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Let the Sparks Fly

It’s not too late to enjoy local 4th of July festivals, parades and fireworks.

So. It’s July 4, 2013. Independence Day. A federal holiday celebrating our freedom from Great Britain. The National Day of the United States.

And you have nothing planned.

Your children have dreams of fireworks in their head, your neighbors’ homes are festooned with patriotic flair, and your friends already have their coolers packed and lawn chairs ready for their memorable 4th of July celebration.

(And no, you can’t wear that stars-and-stripes shirt with the matching light-up fireworks socks some “other” day.)

It’s not too late for you to have a fun-filled 4th of July too. We’ve compiled a list of the best local events, close to your home and mostly free. You’re welcome.

Happy 4th of July!

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From left, Elliot, Isaac, 7, Oriana, 5, Zoe and Solomon Zaret, 3, who were named “Star Spangled Family” during the Little Patriot Parade in Great Falls Wednesday, July 4, 2012.

Great Falls

8 a.m.—5K Walk/Run at the Great Falls Freedom Memorial

The Great Falls Trailblazers are bringing the Annual 5K Walk/Run to local trails. Join them at the Freedom Memorial on the library grounds. From there, go off-road on the Lucy Hanes Trail, along Arnon Chapel and past Great Falls Elementary before heading back to the Freedom Memorial.

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Mike Kearney, owner of the Old Brogue, drives the Celebrate Great Falls float during the annual Fourth of July parade.

8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.—INOVA Blood Drive at the Great Falls Volunteer Fire Department, 9916 Georgetown Pike.

Save lives and give blood this July 4th. Everyone who completes the donor screening procedure will receive a $10 Gas Card. A Photo ID is required. Allow one hour for donor visit.

9 a.m.—The Little Patriot Parade at the Village Centre Green Gazebo, at Georgetown Pike and Walker Road.

Be a “Star Spangled Family” and head out to one of Great Falls’ most popular events. Children up to age 5 are welcome to parade their finest patriotic garments around the Green. Awards will be given for "Young George Washington," “Little Miss Betsy Ross," and "The Star Spangled Family."

10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.—Parade at Great Falls Village Centre & Village Centre Green Festival

Enjoy colorful floats, horses, antique cars and pets at the Main Parade. Be sure to spot the winning floats for Best Neighborhood, Best Business and Best Organization. The parade begins on Columbine Road and proceeds around the Village Centre Green. After the parade, enjoy burgers, hot dogs and snow cones along with music, field games and festivities on the Village Centre Green.

6 p.m. on Saturday, July 6—Fireworks at Turner Farm, at the intersection of Georgetown Pike (Route 193) and Springvale Road (Route 674)

This 52-acre park, located on the site of a former dairy farm, is the setting for the annual Great Falls fireworks display. Enjoy games, activities and music, and bring something to sit on to watch the fireworks light up the sky at dusk.

(Events sponsored by the Neighbors Foundation. For more information, go to www.neighborsfoundation.org.)

McLean

8 p.m.—Fourth of July Fireworks Langley High School Stadium, 6520 Georgetown Pike

In honor of the nation’s 237th birthday, the McLean Community Center (MCC) presents its annual 4th of July Fireworks Celebration held at Langley High School. The grounds will open at 8 p.m. The fireworks show will begin at approximately

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The audience watches fireworks from the bleachers at Langley High School Wednesday, July 4.

9:15 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Come out and hear music provided by DJ L.A. Express and a special presentation before the fireworks. Food, refreshments and glow items will be available for purchase.

Receive an American flag from the McLean American Legion Post 270 and see one of Northern Virginia’s best fireworks displays. Rain date is Friday, July 5. Free shuttle bus service will be available from St. John’s Episcopal Church (6715 Georgetown Pike) and MCC (1234 Ingleside Ave.), beginning at 7 p.m. A handicap-accessible bus will be available at both sites. Smoking, pets, fireworks, sparklers and alcohol are not allowed on school grounds.

For more information, call 703-790-0123, or go to www.mcleancenter.org.

Town of Vienna

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Grace Taylor, 3, and her sister Anna, 2, of Vienna show off their best July 4th smiles.

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It may not be the royal carriage but a wagon pulled by daddy in the blistering heat is the second-best thing. Sophia Beckford, 4-1/2, and brother Adrian, almost 2, come from McLean to have fun at the Vienna Independence Day festival.

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.—Fourth of July Festival, Vienna Community Center, 120 Cherry St. S.E.

7 p.m.—Fireworks preshow

9:15 p.m.—Fireworks at Southside Park. 1315 Ross Drive S.W.

The Vienna Community Band kicks off the annual Town of Vienna Fourth of July festivities, which include arts, crafts, a classic car show and the famous chili cook-off. New this year is the “Pooches on Parade” at noon. Dress your pet in July 4th costumes and register at the Gazebo to be a part of the parade. Enjoy the oldies throughout the day by Ron Moody and the Centaurs on the Main Stage. At 2 p.m., stop by the Kids Craft Corner near the gazebo for fun Fourth of July crafts. At 7 p.m., the fireworks pre-show begins at Yeonas Park with music by Fat Chance. Seating is available at Yeonas Park, and the Little League Concession will be open. Some seating will be available near the playground at Southside Park. At 9:15 p.m., the fireworks show begins at Southside Park. Rain date for fireworks show is Friday, July 5. Parking is available at Cedar Lane School and Thoreau Middle School.

For more information, go to www.viennava.gov. For live updates on the fireworks show, follow the Town of Vienna on Facebook or Twitter.