flag_400Welcome to small town America, Outer Banks style. From Corolla up north to Manteo in the middle, it’s a day filled with music, games, picnics and of course, fireworks.

For runners or folks who just like to get up early and get moving, check out the Inaugural Outer Banks Firecracker & Freedom 5k (http://outerbanksbootcamps.com/freedom-5k/). It starts at the Kill Devil Hills town hall, passes the First Flight School campus, through a residential area and ends in Nags Head Woods. A nice way to start the day for those so inclined. A later wake-up call and less challenging is the Old Glory Mile at 8:30 a.m. and the Little Sparkler Stroll at 8:40.

The 4th of July parade in Duck is a little bit whacky and a lot of fun. About a mile long, it begins at the crest of the hill on Scarborough Lane (behind the shops) and winds its way through the back streets of Duck. About what you would expect from an Outer Banks community. Fire engines, community groups, bands, people who just like to sign up and join in a parade, and lot of dogs.

Parking is tough (get there early) and traffic on Duck Road moves slowly . . . very slowly.

Guidelines and entry forms can be found at www.townofduck.com/duck4thofjuly/. The parade route is there as well.

Check out the live music after the parade. Local singer, songwriter, Ruth Wyand will be at the town park. Ruth is one of those performers who can play in a wide variety of styles and make everything her own. It’s free so give yourself a treat.

On the north end and looking for fireworks? Head up to the Whalehead Club in Corolla. Sponsored by Currituck County

Travel and Tourism, this is the 20th annual July 4th event on the grounds and the audience gets larger every year. This is consistently the most spectacular pyrotechnics on the Outer Banks

Activities begin at 6:00 p.m. with food vendors, arts and crafts, and family friendly games. Fireworks begin about 9:00 o’clock. A $5.00 donation is asked for parking on the Whalehead Club grounds.

Toward the south end (Nags Head and Manteo) there is also lots to do.

Manteo celebrates the Fourth as an all day event with a street fair followed by fireworks over Shallow Bag Bay. Really has a classic small town America feel to it.

It does tend to get very crowded in the town (especially in the evening), so if you’re looking for a little more elbow room, check out the fireworks in Nags Head. The Nags Head fireworks are set off from Nags Head Pier and the best way to see them is to spread a beach towel out on the sand and watch the show. For a list of recommended accesses to the beach for viewing check: www.nagsheadnc.gov

Manteo and the Nags Head Pier fireworks can both be seen from the top of Jockeys Ridge, which is a truly unique view of the celebration of our nations birthday. The park stays open late to accommodate folks who want to see the displays going off at the same time. It is farther away from the fireworks than being on the beach or in Manteo, but it is a different way to view things.

Advice from a native–wear bug repellant for the evening events.