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Celebrate with Fireworks!!

6/27/2013
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Can you believe it’s almost the end of June?  Where has the summer gone?  It seems like just yesterday, I was sitting watching my nephews graduate from high school and plans were being made for the Memorial Day weekend!  But we’ve seen the official start of summer come and go and now, everyone is getting geared up for next big summer holiday, the Fourth of July!

Do you have a July 4th tradition that you share with your family?  Or, are you the type who looks for something fun and different to do each year over the July 4th holiday?  I know that Dan and I have always preferred to lay low over July 4th (at least I have) and I can’t think of any better place to relax and enjoy the day off than at Harpole’s Heartland Lodge in Nebo, Illinois.  Not only will you enjoy the wonderful amenities of the lodge…the beautiful setting of the lodge nestled in the Mississippi River bluffs, the amazing, home-cooked meals, the comfortable triple-sheeted beds…but if you are lucky enough to have a room booked over July 4th, then your scenic hayride will include a breathtaking view of the river valley where you can see one of the best local fireworks displays in the area as well as several other fireworks displays on the horizon in both Illinois and Missouri!

But fireworks shows aren’t the only activities in the local towns around the lodge.  If you prefer enjoying the local festivities on this national holiday, a getaway to the lodge will put you in the heart of many July 4th activities.  Following are just a few of the local July 4th events that can fill your day.

Pleasant Hill, IL – this quaint town just 10 minutes from the lodge has a full day of activities!  The Pleasant Hill July 4th Celebration begins with a Firecracker 5K Fun Run at 8:00 a.m. followed by a parade at 9:00 a.m. and then Fun in the Park at 10:30 a.m., there will be plenty of family-friendly activities throughout the day.  There will even be a free concert beginning at 8:00 p.m. with music lasting throughout the fireworks which begin at dusk (approximately 9:10 p.m.).  A wonderful list of tips for photographing fireworks…something I’m definitely going to read up on…can also be found on their web site.

Pittsfield, IL – Pittsfield sits just about 15 minutes from the lodge and their fireworks display will be held at dusk on July 4th, 2013 at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™ at Pine Lakes.  For non-campers, the gates will open approximately 8:00 p.m. and the cost is $5 per carload.  You can’t beat the price for a night of fun!

Hannibal, MO – The 58th Annual National Tom Sawyer Days run in Hannibal July 4th – 7th.  Although there will be many activities scheduled through the 4-day event – including a parade, Tom & Becky contest, National Fence Painting Contest, Hannibal’s Got Talent Show and Mud Volleyball, the fireworks can be seen on Thursday, July 4th at dusk on the riverfront.  You’ll enjoy a day filled with loads of family-fun activities topped off with fireworks on the river.

Louisiana, MO – Just drive a short 20-minutes from the lodge and you’ll be able to enjoy The Louisiana Chamber of Commerce July 4th Celebration on Thursday, July 4th, 2013 along the riverfront in Louisiana.  If this is one of your stops for the day, I strongly suggest following them on their Facebook page to be kept informed of any changes due to the river levels.

Not all fireworks displays are on July 4th.  Sometimes, when towns are in close proximity to one another, or they have other July 4th events scheduled, they may hold their fireworks show on an alternate day.  This is the case with Alton and Grafton, Illinois this year and more information can be found on the following events at http://www.greatriverroad.com/.

Alton, IL – Alton is about an hour south of Heartland and will be holding their fireworks show on Wednesday, July 3rd on the Alton riverfront.  The grounds open at 5:00 p.m. where you can enjoy food, a beer tent and entertainment until the fireworks display at 9:00 p.m.

Grafton, IL – Grafton is also south of the lodge – approximately 50 minutes – and actually holds its fireworks show, the Grafton Independence Celebration, on Friday, July 5th.  Their display begins at dusk along the Grafton riverfront.  I just heard on the news this morning that the river is expected to rise…again…in Grafton this week.  I’m not sure yet how this will affect their fireworks display so for updated information, check out www.enjoygrafton.com/grafton/events.cfm.  

This year, the 4th of July falls on a Thursday, giving some of you a four-day weekend.  Others of you may have decided to take July 3rd off as well to get a jump start to your Fourth of July holiday!  So why not take advantage of the extra days and consider booking a mini-vacation for you and your family at the lodge?  Whether you book one night or three, you will not be disappointed in your decision.  The lodge will put you right in the heart of all the local July 4th celebrations!  And if this year doesn’t work for you, just remember…the 4th of July falls on Friday next year…making 2014 a great time to plan for a long Fourth of July weekend!

As many of these local July 4th celebrations take place in towns along the river, it’s always best to check with them to make sure that the flooding of 2013 has not affected their plans – or yours!  And always ask about rain dates!  But if you’ve got your comfy room at the lodge booked – and are planning to enjoy the scenic hayride – then the planning has already been done for you!

And as you’ll notice, I have no pictures to post of any fireworks…at least not yet!  I will be at the lodge on Monday through Wednesday of next week with my mom to celebrate her birthday.  A local photography club that I recently joined is meeting up at the Alton fireworks on Wednesday and I think I’ll stop there on my way home from the lodge to try my hand at snapping some fireworks pictures.  Wish me luck and stay tuned to see if I am able to post any fireworks photos later next week!  If not, I may ask you to share yours!

Regardless of what Fourth of July celebration you witness, sit back and enjoy!  And most importantly, be safe!

Lori Biehl
Fourteen-Year-in-a-Row-Guest

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