NOTE: Patriotism at the Post scheduled for July 2 in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., has been canceled due to weather.
With pandemic rates drifting down and Fourth of July events trending up, the pursuit of happiness — a right enshrined in the Declaration of Independence — should be a little easier this summer.
That's assuming you can find joy in barbecue, music and fireworks.
And if you can't, you must not be from around here.
Although not everything is on the calendar this year, there are still plenty of directions to head for parties and/or pyrotechnics. Scroll down for a complete list of events.
Chattanooga has two new offerings for the holiday weekend. Four venues in Ringgold, Georgia, have events on the schedule, and Rainsville, Alabama, is so primed to party, they will celebrate Saturday, June 26.
"We always have ours the Saturday before the Fourth because we don't want to interfere with anything else going on," said Rainsville City Clerk Kelly Frazier.
Because July 4 falls on a Sunday this year, officials planned the city's celebration a week out so as not to conflict with residents' backyard blowouts and big events in neighboring communities over the holiday weekend.
At least three fireworks displays in Hamilton County have been canceled — two as the result of a nationwide shortage of consumer-grade fireworks. In Bradley County, Howard Thompson, owner of Howard's Fireworks, said keeping his customers supplied with pyrotechnics will mean his inventory will be too low to present his annual show at the business on Waterlevel Highway.
"I hate it worse than anything," he said. "Last year was our 30th anniversary. We've never missed a year 'til now."
Thompson said he usually detonates about $15,000 worth of fireworks in the 55-minute show, but he doesn't expect to have $15,000 worth of inventory left this year with the current shortages.
Two of the shows in Hamilton County — in the city of Lakesite and at Camp Columbus in Hixson — also shoot large quantities of consumer-grade fireworks.
"It wasn't just firecrackers and sparklers. It lit up the sky," City Recorder/Clerk Jodi LaCroix said of the Lakesite show.
"We buy enough to make it worth people's while to come out," said Mayor David Howell. "[The supplier] said we could do smaller stuff, but not like we've done in the past, so we decided it might be better to cancel or postpone."
Middle Valley Fireworks, a community group of fireworks enthusiasts who partner with the Knights of Columbus for the Camp Columbus show, reached a similar conclusion.
"Due to the backups at many of the U.S. ports, our supplier has been unable to acquire any substantial quantities of fireworks," the pyrotechnicians said in a Facebook post. "We normally spend around $7,500 on fireworks. If we were to buy the same quantity from another supplier, our cost would go upwards of $12,000 to $13,000, which is more than our entire budget."
In Signal Mountain, the Lions Club took a pass on booking their professionally run Fourth of July show six months out, when the coronavirus was raging, rather than try to predict what safety restrictions might be in place this summer.
"With the COVID situation [at the time], the club sort of waffled back and forth and finally decided maybe next year," said acting president Win Cooke. "We just did not know, but that means more money in the coffers for next year."
The club's popular barbecue and other events at Althaus Park will still go on as planned on Monday, July 5.
Chattanooga's Pops on the River, featuring the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, was also called off this year.
"At the point [early in the year] where we begin to plan and organize and think about Pops, all of the indicators were that large events would not be a good thing for the summer," said James McKissic, president of ArtsBuild, the nonprofit organization that coordinates arts funding in Chattanooga.
"But we've already put the date down for next year," he added. "We're ready to bring back a huge Pops for the community in 2022."
Revelers may still gather at Coolidge Park for the Chattanooga Theatre Centre's Star-Spangled Picnic & Fundraiser on Saturday, July 3. The event includes a barbecue picnic and music by a jazz orchestra, though no fireworks.
The Chattanooga Lookouts have scheduled fireworks every Friday night this season, but are on the road in Birmingham over the holiday weekend. The next chance to catch the post-game fireworks is July 9.
You won't have to wait that long for other patriotic and pyrotechnics parties. Here's a look around the region.
FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS
* Athens, Tenn.: The Buddy Liner Fireworks Show will be shot at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, July 4, from Athens Regional Park, 2405 Decatur Pike. Like last year, this will be a high-intensity, high-altitude show that will require the park to be closed to the general public, due to the fall zones required for the super-size shells. The show will be visible from anywhere in the vicinity of the park. Spectators are asked to be considerate of private property when choosing a viewing location. Choreographed music can be heard on WSJQ 101.7 FM and WLAR 1450 AM and 95.1 FM. This will be a fireworks-only celebration.
