Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Boyne City, Bay Harbor, and Alanson

Where to Watch Fireworks on the 4th of July

A wiener dog race, a steel drum band, and a whole lot more fun. The Petoskey area is made up of several communities with fun festivities for the Fourth of July holiday! Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Boyne City, and Bay Harbor all have unique celebrations and events that you will want to experience at least once. Once you experience one, you will want to come back and experience another location’s unique celebration. Read on to see what each of our communities offers for the holiday!



Petoskey’s Fourth of July celebration takes place on the fourth of July each year and is packed with festivities like a parade, live entertainment, and goes with a ‘bang’ of a grand fireworks display at dusk (about 10:30 PM).

The Parade

Petoskey’s Fourth of July Parade takes place in the evening, typically, and begins at Petoskey High School, runs down Petoskey’s Gaslight Shopping District – Mitchell Street, across Petoskey Street to Lake Street makes a right up Lake Street and ends at the gazebo in Pennsylvania Park in the heart of downtown. Parade entries you won’t want to miss are the popular Petoskey Steel Drum Band (made up of Petoskey students) – think double-decker trailer full of Caribbean steel drums and vocals as well as the award-winning Petoskey High School Marching Band.

Where should you plan to view the Petoskey parade? The best parade viewing locations are along Mitchell and Lake Streets in Downtown Petoskey.

Live Entertainment

Following the Petoskey Fourth of July Parade, there will live music near Pennsylvania Park as well as near the Breakwall in Bayfront Park leading up to the Grand Fireworks display at dusk. Just after the parade around 7 PM, the Petoskey Steel Drum Band will perform from their performance trailer. Starting at 7:30 PM the entertainment near the breakwall in the Festival Place (behind the Public Safety Department) will begin. To find out more information about this year’s music check out

The Fireworks

At dusk each year, Petoskey’s Fireworks Show will begin in celebration of Independence Day along the shore of Little Traverse Bay just beyond the restrooms in East Bayfront Park by the Kid’s Fishing Pond.

Where can I watch the fireworks in Petoskey? The best viewing area for the fireworks is in Petoskey’s Bayfront Park – it also tends to be the busiest so it is best to find a parking spot where you can and walk to the park. Other places to try for viewing: Sunset Park, Quarry Park, Arlington Park, Petoskey State Park, some spots along the Little Traverse Wheelway may work too, and the Petoskey Breakwall (be aware of their closing time). Another spot to keep in mind is that in ideal conditions (minimal cloud coverage) you may be able to see the fireworks from your hotel room if you have a window or balcony facing Little Traverse Bay. More about places to stay: HERE.

Looking for a unique spot for viewing the fireworks? How about by boat? If you don’t have a boat or aren’t looking to rent one, the Little Traverse Bay Ferry Co. is offering Fireworks Cruises to view fireworks on the Fourth of July. How cool would that be?!

Bay View

Bay View Association is open to the public to enjoy the grounds, visit and stay at the Terrace Inn & 1911 Restaurant and Stafford’s Bay View Inn. The Fourth of July in Bay View is unique to its surrounding cities as it has a Children’s Bike Parade and a Reading of the Declaration of Independence.

The Events

Bay View Children’s Bike Parade – This unique parade occurs at 10 AM on the Fourth of July. It begins at the Bay View Post Office.

Reading of the Declaration of Independence – At 11 AM on the Fourth of July you can enjoy a reading of the historical text that gives reason behind the Independence Day celebration! THis will happen on the steps of John M. Hall Auditorium.


Harbor Springs

On the same night, just across Little Traverse Bay from Petoskey is Harbor Springs. This small town packs in so many great events this holiday it is truly a small-town fourth celebration and so much fun.

The Parade

The Fourth of July parade in Harbor Springs typically takes place in the early afternoon and is sponsored by the Harbor Springs Chamber of Commerce. The parade runs in a loop: it will begin at City Hall on the east and of Main Street, proceed west on Main Street towards Downtown Harbor Springs, turn left at State Street (at the Johan’s Pastry Shop), then left again at Bay Street (towards Bar Harbor), and returns to City Hall by taking a left at Zoll Street. The chamber advises that placing chairs along the parade route can begin at 7 AM the day of the parade.

The Annual Events

Wiener Dog Races – July 3rd | Just as the name implies, this is a race for Daschund and Daschund mix dogs (wiener dogs) for fun prizes. It is free to register and free to attend! Can’t make the wiener dog races on the 3rd? Don’t worry, many of them will be strutting their stuff in the 4th of July Parade together as well.

Annual Paul Revere 5K & 10 Mile Run – 8 AM | For its 50th year, the Paul Revere 5K & 10 Mile Run is back in beautiful Downtown Harbor Springs. The 5K & 10 Mile Run have different but equally beautiful routes. The 5K route is an out-and-back starting in front of Harbor Springs Municipal Marina on Bay Street. You then head towards Wequetonsing along Bay Street and take a slight left on Pennsylvania Drive. Turning back along the lake on Beach Drive. For full details and 10 Mile route check out the event website. Registration is required and if you register by June 20th you will receive a 50th Anniversary Paul Revere Run shirt. This event raises money for the Harbor Springs Track and Cross-Country teams.

