Whether it’s making crafts, listening to the blues, marching in a parade or watching exploding lights in the sky, there’s no mistaking this weekend is all about celebrating our nation’s independence. Grab your American flags, decorate those little red wagons and read on for our top event picks. Don’t forget to check out our complete roundup of fireworks shows and rodeos by clicking here. Happy 4th!

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West Side

Sing the Blues Away at The Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival
This music extravaganza is by far and away one of the biggest Independence Day events in Portland proper. Over the weekend, it features dozens of local and national live bands, delicious food and a fireworks show on the Fourth. Fireworks begin at 10:05 p.m. on Saturday, July 4th, but you’ll want to show up early to stake out a good spot on the grass. Fri.-Sun., various start times (see website for schedule), $10/day suggested donation; free for kids 5 & under, All Ages. Event details.

Strut Your Stuff at the Star Spangled Parade and Celebration
Don your patriotic colors, decorate your wagons and stroll down A Avenue in the spectacular parade, led by a Lake Oswego Fire Engine, featuring an authentic Fife & Drum Band, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, classic cars and more. Keep an eye out for Mayor, Kent Studebaker and Lake Oswego City Councilors. Join the Farmers’ Market at the parade’s conclusion at Millennium Plaza Park with Dixieland music by Dick Saunders and the Sucker Creek Band and the annual pie-eating contest. Sat., 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

East Side

Craft Up Some Patriotic Pinwheels
Drop in to make patriotic pinwheels, just in time for the July 4th weekend. All supplies and instruction will be provided. Fri., noon-5 p.m., Free, All Ages. Event details.

Bumpy Boatloads of Fun at Oaks Park
Fireworks begin at dusk for the Pepsi Alcohol-Free Fireworks Spectacular, but come early to take your little ones on some super-fun rides first. The carnival ride wristband is valid all day long. Bigger/taller kids have the most choices, but there are plenty of rides for even the smallest of thrill seekers. Rides, like the bumpy boats, the honking cars, the fighter air planes, the nauseating tug boat (whoa, mama, it’ll make you sea sick), the Tilt-a-Whirl, the kid roller coaster and the little train ride. If they’re ready for a break, take them for a game of mini golf or to the rink for a little roller skating. Sat., 10 a.m.-midnight, $2-$5/person, All Ages. Event details.

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Ft. Vancouver Delivers the Boom
The Fort Vancouver Fireworks Display is said to be the largest fireworks display west of the Mississippi. Located just on the other side of the bridge in Washington State, your family will be amazed with how huge, yet intimate, this show feels. Plus, they have family friendly activities to enjoy all day long, like gunny sack races and kids painting themselves red, white and blue to march in the Kids’ Patriotic Parade at 4 p.m., so go early and spend the day hanging out. Buy food there, or bring your own picnic feast. Ride your bike if you can to avoid parking fees and traffic. Sat., 8 a.m.-10:05 p.m., $5-$7/person; free for kids 12 & under; $10 parking, All Ages. Event details.

What’s your family up to this weekend? Let us know in the Comments below!

–Suzie Ridgway