* Chattanooga's Creative Discovery Museum, 321 Chestnut St., will help kids celebrate America's birthday with its annual Red, White and Blue Day, scheduled noon-4 p.m. Sunday, July 4. Guests will participate in several patriotic-themed crafts and activities, such as the chance to sign a Declaration of Independence. The popular 21-Diet Coke geyser salute at 3 p.m. will kick off a party on the plaza that includes a "Happy Birthday America" cake and ice cream. Timed tickets are required for entry; purchase at cdmfun.org/tickets. Active-duty military members and veterans will receive free admission for up to four guests with presentation of a military ID. To reserve free tickets, call 423-648-6052.
* Chattanooga's Fun on the 4th: This new community celebration, produced by Chattanooga Presents with a grant from Chattanooga Tourism Company and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, will be 5-10 p.m. Sunday, July 4, in Miller Park and Miller Plaza, at Market Street and M.L. King Boulevard. It will feature live music on two stages, art vendors, a vintage market, vintage cars, food trucks and a brief laser show. The musical lineup features Soldiers of the Most High at 5 p.m., Neshawn Bynum at 5:45 p.m., Dalton and the Boys at 6:30 p.m., Love Peace & Happiness at 7:30 p.m. and Sail On, a Beach Boys tribute band, at 8:30 p.m. The 10-minute laser show will start at 9:50 p.m. Free admission.
* Chattanooga's Music & Movie on the Green: Scheduled Saturday, July 3, this new event features live music from Nubreed and a showing of "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" on the Chattanooga Green at Ross's Landing, 201 Riverfront Parkway.
* Chattanooga Theatre Centre, 400 River St., will throw an outdoor Star Spangled Picnic & Fundraiser on Saturday, July 3. Sugar's Ribs will provide the barbecue and the Premiere Jazz Orchestra the evening's entertainment. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6 p.m. Bring blankets and lawn chairs for seating. Cost is $50 ($10 for ages 12 and under). Reservations are by phone only, 423-267-8534.
* Cleveland, Tenn.: Bradley Square Mall, 200 Paul Huff Parkway, will be the hub for a professional fireworks display presented by Mount Olive Ministries at 9:15 p.m. Sunday, July 4. The launch site is the high ground of Perry Stone Ministries offices nearby. Organizers say the best place for viewing will be east of the mall, away from the Bradley Place building. Synchronized music will be broadcast on Mix 104.1.
* Cleveland, Tenn.: Howard's Fireworks, 2699 Waterlevel Highway SE (Highway 64), expects they will not have a fireworks show this year.
* Collegedale: The Freedom Celebration is Thursday, July 1, at the Commons, 4950 Swinyar Drive. A free concert by the East Tennessee Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. features three Americana-themed sets: classic movie themes, Broadway showtunes and traditional patriotic tunes. Bring blankets and lawn chairs for seating. Food trucks will be on site. Fireworks at 9:45 p.m. $5 on-site parking.
* Copper Basin: The border towns of Copperhill, Tennessee, and McCaysville, Georgia, will celebrate the Fourth on Saturday, July 3, with a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m.
* Dalton, Ga.: The Dalton Parks and Recreation Department plans a full day of activities on Sunday, July 4, starting at noon when the pool and splash pad open and culminating in fireworks at 9:45 p.m. at Heritage Point Park, 1275 Cross Plains Trail. In between are children's pageants, an old-timers softball game, adult softball tournament, corn hole competition, disc golf tournament, eating contests (Krystals, doughnut holes and doughnuts), wrestling matches and music.
* Dunlap, Tenn.: The patriotic parade on Rankin Avenue through downtown Dunlap starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 3, and is immediately followed (around 10:30 a.m.) by the Fourth of July Music Festival at Harris Park, 69 Church St. Musicians will perform all day, capped off at 7:30 p.m. by country star Mark Wills ("Jacob's Ladder," "Wish You Were Here"), whose show leads into the fireworks display (all times Central). Free admission; games and concessions available around the Sequatchie County Courthouse.
* Etowah, Tenn.: The Fourth of July festivities will take place Saturday, July 3, at L&N Depot, 727 Tennessee Ave. Starting the day are the Boy Scout breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and the Independence Road Race at 8 p.m. A beauty pageant, family games and music on two stages are scheduled during the day, with the Dexter Thomas Band performing at 8 p.m. Fireworks start at 9:45 p.m. Free admission.