Harbor Springs Art in the Park – Community Art Show from 9 AM to 4 PM on July 4th | This event fills Zorn Park in Harbor Springs with 70 artists using a variety of medium: pottery, painting, jewelry, photography, woodcraft, and more.

Street Musique – Thursdays throughout the Summer | Although not always falling on the 4th of July, the summer street music in Downtown Harbor Springs will be happening from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. During Street Musique you can find.

The Fireworks

Just like the Petoskey fireworks, Harbor Springs sets off their fireworks at dusk either before or after they do. Harbor Springs launches their fireworks from a barge just out on the bay.

Where can I watch the fireworks in Harbor Springs? Anywhere with a view of the bay facing downtown’s Zorn Park Beach area. Zorn Park Beach, Zorn Park, from a boat, or the bluff facing the bay near the high school. Another alternative a Fireworks Cruise with the Little Traverse Bay Ferry Company.


Commemorative raft race in Boyne City’s Boyne River Downtown Boyne City.

Boyne City

In 2016 and 2018, they were recognized by USA Today and Good Morning America for their Fourth of July Festivities! You won’t want to miss one of the “Best Fourths of the North”.

The Annual Events

Annual Waterside Art & Craft Fair & Food Trucks – 10 AM – 5 PM on July 3rd & 4th | 70 craft vendors to visit of all sorts of art and crafts. 10 food trucks to choose from if you’re feeling hungry along the way.

Kids Activities: Bounce houses, rock wall, water slides, Decorated Bike Parade, Kids Pie Eating Contest, and more fun.

Annual Independence Day Run – July 4th | 10K and 2-mile fun run along Lake Charlevoix in Boyne City! The race starts and ends in Peninsula Park.

Live Music in Veteran’s Memorial Park 1 – 7 PM July 4th

Annual Duck Race July 4th, 2 PM – 3 PM

Jerry Froats Commemorative Raft Race – July 4th, 2:30 PM – 3 PM | This raft race goes along the Boyne River and is so fun and interactive for spectators. The best views are from Old City Park! For this race, participants decorate homemade rafts – prizes are given for Most Patriotic and Most Creative. If you’re coming to watch, prepare to get WET as participants have been known to bring water blasters.

The Parade

The Grand Parade in Boyne City is on Water and Lake Streets and is full of many well-decorated and entertaining participants, between 70 – 90 entries! One unique thing about the Boyne City 4th of July Parade is the Kids Bike Decorating Contest where kids decorate their bikes/scooters/wagons and are given prizes. Then all of the entrants ride their bikes together in the parade.

Where to watch the parade in Boyne City? On Water Street, On Lake Street near Sunset Park, and along Veterans Park.

The Fireworks

Enjoy their grand fireworks display on Lake Charlevoix at dusk!

Where can I watch the fireworks in Boyne City? From one of the parks along Lake Charlevoix in Boyne City: Peninsula Beach, Sunset Park, Veterans Park, or the marina. Or if you have the vessel to do so, by boat!


A crowd gathers to enjoy the Petoskey Steel Drum Band by the marina in Bay Harbor Village.

Bay Harbor

Bay Harbor Village just minutes from Petoskey via ferry, car, or bike has their Fourth of July festivities over the course of two days. July 3rd marks their fireworks display while the 4th marks their GEM car parade on Main Street.

The Fireworks – July 3rd

The day before Independence Day is traditionally when Bay Harbor Village chooses to do their fireworks display ahead of the nearby towns of Petoskey, Harbor Springs, and nearby Boyne City. The evening starts with a performance by the Petoskey Steel Drum Band (a high school ensemble of steel drum instruments and vocals). This is a crowd favorite because of their energy and it is just downright enjoyable and can be heard from quite a distance. This starts at 7 PM and is later followed by a fireworks display over Lake Michigan.

Where to watch the fireworks in Bay Harbor? Right near the marina, sunset beach in Bay Harbor, Gypsy Distillery Party, Petoskey Breakwall, or Bay Harbor’s East Park.

The Parade – July 4th

This small parade of electric vehicles will be decked out in different themes and will have plenty of candy to hand out to the kids. The parade participants line up at the end of East Beach Street in Bay Harbor and proceed through the downtown area. The best area is to watch all of the fun entries is in the main downtown area along Main Street.



The Village of Alanson celebrates the Fourth of July with a parade featuring many local entries and candy for the kids. Check out the ice cream stand in front of W.W. Fairbairn & Sons starting at 10 AM. The parade begins at 11 AM and takes place down the main stretch of highway on Alanson’s main street. After the parade, you can stay for a community picnic in the park!

Where to watch Alanson’s parade? In front of one of the downtown businesses or in the Hillside Garden‘s park.


About the author: 

Ellen Auten is a native of the area, and a lover of hiking, snowboarding, foraging, and a great meal. She enjoys promoting the next fun thing to do in the Petoskey Area – but also likes to recommend local favorites and learning opportunities for all. She hopes to help in your planning process for your next trip to the Petoskey Area of northern Lower Michigan.