By Douglas Scott
Chances are you have already heard the sound of firecrackers popping in your neighborhood. America turns 238 years old this year. On the 4th of July, you could stay at home and listen to the sounds of freedom or you could attend one of the amazing events taking place across Grays Harbor County.
Three great events are spread throughout Grays Harbor this 4th of July holiday, each of which is as unique and fun as the last. From sailing on a ship during the fireworks to watching the beach erupt in a light display and everything in between, Grays Harbor County has a 4th of July celebration right for you and your family.
During the day in Westport, experience a Norman Rockwell-esque 4th of July event, complete with hot dogs, strawberry shortcake and general Americana under the giant American flag at the Westport Maritime Museum. With vendors selling food and other goods, enjoying the 4th of July at Westport’s Maritime Museum’s Ole Fashioned Fourth will be like stepping back in time.
Westport is also celebrating their first century as a city, so the 4th of July events in this coastal town will be extra special. With fewer crowds expected here than in Ocean Shores or Aberdeen, Westport is the perfect, low-key, All American 4th of July celebration.
Once the sun sets, the City of Westport will be having their Booming Bay Fireworks Display at the Westport Marina. Lasting around 20 minutes, this fireworks display is the second fireworks event in two weeks for the 100-years-young town. Enjoy the great views of the ocean and the jetty before seeing the sky over Westport erupt in a colorful display of patriotism.
Ocean Shores, Washington
In what can best be described as organized chaos, the 4th of July celebration in Ocean Shores is a must-experience event. During the daylight hours, the miles of beaches along the north coast are lined with cars, people, horses and kites. While the city of Ocean Shores doesn’t have a formal fireworks display, during the day there is a Family 4th Festival located at the Ocean Shores Convention Center in downtown Ocean Shores. With games, food and miscellaneous vendors from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., spending the day in Ocean Shores is a perfect way to get ready for the awesomeness of the evening.
Once the sun plunges into the Pacific Ocean, the beaches of Ocean Shores transform from a tranquil atmosphere to what can best be compared to a safe war zone. Fireworks of all shapes, colors and sizes can be set off along the beach. While this is as exciting as it sounds, please be aware of the fire danger in the dunes, as well as where you are parked along the beach and where the tide will rise. Each year, cars get stuck in either the sand or in the water, so be aware of your surroundings.
The highlight of the Ocean Shores 4th of July experience is capped off with a professional fireworks display at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino starting around 10:00 p.m. While you can see the display from the beach, visitors are strongly encouraged to see the show from the resort and casino itself.
What might just be the best fireworks option in Grays Harbor also has the potential to be the most unique event in the state, at least, once dusk starts.
During the day, the City of Aberdeen is holding their 4th of July Splash Festival, along the waterfront. Music, jugglers, magicians, deep-fried foods and inflatable rides all help make this a great, family-friendly way to enjoy your community while out along the water. Find the full event schedule here.
When you have your fill of the festival, head down to the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport and check out the tall ships festival. This year, the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain made their way back to town, offering both scenic and battle cruises. The Lady Washington has been featured in movies, TV shows and music videos and this tall old ship looks right at home in the waters of Grays Harbor.
Starting around 10:00 p.m., the main draw of the 4th of July occurs in Aberdeen. Slated to be one of the best shows in recent memory, the fireworks extravaganza can be best taken in at Morrison Park. Here, you can watch the fireworks show while listening to choreographed music over loudspeakers. Enjoy the sights, sounds and excitement of celebrating our nation’s birthday.
Another option to watch the Splash fireworks is to head out to the water with the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain for their 4th of July Fireworks Cruise. The three -hour cruise costs $63 a person and allows you to take in the birthday celebration of America on a replica of one of the very ships that helped shape it into what it is today. Cruise tickets can be found here.
If you are looking for a once-in-a-lifetime 4th of July event, the City of Aberdeen may just have you covered.