POLK COUNTY — Finding a way to celebrate Independence Day in Polk County won’t be a problem, whether you are looking for a laid-back day in the park or a thrill-ride carnival experience.
July Fourth celebrations will take place in Dallas, Falls City, Independence and Monmouth, spanning from one-day events to a long holiday weekend of fun.
Falls City is first in line to mark the nation’s birthday on July 1 with a short, but entertaining parade and community gathering in Lower Park, complete with music, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, and cotton candy.
Saturday evening, Independence’s Western Days joins the party with the carnival in Riverview Park opening at 6. Western Days run from Saturday to July Fourth with two fireworks displays on the schedule.
Monmouth’s July Fourth celebration opens on Monday and runs through Independence Day.
The main event has an art show, held both days. Artists can enter until 11 a.m. on Monday.
Independence Day brings the long-standing Mini-Marathon, Children’s Parade, and the highlight Monmouth-Independence Rotary Club’s Fourth of July Grand Parade, all starting in Monmouth.
This year, Margaret Johnson will be the Grand Marshal.
“We talk about how much we want to honor the person or people involved,” said Jim Birken, parade committee chairman. “We discuss how much they warrant recognition. This year, the Grand Marshall is Margaret Johnson, and she is representing all of the community volunteers.”
Dallas will mark July Fourth with Freedomfest and the revival of its barbecue contest. It was not part of the 2016 celebration, so Freedomfest founder Beth Jones stepped in to bring it back.
This year pits six amateur smoker teams against each other.
“We are opening it up to something that embraces everybody,” Jones said.
Freedomfest opens in Dallas City Park at 3 p.m. with the contest, a beer garden, vendors and live music. At 6 p.m. it moves to Roger Jordan Community Park for more live music, food truck vendors and, of course, fireworks.