Music, fireworks, food, fun runs and more will mark Independence Day celebrations in West County, with festivities on July 3 and 4.
Viewing areas include Marina Bay Park, at the foot of the Marina Bay Parkway, where there will be live blues music, food vendors and a children's play area from 6 to 10 p.m.
Also along the waterfront that day will be the free sixth annual Target Independence Day Celebration, featuring Michael Morgan conducting the Oakland East Bay Symphony in a program of patriotic music and show favorites from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South. The Craneway will have food for sale, or bring your own picnic spread. Along with the symphony performers will include Oaktown Jazz Workshops and Hilltop Community Church Choir and activities will feature an instrument petting zoo and the Rosie the Riveter Visitors Education Center next door.
Inside seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis, or bring your own blankets and chairs.
Another option for dining and panoramic viewing in Richmond is aboard the SS Red Oak Victory, 1337 Canal Blvd. in the Port of Richmond, which will have barbecue, karaoke and a classic movie before the pyrotechnics for $25 per person. Proceeds benefit the restoration of the historic World War II ship. Call 510-237-2933 or 510-235-7387 for tickets or details.
Albany: The annual Green, Red, White & Blue Celebration from noon to 4 p.m. July 4 at Memorial Park, 1325 Portland Ave. will have contests, games, food trucks, a diaper derby, music by Bangers & Grass, a pet show, reptile show, APAL classic car show, and more. The Albany Chamber of Commerce will give out free ice cream in the afternoon. Admission is free.
The Albany Recreation & Community Services Department event emphasizes fun in a sustainable way, with a goal of generating zero waste by recycling and composting.
The day starts with the annual Albany Lions pancake breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. in the Veterans Building in Memorial Park.
BERKELEY: The annual free celebration from noon to 10 p.m. July 4 at the Berkeley Marina will have nonstop entertainment, activities and food, followed by fireworks over the Bay after dark. Attractions will include free dragon boat rowing from noon to 5 p.m., pony rides and mechanical carnival rides, an inflatable bouncy area, mini-train rides, giant slides, and the like. Adventure Playground nearby will be open until 8 p.m.
Marina vehicle parking is $15 for the day, or walk, bicycle or take AC Transit.
El Cerrito: The free Fourth of July celebration and 16th annual worldOne Festival will have world music and other entertainment, food and vendor booths, a children's ride activity area, Circus Imagination, community displays, games, an art show and more from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 4 at Cerrito Vista Park and on the adjacent block of Pomona Avenue, which will be closed to traffic.
Free bike valet parking will be available on Moeser Lane.
A pre-event from 5 to 7 p.m. July 3 on the Cerrito Vista stage will feature a free performance by Los Cenzontles.
HERCULES: After several dormant years due to city financial hardship, a civic celebration has been revived thanks to the Rotary Club of Hercules and the Hercules Fourth of July Committee, which have done the legwork for a Celebrate Hercules event centered at Refugio Valley Park, 1515 Refugio Valley Road.
The day will start with a 5K and one-mile fun run (registration is at 7 a.m. and T-shirts are included in the $35 registration fee).
A parade featuring a salute to veterans starts at 10:45 a.m., with World War II veteran and POW George Funk as grand marshall, riding in a classic jeep of the era.
Both the run and parade will go from Redwood Avenue to Sycamore to the park. The streets will be closed to motor traffic for the parade and run, and police advise using alternate routes.
The park itself will have an expo from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring music, as well as community, food and vendor booths.
The event started when the Rotary chapter approached the city about putting on an Independence Day run and from there it grew to include the parade and expo, all of which are being organized and staffed by volunteers.
"We have lots of volunteers and are doing this on a shoestring budget," writes Hercules Rotary President Bill Shea.
A website has been setup at www.hercules4thofjuly.com, where the community can sign up for the run, register for the parade or a booth at the expo, volunteer, or participate or donate in some way to help the event. Or contact Shea at email@example.com.
SAN PABLO: Fresh off being named an All America City for 2014, San Pablo is ready to celebrate with free festivities, music and fireworks, headlined by 1970s swamp rock band Redbone starting at 4 p.m. July 4 on the El Portal soccer field at 2600 Moraga Road.
Redbone, the Native American band that scored two Top 40 hits in the 1970s, tops an entertainment lineup that will include Elvis Presley and Curtis Mayfield tribute acts, East Bay funk group Downtown Rhythm, line dancers, Zumba flash mob dancers.
Gates open at 3 p.m. and admission and parking are free.
WORLD WAR I ANNIVERSARY: World War I, which set events in motion that shaped what was to follow geopolitically in the 20th century, started 100 years ago on June 28, when Grand Duke Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated.
That 100th anniversary will be marked locally with a pair of events being held by the WW1 Historical Association on June 28 at Arlington Community Church, 52 Arlington Ave. in Kensington, that should be of interest to students of history.
A panel discussion from 3 to 5 p.m. on the state of Europe on June 28, 1914, will feature six speakers representing perspectives of Germany, England, France, Austria, Russia and Serbia. Admission is $3 students. $7 adults.
The talk will be followed by a Last Day of Peace Dinner and Dance from 6 to 11 p.m., featuring a buffet dinner followed by period music and dancing from 1914. "Relive Edwardian era like a guest at Downton Abbey," say organizers.
Admission is $40 to $75 and event proceeds benefit the historical association.
For tickets or details call 415-671-5836, www.ww1ha.org.