Independence Day is a popular holiday for family vacations, community celebrations, barbecues, and fireworks, and Phoenix, Arizona, has all the above. From annual gatherings like the Old Fashioned Fourth in Buckeye to day-long events like Wickenburg's Fourth of July Spectacular, the greater Phoenix area and surroundings offer a wide range of ways to celebrate America's birthday.
You can spend your holiday sampling patriotic recipes prepared by local chefs or participating in friendly tournaments against tourists and residents alike. Many are even free to attend. Be aware, however, that guests are not permitted to bring personal fireworks or alcohol to many of these events, in accordance with Arizona firework and liquor laws. Some of Phoenix's Independence Day celebrations have been altered or canceled in 2020 due to public health and safety concerns, so check details below and websites of the organizers for more information.
This event has been canceled in 2020. Every year, the community of Anthem hosts an Independence Day celebration from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with fireworks starting at 9:30 p.m. Anthem, located north of Phoenix, is the perfect place to escape the Independence Day chaos of downtown. The event is free to attend, but there are extra fees to participate in the water slides, rides, and inflatables. There's plenty to eat and see at the event, between the dancing, live music, and subsequent light show.
Free parking is available on the street, in the Community Park parking lots, in the Community Center lot, and at Boulder Creek High School. Attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, and while coolers are permitted, no alcoholic beverages are allowed in the park.
The southeastern Phoenix town of Apache Junction hosts a Hometown Fireworks Celebration every July Fourth. It comprises an entire day of family activities, sporting events, music, and, finally, fireworks. It starts with a co-ed volleyball tournament, which takes place at the Superstition Shadows Aquatic Center at 8 a.m. Spectators must pay pool admission, which is waived for tournament participants, but you'll also get access to public swimming after the match, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In the evening, the gates of the high school football stadium open at 6 p.m. for the main event. Live music, game booths, inflatable bounce houses, water games, bean bag tosses, and prize ponds abound. There's also a bicycle, tricycle, and wagon decorating contest and free watermelon (while supplies last).
Buckeye, located in the West Valley, holds an annual celebration on July Fourth at the Youngker High School. Admission to this community-run event is free, but some of the family-friendly activities do require a small fee to participate. Normally, there would be live music and food, but in 2020, those services have been canceled. There will still be a fireworks show at 8:45 p.m., but guests much watch from their vehicles, following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Parking opens at 7:30 p.m.
Casa Grande: Family Fun Day and Fireworks Spectacular
About 30 minutes south of Chandler, the city of Casa Grande typically invites people to the Palm Island Family Aquatics Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the Paul Mason Sports Complex at 6:30 p.m. for a full day of activities on the Fourth.
In the daytime, folks can enjoy a swim and games for a small fee for Family Swim Day, then head to the Sports Complex for free activities and fireworks in the evening. Fireworks start at 9 p.m. Bring lawn chairs and blankets as well as cash for food vendors, but leave the alcohol and pets at home.
Chandler: July 4th Fireworks Spectacular
Chandler's signature Independence Day celebration takes place at Tumbleweed Park, on the Southwest corner of Germann and McQueen Roads. Entertainment would normally include local bands like School of Rock Sugar Skulls, DJs, the Presentation of Colors by the United States Marine Corps Color Guard, and a light show, but in 2020, the event has been amended to a drive-in fireworks display only. No vendors or activities such as the usual cornhole, photo booth, and giveaways will be featured. The event will take place on July 4 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Florence is one of Arizona's oldest towns, located southeast of the Phoenix area in Pinal County. Its annual Freedom Fest takes place at the Florence Aquatic Center, where revelers can celebrate America's birthday with a swim, cornhole, mud volleyball tournaments, bingo, inflatable toys, and live music. It comes to an end with a 30-minute fireworks show starting at 8:30 p.m. All events are free to attend.
This event has been canceled in 2020. Fountain Park, in the northeast part of the metro Phoenix area, is a great place to celebrate from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the Fourth. Activities and entertainment include live music, bounce houses, a rock climbing wall, prize raffles, and DJ tunes, followed by a closeout firework show starting at 9 p.m. Food vendors sell Italian ice and frozen lemonade to cool attendees down. Parking is available nearby, but several city streets will be closed to traffic for the holiday.
