The Fourth of July is a little under a week away, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of activities to be found around the Tri-Cities before then.
Jonesborough will be kicking off Jonesborough Days and Nights at 5 p.m. today. About an hour later, at 6 p.m., Jessica Nixon, Twangbangers and SPANK will be playing on the Great Country 104.9 main stage.
There will also be a 1940s USO Show taking place every day at the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre. There will be children’s music on the First Tennessee children’s stage by the Hometeam. Another stage called Doc’s Front Porch presented by Ferguson will have Sound Traveler at 5 p.m. and storytelling at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, the festival will really get under way. The gates will open at 10 a.m. and will close at 11 p.m. The day will start off with a parade at 10 a.m. and will be going from Boone Street to Main Street. There will then be a pancake eating contest in front of the courthouse, sponsored by the Olde Towne Pancake House, immediately following the parade.
The Nortons, The Barefoot Movement and Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder will hit the main stage starting at 6 p.m. The children’s stage will open at 11 a.m. and run until 5:30 p.m. The stage will have camp songs and stories, clown fun, talent searches for children all the way up to 18, revolution dance studio, Judy Butterfly, Mark Baker and the Railroad Angels.
Doc’s Front Porch will feature bands and storytelling throughout the afternoon. Starting at 1 p.m. there will be a chili pepper eating contest at the Johnson City Power Board farm village. The Jonesborough visitor’s center will offer dance lessons and workshops on Friday and Saturday.
Saturday will end with a fireworks show that can be seen throughout all of historic Jonesborough. The show is scheduled to start at 10 p.m.
Sunday the festival hours will be 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Whites will be playing on the main stage at 1 p.m. There will also be a watermelon eating contest at the downtown courthouse. The children’s stage will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Johnson City will be hosting a basesball game for veterans tonight at 6 p.m. The Johnson City Cardinals will host Military appreciation night, and all current military and veterans and their families will be given free admission to the game. There will be booths and a climbing wall presented by the Tennessee National Guard.
It will be quiet in Johnson City until Wednesday. The tree streets will hold its annual parade from 9:45 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and will start and end at Southside Elementary school.
The 27th annual Pepsi Independence Day Fireworks Celebration will take place Wednesday starting at 5 p.m. There will be many musical acts taking the stage at the celebration. Nash Street will open the show, Jimbo Whaley & Greenbriar, Jessica Nixon and Linda Davis will also perform.
There will be special tributes to veterans and active members of the military. The tributes will take place from 7:15-7:35 and 9:35-9:50. There will also be prizes given away, including a 2012 Ford Fiesta.
There will be food services, craft booths and children’s games available throughout the evening. The main attraction, the fireworks, will start at 10:10.
On July 6, there will be a First Friday celebration at Main Street and South Roan Street.
Bristol has already kicked off their Star-Spangled weekend ‘12. Events began last night with music and movies in the park and a watermelon eating contest. Today the city will host an antique car show from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Tri-Summit parking lot. There will also be a hot dog eating contest at Boyce Cox field.
On Saturday, Bristol will host its annual Independence parade starting at 10 a.m. on Bob Morrison Boulevard. After the parade, registration will begin for the Celebrate Bristol Motorcycle Poker and Bug Run through Sullivan County. There will then be a citywide picnic at Cumberland Square Park at 11:30 a.m. Food will be provided by the local business community.
At the picnic, there will be children’s inflatables, music by Box Set and the Bristol Virginia Senior Showchoir, book signings, vendors, vision and hearing tests, a blood drive and Miss Celebrate Bristol Photogenic winners will be announced.
There will also be a rubber ducky race held in Beaver Creek. The night will end with a baseball game between the Bristol White Sox and the Princeton Rays. After the game, there will be fireworks presented by Pepsi.
Carter County will also be hosting many activites over the weekend and on the Fourth of July.
Downtown Elizabethton will once again be the site of an old-fashioned Fourth of July parade down East Elk Avenue. The parade begins at noon. The 12th Annual Watauga Lake Boat Parade begins at 2 p.m. at the dam and winds its way upstream to finish at Butler Bridge.
Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area will feature an 18th century Independence Day celebration and muster on Saturday and Sunday. Visitors can be present when news of the Declaration of Independence arrives at Fort Watauga on Saturday.
Saturday will be a full day of celebration at Roan Mountain State Park, including a long list of games and contests for children. The fun begins at 9:30 a.m. with bicycle decorating at Shelter 3 and a bicycle parade at 10 a.m. The best decorated bikes win prizes.
Throughout the day there will be sack races, water balloon tosses, sponge relay, watermelon eating contests, egg relay, tug of war and kids’ scavenger hunt.
Music and entertainment will start at 4 p.m. at the park amphitheater with the Dennis Cove Band. The Roan Mountain Moonshiners, The Trailblazer Cloggers and Two Step will also perform.
In addition to the boat parade, Watauga Lake marinas will host fireworks. Cove Ridge Marina starts things off with its display on Saturday. The lakeshore will be the scene of the fireworks show on July 4.
The town of Unicoi’s annual Freedom Fest will be held on the Fourth of July, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the field adjacent to Unicoi Elementary School, 404 Massachusetts Ave.
The event is free to attend and will feature musical entertainment throughout the evening. Elvis Presley tribute artist Jimmy Fields will take the stage at 5:30 p.m., Acoustix will perform beginning at 6:30, the Shadow Drifters will perform at 7:3 and the Rhythm Brewers will perform beginning at 8:30.
Unicoi Parks and Recreation Director Travis Barbee said the fireworks display will begin at approximately 10 p.m.
The Unicoi Ruritan Club will prepare food that will be sold throughout the event.
For more information on Freedom Fest, call Unicoi Town Hall at 743-7162.
Elizabethton Bureau Chief John Thompson and Erwin Bureau Chief Brad Hicks contributed to this report.