Ah, Independence Day. For many, this holiday just wouldn't be the same without the celebrated Kiwanis Danville Fourth of July Parade, a delightful small-town-America tradition. Horses, fancy cars and antique automobiles, marching bands, dance teams, Scout troops, the lawn mower brigade and many other entries keep tens of thousands of spectators turning out each year.

This year's parade, titled "People Helping People," begins at 9 a.m. and runs from the corner of Hartz and Railroad avenues, continues down Hartz and San Ramon Valley Boulevard and ends at the corner of San Ramon Valley Boulevard and Sycamore Valley Road. Free, monitored bicycle parking is available from 8 a.m. till noon at 675 Hartz Ave. (in the Balford Building parking lot next to Country Waffles).

I've lived in the Danville area since 1985 but didn't realize that the parade is a fundraiser for the Kiwanis Club of San Ramon Valley, organizer of the event since 1975. Through parade sponsorships and entry fees, along with various community service projects, the club awards grants to San Ramon Valley service organizations, to the tune of over $1 million since inception of their sponsorship of the parade. According to the group's website at http://www.kiwanis-srv.org, grants from the funds generated by the 2012 parade were announced in May, with nearly $42,000 awarded to 40 separate organizations.

Music in the Park: From the Danville parade to outdoor concerts, summer is the season for free music, with the 28th annual Music in the Park sponsored by the Town of Danville on select Saturdays beginning this weekend and Blackhawk Plaza's weekly Friday night concert series commencing tomorrow evening.

The Shanks lead off the Music in the Park series at 6 p.m. Saturday in Oak Hill Park, 3005 Stone Valley Blvd.; followed by The Sun Kings on July 20, also in Oak Hill Park; Spinout on Aug. 3 on the Danville Town Green at 400 Front St. by the library: and West Grand Boulevard on Aug. 17, performing back at Oak Hill Park. It's suggested that concert attendees bring a blanket and/or lawn chairs. For further information, visit the town's website at http://www.ci.danville.ca.us/calendar/eventDetail.aspx?id=9147&;dt=7/6/2013.

Eight different groups will be "Rockin' the Plaza" this summer on consecutive Fridays at 7 p.m. in Blackhawk Plaza's Rotunda. A Michael Jackson tribute band, "Foreverland," kicks off the series Friday evening and features free fedora hats. Additional performers on subsequent Fridays through Aug. 23 include The Boys of Summer (an Eagles tribute band), David Martin's House Party, Mustache Harbor, Zydeco Flames, Pride & Joy, The Houserockers and Elton: The Early Years (1970s Elton John tribute band). For further information, go to http://www.shopblackhawkplaza.com/center_events.html.

Cars & Coffee: So ... parade on Thursday, concerts on Friday and Saturday, but what to do Sunday? How about the Cars & Coffee event at the Blackhawk Automotive Museum, beginning at 8 a.m. in the parking lot near Anthropologie?

Blackhawk Plaza and Blackhawk Automotive Museum welcome all car owners and enthusiasts, providing free coffee and a chance to showcase their favorite rides. For more information, contact the Blackhawk Automotive Museum at 925-736-2280, or museum@BlackhawkMuseum.org.

There's also live music, DJ music and free lessons for the Argentine tango and milonga on Sunday afternoon in Blackhawk Plaza's Rotunda. Beginner and intermediate classes for the Argentine tango are from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and milonga (another type of tango dancing) is from 3:30 to 8 p.m. This event is supported jointly by the Blackhawk Tango and Bay Area Tango Association. Free lessons are offered the first Sunday of every month.

Contact Georgia Lambert at around- danville@yahoo.com.

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