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Mon Valley communities announce Fourth of July events

| Thursday, July 3, 2014, 3:46 a.m.

A lot of holidays, when they are all said and done, don't amount to much more than an excuse to have a day off from work.

Not so for the Fourth of July, which truly is a red letter day for most Americans. Staying home and doing nothing is an option, but it's hard to avoid the allure of parades, patriotic events, concerts and fireworks displays.

And who can turn their nose up at the scene of a neighbor's backyard barbecue?

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, 64 percent of Americans polled about this year's holiday indicated they will celebrate with a cookout, barbecue or picnic.

The foundation says that amounts to about $6.2 billion spent on food nationally, or $68.16 per household, on holiday food items.

Nearly 44 percent of all survey respondents indicated they plan to celebrate Independence Day by attending a community celebration or fireworks display.

There will be a number of such events happening locally.

McKeesport will have its annual Fourth of July celebration in Renziehausen Park on Friday, starting with a concert by the band Treasure at the Lions Bandshell at 7 p.m., followed by the fireworks show after dark.

Annette James from the McKeesport mayor's office said the event is free and open to the public with parking available near the band shell and in the park. James said concessions will be provided by the Lions Club of McKeesport and will include grill favorites like kielbasa, hot dogs and pulled pork sandwiches.

James noted the Lions Club will be collecting used eyeglasses for the needy at the concert and selling brooms made by the blind to benefit the sight impaired.

The band shell in Renziehausen Park will play host to the soul act Sputzy on Sunday at 7 p.m., an event that is part of the city's ongoing summer Concerts in the Park series.

In Glassport, there will be a Fourth of July celebration and balloon release at American Legion Post 443 beginning at 2 p.m. The event is open to the public.

The balloon ceremony is designed to honor or memorialize a loved one, according to post officials. It costs a dollar to buy a balloon and proceeds benefit veterans. The American Legion event will feature party favorites like a 50/50 raffle, food, prizes and a bake sale.

The Penns Woods Civic Association will be putting on its annual fireworks display in Penns Woods Park in North Huntingdon Township at dusk on Friday.

Kennywood amusement park in West Mifflin is already in the midst of its annual Celebrate America event.

The park will present fireworks shows by Pyrotechnico of New Castle on a nightly basis through Sunday as well as a full slate of events inside the park throughout the day, including a hot dog eating contest on Thursday at 2 p.m. and a performance by the Elizabeth Forward Area Community Chorus on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Kennywood spokesman Jeff Filicko noted discount evening admission rates are available. Details are available on the park's website.

The Monongahela Area Chamber of Commerce and Peoples Natural Gas Co. will present fireworks and other entertainment at the Monongahela Aquatorium on Friday. The event begins at 6 p.m., with fireworks starting at 9:45.

The EQT Flashes of Freedom fireworks display will be at the Point in Pittsburgh on Friday at 9:35 p.m. The show features displays by Zambelli Fireworks and is part of the city's Three Rivers Regatta. The show will be broadcast on WPXI Channel 11.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.