The town of Gilbert—southeast of Phoenix in the East Valley—is home to a great Fourth of July fireworks show, which can be seen from Higley High School. Besides a number of food trucks serving up delicious snacks, this event is pretty simple. In 2020, social distancing guidelines will be in effect, meaning: Attendees must remain within 5 feet of their vehicles unless purchasing food or using the restroom. No more than eight people will be permitted per parking spot. The fireworks can also be seen from Centennial Elementary School, Legacy Traditional Academy, Higley Unified School District Administration Parking Lot, and other sites along Recker and Pecos Road if you'd prefer a more intimate setting.
Goodyear: Star Spangled 4th
Goodyear, located in the West Valley area of Phoenix, hosts an annual Independence Day event at Goodyear Ballpark on Independence Day from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. If you'd like to spend the whole day at the ballpark, you could also buy tickets to the Perfect Game Baseball Tournament that will run from morning through early afternoon.
The Star Spangled 4th event is free and features a water slide, bounce houses, live music, a hot dog eating contest for adults, and a 20-minute firework display to end the night. Normally, guests would be encouraged to bring blankets, seat cushions, and towels (or rent out one of the air-conditioned Goodyear Ballpark Luxury Suites for the event), but in 2020, attendees must stick around their vehicles to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Entertainment for the night will be livestreamed via social media and on KNIX 102.5.
Litchfield Park celebrates the Fourth of July with an annual Splash Bash at the Recreation Center downtown from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. This community-sponsored event does require an admission of $3 per person unless you have a Litchfield Park pool pass. There are also food and beverages available for purchase, but attendees are not allowed to bring in liquor, coolers, or large amounts of prepared food (snacks are okay). Afterward, there's a fireworks show at The Wigwam resort.
Maricopa: Great American Fourth
Maricopa's Great American Fourth celebration takes place at Copper Sky Regional Park, right across from the aquatic center, and includes a community barbecue from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. There's a Kid's Zone with water toys, bounce houses, and family-friendly activities as well as a beer garden for adults and music performances appropriate for all ages. Finally, a fireworks show closes out the night. The City of Maricopa provides complimentary shuttle service for this event to cut down on traffic, but limited parking will be available on-site. You can bring lawn chairs, blankets, and small coolers, but no cooking or grilling is allowed so you should bring extra cash for the food vendors.
The main draw of the West Valley is Peoria's annual All-American Festival, which has been providing patriotic entertainment to the town for over 35 years. The All-American Festival returns to the Peoria Sports Complex this year, but the City of Peoria is slated to announce "a new twist" to follow CDC regulations.
Usually, the All-American Festival features a cornhole tournament, kids' entertainment, a water zone, food eating contests, food and beer concessions, and plenty of family-friendly activities throughout the event. Fireworks start at 9:15 p.m. Admission is free but some activities have an additional fee.
Phoenix: Fabulous Phoenix 4th
The Annual Fabulous Phoenix 4th has been canceled in 2020. It normally takes place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Steele Indian School Park and features one of the largest firework shows in the Southwest. There are two full stages for nonstop live music, food and beverage vendors, arts and crafts activities, interactive exhibits, and a classic car display as well as a kid's area with inflatables, rides, and a water spray park.
Tolleson's annual Independence Day celebration takes place at the Veterans Park from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Featuring family fun, cookie-eating contests, a cheeseball toss, live music, water slides, and a full fireworks show, this free local event is a great way to spend the holiday just outside of Phoenix. Parking is free, but there will also be a shuttle service provided between lots a little further from the park entrance. Food and beverage will be available for purchase, so bring cash.
Wickenburg is in the far northwest part of the Valley of the Sun, and this Wild West town will continue to host its annual Fourth of July Spectacular in 2020, but with a few modifications. Activities traditionally include open pool hours at the Wickenburg Municipal Swimming Pool, music and games, and evening activities at Sunset Park such as carnival games, crafts, water slides, and a big firework show. This year, the full day of activities has been canceled, but attendees can still enjoy the light show from their cars at 9 p.m.