, parades in Menlo Park and Redwood City and a firework display in Mountain View.

Here's a sampling of Fourth festivities:

Mountain View

San Francisco Symphony and Fireworks

8 p.m. at Shoreline Amphitheatre, 1 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View

The San Francisco Symphony will give its annual Fourth of July concert at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View at 8 p.m. There will be music celebrating American films, with a special tribute to "The Sound of Music" in honor of the iconic film's 50th anniversary. The evening will finish with a fireworks show. For more information and tickets, visit or call 650-967-4040.

Those wishing for a free view the fireworks from outside of the amphitheater are encouraged to bike or walk to the Shoreline area in order to avoid the annual traffic jam that follows the show. Thousands of people are expected to attend the fireworks display outside the venue.

For those wishing to ditch the the lawn, Shoreline Lake offers a floating vantage point for fireworks viewing. Reservations for pedal-boats, kayaks and rowboats are available.

Street closures include Casey Avenue, San Antonio Road north of Casey, and northbound Marine Way at Garcia Avenue, which will be closed off to traffic after 3 p.m. Alcohol is prohibited at the event, and attendees can expect a two- to three-hour delay when leaving the park after the show is over.

Palo Alto

Chili Cook Off & Summer Festival

Noon-5 p.m. at Mitchell Park, 600 E. Meadow Drive, Palo Alto

Twenty teams of chili enthusiasts will compete for the Best Chili Award at the 34th annual Chili Cook Off & Summer Festival on Saturday, July 4, at Mitchell Park, 600 E. Meadow Drive.

Returning teams in the corporate category (for teams entering as a company or organization) include EPA Can Do, which snagged the No. 1 spot at last year's cook-off, and Team Vineyard, which took third place last year. Two new competitors in the corporate division will be Sea Scout Ship Intrepid and We Put Chili to Work.

The annual family-friendly event, which starts at noon, will also feature live music from Rockin' Down The Hiway, children's activities and food. This year's festival will include a live streaming of the FIFA women's World Cup tournament, train rides for kids, and new food vendors, including food trucks and an ice cream and dessert parlor (for purchase) sponsored by Stanford Federal Credit Union.

"It's an lighthearted, fun day for all," event organizer Ali Williams said. "It's a great day for the entire family and for friends to get together to celebrate the Fourth in a spirited, fun atmosphere."

The chili tasting, which is open to the public and costs $5, begins at 1:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit

Cantor Arts Center

11 a.m.-5 p.m. at 328 Lomita Drive, Stanford

What better way to celebrate Independence Day than with a museum visit? Stanford University's Cantor Arts Center will be open on July 4 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Major exhibitions on view now include sketches by masters of Italian art including Michelangelo and Modigliani, Tiepolo and Tintoretto as well as "Imagining the Oceans," which brings together artwork across history and cultures inspired by ocean environments. The exhibit features pieces by Willem van de Velde, Charles Meryon, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Willem de Kooning and others. Admission is free. For more information, visit

Menlo Park

Fourth of July Parade and Celebration

11:45 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at Burgess Park, 701 Laurel St, Menlo Park

Menlo Park's annual Fourth of July parade and celebration includes a community parade through downtown, kid-friendly games, arts and crafts, face painting, laser tag, food and live music by Mustache Harbor. The event, which is sponsored by Facebook, kicks off at 11:45 a.m. as families with decorated bicycles, wagons and scooters parade down Santa Cruz Avenue to Burgess Park from the parking lot behind Wells Fargo on Chestnut Street at Santa Cruz Avenue. The parade is open to all, and admission is free, with a $7 wristband required for some activities at Burgess Park. Wristbands can be purchased in advance at the Arrillaga Gymnasium at 600 Alma St. For more information, visit


Woodside Junior Rodeo

8 a.m. at Mounted Patrol Grounds, 521 Kings Mountain Road

The Mounted Patrol of San Mateo County invites families to the Woodside Junior Rodeo, where young cowboys and cowgirls from around California will test their skills during events including roping, barrel racing and bull riding. The event will take place on the Mounted Patrol Grounds, at 521 Kings Mountain Road in Woodside. Gates open at 8 a.m. For more information and tickets, visit or call 650-851-8300.

Redwood City

Old-Fashioned Fourth of July

10 a.m.-4 p.m. at San Mateo County History Museum, 2200 Broadway St., Redwood City

During this San Mateo County History Museum event, children can hand-crank ice cream and make traditional Independence Day crafts, including an 1880s flag, pinwheel and model of the Liberty Bell, and adults can watch vintage films of the Peninsula from the museum's archives. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and students and free for children age 5 and under. For more information, visit

Redwood City's parade and festival

7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

Redwood City's 77th annual Fourth of July Parade and Festival will take place Saturday, July 4. A family-friendly 5K race open to runners, walkers and strollers of all ages at 7 a.m. and a pancake breakfast with the Redwood City Fire Department at 7:30 a.m. will kick off the day. Check-in for the race will be at Bradford Street between Arguello and Warren streets.

The parade starts at 10 a.m. at Marshall Street at the corner of Winslow Street and travels around historic downtown. The theme of this year's parade is "Our American Heritage, The Fabulous 50s."

The festival begins at 9 a.m. with arts and crafts, food and drinks, a battle of the bands, a car show and other activities.

A fireworks show starts at 9:30 p.m. For more information, visit

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