Fire up the grill and break out the beer: Independence Day is right around the corner. In Whatcom County, 4th of July fireworks shows light up the night from Bellingham to Blaine, with more than enough local craft brews to go around. Here’s where to celebrate our nation’s independence — beer in hand.
This is the big one. Head down to Zuanich Point Park for all-day festivities, kicking off with a “Hoop it Up” basketball tournament at 11 am. The live music starts at 12:30 pm, followed by the opening of the beer garden at 2 pm. That’s when things really start to pick up. Rock out to local bands Chris Eger Band and Baby Cakes all afternoon, with familiar funk and rock covers to keep the toes tappin’. Fireworks start at dusk (around 10:30pm).
Insider tip: get there early. Parking at Zuanich is limited and never fails to fill up on the 4th. Walk, bike, carpool, or ride the free shuttle. Passenger shuttles will run from 1pm through 11pm, picking up passengers at Bellingham High School ( 2020 Cornwall Avenue). Most importantly, don’t drink and drive!
Prefer front-row fireworks seats — in actual seats? It doesn’t get any better than the waterfront terrace at Hotel Bellwether. This BBQ kicks off at 6pm, with live music by The Atlantics starting at 7 p.m. Best of all, admission is free. I’m personally considering checking the BBQ out this year, as Bellwether’s Lighthouse Bar & Grill features a good selection of local brews on tap.
Taking place every Thursday throughout the summer, Bellwether’s Blues Brews, and BBQ series typically charges a modest $5 cover for access to the tunes. However, there will be no cover charge on the 4th of July. Freedom is free!
Go all-American in Lynden on Independence Day with this big rig Truck Meet. Beginning at 10 am with a BBQ cook-off, the Overflow Taps beer garden will be flowing all day from 10 am to 5 pm. Featuring one of the finest taplists in the county outside Bellingham, Overflow is always a solid choice for Pacific Northwest pints. Check out the Truck Meet and Greet at high noon, followed by live music. Then consider heading out to Blaine for the fireworks.
Blaine’s 16th annual Independence Day celebration is an all-day affair. Start with a pancake breakfast at 8 am, followed by the noon parade. Hundreds of classic cars will line the streets, and live music will play all day. Did I mention the beer? Beer garden doors open at 11 a.m. and stay that way until 5 pm, ensuring plenty of time for sampling. Fireworks over the bay begin at dusk (around 10:15 pm).
Of course, there are many other fine places to enjoy a brew with a view on the 4th. Gruff Brewing boasts “the best fireworks view in town” from their spacious beer garden. Try bayside breweries and restaurants like Chuckanut Brewery, who invites visitors to celebrate every year, and The Loft.
Be sure to call in advance, in case reservations are required. Or take to the water — both San Juan Cruises and Schooner Zodiac are offering dinner cruises, complete with local beer offerings and a closeup view of the fireworks over Bellingham Bay.
Have a safe, fun, and festive 4th. Cheers!