Sacramento is a big city with lots of grand-scale 4th of July events that no doubt helped earned us the title of 19th best city in the U.S. to celebrate our nation’s birthday. But what if you’re looking for something a little less grand-scale and little more small town?
No matter where you live in Sacramento, there is a small-town-esque celebration close by that conjures up that hometown feeling we all crave. Parades, concerts, pancake breakfasts, games and brilliant fireworks shows are put together by communities within the community who are ready to vibrantly and excitedly display the red, white and blue.
We put together a list of some of the best small town events going on in Sacramento and its nearby cities this 4th of July. Each offers something unique and will have the kind of crowds you don’t mind being a part of.
Don’t be surprised if you show up and feel like perhaps you’re in Mayberry instead of a large metropolitan city.
July 4, 7:45 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Old Roseville, Royer Park & Placer County Fairgrounds. We gotta say—when it comes to creating a small town atmosphere, Roseville has it down. The city begins their Fourth of July celebration with their Run Crime Out of Roseville 5k Fun Run/Walk, which challenges teams of 5 to try to beat the Roseville Police Department for the chance of some well-earned bragging rights. A 9am parade down Old Roseville’s Vernon Street ends at Royer Park for carnival games, food vendors and probably one of the best things of the day—a performance by the Capitol Pops Concert Band. Feel free to join in with the other attendees waving their flags and clapping along to the patriotic songs. Top off the day with live music and a 9 p.m. fireworks show at the Placer County Fairgrounds. More info at roseville.ca.us.
July 4, 7 a.m.-11:00 a.m., Carmichael Park, Fair Oaks Blvd. & La Sierra Community Center. Join Carmichael residents as they chow down on a pancake breakfast at the Carmichael Park Clubhouse before lining the streets of Fair Oaks Blvd. for a parade of community floats, marching bands, antique cars, and military units. In the evening, lawn chairs and blankets fill the grassy area next to La Sierra Community Center for family-friendly activities at 7 p.m. and a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. More info at carmichaelpark.com.
July 4, 10 a.m., 41st & 42nd Streets. The success of this small-town-feeling event lies in the hands of the residents of East Sacramento who make a community effort to decorate their porches, trees, and lawns with all variations of the red, white and blue. I might even dare to say they go more all out than Christmas. Sacramentans are invited join them on the quintessential streets of the Fab Forties for a parade that feels straight out of the movies. Festively dressed onlookers cheer as a fire truck leads the way up 41st and 42nd while residents in year’s past have been known to have watermelon, games, and special displays available for their guests. This lesser-known event gets bigger every year. It’s easy to see why.
July 4, 7:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m., Downtown Davis. This is the biggest small town event that still seems to retain that small town feel. Keeping our American birthday party going all evening, Davis begins the fun with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Davis Little League at Community Park from 7 a.m.-11 p.m. A full day of bike racing kicks off at 7:30am for their 41st annual Fourth of July Criterium which includes a chance for younger bicycle riders to be a part of a Kids Fun Ride. The 55th annual Kiwanis Kiddie Parade at 9:00 a.m. invites families to walk through the streets of Downtown Davis with festively decorated bikes, strollers, wagons and scooters. The day also includes a tournament of men’s slowpitch softball at Playfields Park and the championship game at Community Park. Community Park will also be the place to be after 4pm with an evening of activities that include food, multiple musical guests, a speech by the Mayor of Davis and a fireworks extravaganza at 9:30 p.m. More info at community-services.cityofdavis.org.
July 4, 4 p.m., Elk Grove Regional Park; Free, $10 parking. Hundreds of flags are set to decorate the city of Elk Grove while Elk Grove Regional Park prepares for an evening of patriotic activities at their 21st annual Salute to the Red, White & Blue. Their Let Freedom Ride event welcomes attendees to take part in a bike and stroller pedal parade around the park. Entertainment includes a bike and stroller parade, an All-American pie eating contest and live entertainment by Saved By The 90s. Spectators are invited to the baseball fields to enjoy a fireworks that begin at 9:30 p.m. More info at elkgrovecity.org.
West Sacramento (Raley Field)
July 4, 6 p.m., Raley Field; $5-15. One of the best things about Raley Field is the small town feel you get as you walk toward the red-lit RALEY FIELD lettering over the entrance. And since you don’t get much more American than baseball, why not celebrate the Fourth at one of Sacramento’s best small-town-esque locations? Fourth on the Field offers attendees an array of over a dozen food trucks as well as a kids area, live music, and interactive games for all. Grab a blanket and a spot on the grass to watch one of Sacramento’s biggest fireworks shows synced to American tunes. Tickets sold out last year so get them while you can. More info at raleyfield.com.
And the not-so-far from town:
July 4, 11:00 a.m.-10 p.m., Nevada County Fair Grounds & Grass Valley. For a 4th of July getaway in the pines, head to Grass Valley for a day full of patriotic fun. Enjoy a parade through historic downtown Grass Valley and performances by local bands. Evening festivities back at the fair grounds also include live music in addition to a craft fair, food, and fireworks starting at 9:30 p.m. More info at grassvalleychamber.com.
July 4, 10am-10pm, Downtown Sonoma & throughout Sonoma Valley. Named in the top 10 best 4th of July celebrations in the country by Travel + Leisure magazine, Sonoma’s intentionally old fashioned Independence Day event is worth an encouragement to go. Taking place in historic downtown Sonoma, the oh-so-American parade circles the Plaza and is followed by a carnival, a Patriotic Ceremony, and performances by bands at 1 and 3pm. The Plaza doesn’t host a fireworks show, but the Sonoma Valley Fire & Rescue puts on a show just down the street at General Vallejo’s Home at 9:30pm. There’s also an impressive number of firework extravaganzas throughout the valley. More info on the fireworks at sonomacounty.com and Downtown Sonoma’s celebration sonomacommunitycenter.org.