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Brilliant blossom

Flagstaff fireworks lit up the overcast sky Thursday night. (Mika Dillon/Courtesy photo)

The fireworks will go on this Fourth of July in Flagstaff, barring any changes in the weather conditions.

Flagstaff City spokesperson Kim Ott said the city’s fire marshal is in charge of deciding whether there will be fireworks or not. So far, she’s given the OK for Flagstaff’s annual Fireworks Extravaganza at the Continental Country Club, 2380 N. Oakmont Drive.

The parking lots open at 4 p.m. The cost to park is $10 but the event is free. The fireworks start at dusk. Families should expect to arrive before 7:30 p.m. in order to find a seat and a parking spot. The event also includes a food court, a beer garden, and kids activities by the YMCA.

Ott said the city tries to make things as fire safe as possible by using fireworks that explode closer to the ground and holding it on a well-watered golf course.

“We also have significant resources on the ground in case something happens,” Ott said.

With the extreme fire danger, the city would rather put on its own fireworks show, she said, than have members of the public put on their own illegal show and start a fire.

However, if conditions deteriorate before July Fourth, the fire marshal could shut down the show.

Last year, the forecast of a line of heavy thunderstorms with lightning heading for the golf course caused the fire marshal to cancel the show at the last minute as a precaution.

The National Weather Service in Bellemont is forecasting a slight chance of thunderstorms starting today with a 40 percent chance by Friday (see related story).

PARADE TO DRAW 10,000

The biggest event of the day will be the 18th annual Fourth of July Parade sponsored by the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce at 9 a.m. This year’s parade, which was recently cited by Travel & Leisure magazine as its main reason to name Flagstaff the best town for celebrating the Fourth of July, has more than 100 entries and is expected to attract 10,000 people.

The parade starts at Beaver Street and Elm Avenue. It marches south to Aspen Avenue, then east to San Francisco Street, and then north on San Francisco back to Elm Avenue.

Before the parade, there will be two running races.

The Downtown Mile will start from Heritage Square and the first of four waves of runners goes off at 6:45 a.m. The Four on the Fourth, with progressive head starts by age and gender, starts at 7 a.m. from the historic Flagstaff Flagpole on Thorpe Road.

For more details on the races, see the Daily Sun website calendar, www.azdailysun.com

Immediately after the parade, don’t miss the hot dog eating contest at Pay ‘n’ Take on Aspen Avenue.

The eighth annual Art in the Park Fourth of July Show opens Friday in Wheeler Park and runs for three days. The show features local artists, craftsmen, food and entertainers. Admission is free.

Another free and family-friendly Fourth of July event is “A Flag Fourth” with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. The Curry Summer Music Camp will open the concert at 2 p.m. at the Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill Park. The orchestra starts its free program at 3 p.m.

July Fourth also features the First Friday Art Walk in downtown Flagstaff. Galleries and other shops are open from 6 to 9 p.m. with exhibits, entertainment and refreshments.

MORE FUN SATURDAY

There’s more fun slated for the holiday weekend with the Saturday celebration of the Ford Mustang’s 50th birthday with a car show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Babbitt Ford, 11 N. Verde St. There’s a free barbecue from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture runs Saturday and Sunday at the Museum of Northern Arizona, 3101 North Fort Valley Road.

The festival will have more than 60 artists as well as traditional music, dancing and food. There will also be children’s activities.

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The cost is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors over age 65, $7 for students with an ID, $6 for American Indians, $6 for children ages 10 to 17 and children 10 and under are free.

Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa can be reached at sadams@azdailysun.com or 556-2253.

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