* Fort Payne, Ala.: Boys in the Band, an Alabama tribute band, will headline the Independence Day celebration on Thursday, July 1, at the Fort Payne Sports Complex, 101 45th St. NE. The fun starts at 5 p.m. CDT, with fireworks at dark.
* Graysville, Tenn.: Freedom Fest is Saturday, July 3, at Kristopher's Kingdom, 475 Blacktrack Road. This scaled-back celebration will open at 5 p.m. with Graysville Fire Department apparatus on display and appearances by the mascot, Sparky. The Michael Seabolt Band will take the stage at 6 p.m. Fireworks start at 10 p.m. Proceeds from concession sales and an auction benefit the fire department. Free admission.
* Guild, Tenn.: Hales Bar Marina & Resort, 1265 Hales Bar Road, will shoot fireworks over the water at 9 p.m. CDT Sunday, July 4.
* Henagar, Ala.: The annual Sand Mountain Potato Festival, which celebrates the city's agricultural history and the nation's independence, starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 3, at Henagar City Park, 18294 Highway 75. The day includes live music, arts and crafts, games and a fireworks display at 9 p.m. (all times Central).
* Hixson: No events this year at Camp Columbus.
* Jasper, Tenn.: Jasper's Big Boom features events over two days. Friday, July 2, includes a 5K Glow Run and a kickball tournament. The main event on Saturday, July 3, at City Park, 700 Phillips Ave., includes the Red, White & Q backyard barbecue competition, live music, carnival (4-7 p.m.), face painting (3-7 p.m.), inflatables, food, arts and crafts vendors, and fireworks at 9 p.m. CDT. Free admission.
* LaFayette, Ga.: The Freedom Festival starts at 6 p.m. Friday, July 2, at the Ross Abney Complex, 101 First St. (the old high school football field, a new location). The evening includes musicians, vendors, corn hole, inflatables and field games for kids. Fireworks start at 10 p.m. Free admission.
* Lakesite: Residents will gather for their annual Fourth of July barbecue at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 4, at City Park, 2250 Blue Ridge Drive. The city will provide barbecue and drinks. Residents supply the sides. The pool and playground will be open, but no fireworks this year.
* Monteagle, Tenn.: "Honoring the Red, White & Blue" festivities are scheduled Saturday, July 3, starting with a parade at 10 a.m. starting at the VFW, followed by a cruise-in and live music at The Local Bar & Grill 2 at 11 a.m. Fireworks start at 9 p.m. (all times Central).
* Pikeville, Tenn.: The Star-Spangled Celebration, featuring live music and food vendors, is Saturday, July 3, at the Pikeville Farmers Market, 3150 Main St. Free admission. Fireworks at dark.
* Rainsville, Ala.: Celebrate Freedom Fest on Saturday, June 26, with arts and crafts vendors, musical entertainment and a car, truck and motorcycle show scheduled to start at 1 p.m. at the Field of Dreams Sports Complex, 100 Rodeo Lane. Kids activities, including inflatables, a climbing wall and mechanical bull, will open at 2 p.m. Alabama native John Stone, a fixture on Nashville's Broadway music scene, will be in concert at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks will cap off the day at 9 p.m. (all times Central).
* Ringgold, Ga.: The Barn on Beaumont, 94 N. Beaumont Road, will host an Independence Day Bash, with music by The Hasbeens, 6-10 p.m. Sunday, July 4. Bring your own seating. Concessions will be available. Fireworks at dark.
* Ringgold, Ga.: Boyd's Speedway, 1481 Scruggs Road, hosts the inaugural Stars and Stripes 40 Showdown at 7 p.m. Friday, July 2. Multiple races have a $38,000 total purse. Pit gates open at 3 p.m., grandstands at 4:30 p.m. Track admission is $15-$45 (free for kids 5 and younger); pit tickets cost extra. Fireworks follow the races.
* Ringgold, Ga.: Catoosa County's Fireworks Fest is 4-10 p.m. Saturday, July 3, at the Northwest Georgia Amphitheater, 220 Catoosa Circle. The free event will feature live music, children's activities, inflatables, a car show, craft show and food vendors. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m.
