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Celebrate July 4th in the Heartland!!

6/17/2014
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altonfireworksCan you believe it? We are already making plans for the July 4th holiday weekend…but we just haven’t figured out where the year has gone! Do you have your plans made? If not, I’ve got some great ideas for you!

As I indicated in my blog from last year, Celebrate with Fireworks, the Fourth of July holiday falls on a Friday this year…and, nestled nicely between Memorial Day and Labor Day, makes it the perfect 3-day weekend to enjoy a mini-vacation or a weekend getaway! So you know that you want to get away…now the only decision is where to go. If you enjoy celebrating July 4th, also known as Independence Day, with fireworks, parades, carnivals, food and music, then Heartland Lodge continues to be the ‘go-to’ destination for all of your holiday celebrating!

Following is the 2014 list of July 4th festivities in the area surrounding the lodge. And yes, some even occur before AND after the actual July 4th holiday…and Hannibal’s National Tom Sawyer Days covers four days! Check out the following events and be sure to enjoy your getaway!

July 3rd – Alton, IL kicks off the July 4th celebrations by holding the Mississippi River Fireworks Festival on Thursday, July 3rd. The festival is held on the Alton Riverfront and the grounds open at 5:00 p.m. You will enjoy great food, a beer tent and entertainment followed by the fireworks display at 9:15 p.m. This is where a group of us went last year and where I was able to finally get some decent fireworks photographs…I’ve included a few in this blog. I can tell you that watching these fireworks over the Mississippi River is a great place to be!

flaginflowersJuly 4th – You’ll have several choices for festivities on Friday, July 4th. Enjoy the famous evening hayride from the lodge that stops and overlooks a scenic view of the Mississippi River Valley. From this viewpoint, you will enjoy Pleasant Hill's fireworks show (one of the best in Illinois as well as the Midwest) along with other fireworks shows on the horizon overlooking the Mississippi River bluffs in Missouri. This unique experience is definitely one you will always remember! 

The Pleasant Hill 4th of July Celebration is an all-day event in Heartland's own back yard. The day begins with a parade in the morning, followed by the Miss Pleasant Hill contest along with free entertainment, activities, great food and more! At dusk, you will enjoy one of the best fireworks displays in Illinois - and maybe even the Midwest!

You might also want to check out the fireworks display at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park™ at Pine Lakes (rain date July 5th) or the Louisiana Chamber of Commerce July 4th Celebration. Vendor booths open at 5:00 p.m. on the Louisiana Riverfront, followed by the Lil’ Mr. and Miss Firecracker Contest and the Miss Liberty Contest at 6:30 p.m. The fireworks will be shot off at dark.

fireworksoverriverThe Hannibal Jaycees will be hosting the 59th Annual National Tom Sawyer Days from Thursday, July 3rd – Sunday, July 6th. This family-friendly event, stretched out over the holiday weekend, has something for everyone! Some of Thursday’s activities include a pet show, the nationally-recognized mud volleyball tournament and a great concert with Madd Hoss Jackson opening for national recording artist Josh Thompson! On Friday, July 4th, you will enjoy Arts & Crafts in Central Park, more mud volleyball, a parade, the famous Fence-Painting Contest, and the Hannibal’s Got Talent show before enjoying live music and their fireworks display, which will take place at dusk on Friday. Saturday’s schedule of activities include the Hannibal Cannibal 5/10/15K Run or 5K Walk, horseshoe and washers tournaments, tricycle races and even the “How We Roll” Car & Motorcycle Cruise-In. And don’t forget about the Frog Jump Contest, Back Seat Driver Contest, The Mighty Miss Raft Race and more of the National Fence Painting Contest. For a more laid back day, check out the Arts & Crafts and horseshoe tournament on Sunday. With everything that the Hannibal Jaycees have lined up for you, you’ll want to make sure to check out the entire schedule. You can view ALL the activities at 97.9 KICK-FM and click on the link for the 2014 National Tom Sawyer Days Booklet. Each time I looked at the schedule, I saw something else that would be great fun…and events that would provide great photo opportunities!

July 5th – Grafton, IL rounds out the fireworks displays on Saturday, July 5th with their Fireworks on the Riverfront. Business owners will have food and drink specials and you can enjoy live entertainment, games for the kids and then watch the fireworks over the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers from your spot on the riverbank or one of many decks located at the local businesses. Fireworks begin at approximately 9:00 p.m. with a rain date of Sunday, July 6th.

Since Dan & I enjoyed the fireworks in Alton last year, I think we will head to one of the other locations on Friday night and then to Grafton on Saturday. But think about it…where else can you go for a long weekend AND get to enjoy so many fun activities and fireworks displays? Nowhere…except Heartland Lodge!

Lori Biehl
Fifteen-Year-In-a-Row Guest

P.S. I am in the process of updating our Calendar of Events with all the other great activities going on throughout the summer, including the local county and state fairs. Check out our Calendar of Events page for more details!

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