* Ringgold, Ga.: Willow Tree Farms, 609 Post Oak Road, will host a Battle of the Bands and Fourth of July Bash, with fireworks, 5-10 p.m. Saturday, July 3. The bands in contention are the Kevin Long Band, Rushing Wind, Daizy Skies, Petty Cache and Sinkhole. Folding chairs will be permitted, but no coolers. Concessions will include beer. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 (cash only) at the gate, free for kids under 5. Proceeds benefit the Sexual Assault Center.
* Rossville, Ga.: Lake Winnepesaukah, 1730 Lakeview Drive, will have fireworks at 10 p.m. Saturday, July 3. The rides will be open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. that day; SoakYa water park 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Cost to enter is $36.95 (discounts for youngest and oldest visitors).
* Sewanee, Tenn.: The annual 4th of July Celebration features two days of events. Highlights Saturday, July 3, include the Splish Splash Bash with kids games and a water slide at 5:30 p.m. and a street dance with music by Men of Soul 7-10 p.m. On Sunday, July 4, an arts and crafts fair starts at 9 a.m., and a parade on University Avenue starts at 2 p.m. (all times Central). In between are a dog show, a cake decorating contest and several music performances. Airplane rides and an air show will follow the parade, weather permitting. Fireworks start at dark; a $1 donation is requested.
* Scottsboro, Ala.: The Jackson County Jubilee is 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, July 3, at 316 S. Broad St. A project of Scottsboro Trade Days and Downtown Scottsboro, the event focuses on July Trade Day, a monthly showcase of homemade and homegrown goods. An Independence Day Parade, with high school and community musicians, is scheduled at 11 a.m. around the square (all times Central).
* Scottsboro, Ala.: Goose Pond Colony, 417 Ed Hembree Drive, will host a 4th of July on the Tennessee River celebration at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 4, with a concert by the Jess Goggans Band and fireworks following at 9 p.m. (all times Central). Free admission.
* Signal Mountain: Independence Day events led by the Signal Mountain Lions Club will take place Monday, July 5, at Althaus Park, 809 James Blvd. After drive-thru-only service last year, the Lions will provide barbecue meals for sit-down dining between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (or until they sell out). Bulk sales of pork, beans and slaw also will be available. Other concessions include hamburgers, hot dogs and funnel cakes. The Signal Mountain Middle/High School Leos organization will offer desserts in a bake sale. A neighborhood patriotic parade will start the day at 9 a.m. There will be no fireworks this year.
* Soddy-Daisy: This Independence Day festival, which opens with a Firecracker Rod Run at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 3, will have crafts, kids games and food vendors set up all day at Soddy-Daisy Kids Club, 150 Depot St., near Soddy Lake. The car show ends with a trophy presentation at 1 p.m. The bands Barefoot Nellie & Company will perform at noon, Roberts & Sims at 3 p.m. and Tyson Leamon at 7 p.m. Chainsaw woodcarvers will offer demonstrations for three days starting Thursday, July 1, and will have a silent auction before the fireworks Saturday night.
* South Pittsburg, Tenn.: Starting at 6 p.m., residents can gather at the Tower Community Stage off Cedar Avenue for hot dogs, chips and drinks provided by the city. Yard games and other activities will be set up for family fun. Fireworks will start around 9:15 p.m. (all times Central).
* Spring City, Tenn.: Shake the Lake is Saturday, July 3, at Veterans Park on Watts Bar Lake. The Little Mr. and Miss Firecracker Pageant, for infants to 8-year-olds, kicks off festivities at 9 a.m. Vendors will be set up all day at the park on New Lake Road. Music will start around 5 p.m., with Rhea Springs Revival doing the last set before fireworks at dark.
* Trenton, Ga.: Country star T. Graham Brown ("Darlene," "Hell and High Water") will headline the 1945 Dade County Fair, set for noon-10 p.m. CDT Saturday, July 3. His performance, at 7 p.m. at Jenkins Park on Price Street downtown, will lead into the fireworks show to close out the festivities. Also performing during the day are Chris Shupe, Dallas Walker, Crazy Flute, Southwind and SOLT. Activities include an array of contests (pinewood derby, MoonPie eating, watermelon eating, pie baking, frozen T-shirt, hairy legs), as well as a softball tournament, talent show, antique car show, all-day bingo, home run derby and corn hole and horseshoe tournaments. Free admission.
Contact Lisa Denton at email@example.com or 423-757-6281.