Independence Day In Little Rock

Fireworks Display
••• David H. Lewis/Getty Images

Most cities around Arkansas have fireworks displays on the fourth and most state parks have something going on, including Petit Jean, Degray, Pinnacle and Mount Nebo.  Hot Springs has a nice fireworks display too. There are many options to choose from all over the state. I am going to focus on the metro area, which is Little Rock and the few cities in its immediate vicinity.

The fourth is on a Monday in 2016.

Arkansas has a general fireworks law that states all firework vendors must obtain a state license and follow certain restrictions, including prohibitions against selling fireworks to anyone under the age of 12 or to anyone who appears to be intoxicated.

Only “Class C” fireworks are permitted for use, and they can only be sold from June 20 to July 10 and from Dec. 10 to Jan. 5. Each product must be labeled “I.C.C. Class C Common fireworks.” The class includes Roman candles, skyrockets, helicopter-type rockets, cylindrical fountains, cone fountains, wheels, illuminating torches, mines and shells, firecrackers and salutes.

However, cities can restrict usage.  It is illegal to possess fireworks in the Little Rock city limits.  Little Rock Code Section 18-103 says no person shall possess, sell, manufacture or use fireworks except in accordance with the fire prevention code.  The Little Rock Fire Department suggests you visit one of the many professional displays being put on for the holiday.

  It's easier and safer.  Laws in other Central Arkansas cities vary.

Here are some great places you can watch a fun firework display or participate in another Independence day activity.  There are two events featuring a reading of the Declaration of Independence.  One is at the Historic Arkansas Museum in downtown Little Rock, the other is at Historic Washington State Park in Washington.

  Both of those parks are putting on fun, living history events to celebrate.  Historic Wasington State Park is the Saturday before the fourth.

  • Free Day at the Clinton Library: On July 4, the Clinton Presidential Center is celebrating Independence Day with free admission.  You also get to see "American Champions: The Quest for Olympic Glory" for free.  This is the newest traveling exhibit at the library.
  • Pops on the River: Bring chairs or blankets to Riverfront Park. The gates open at 5:30 p.m. There is music from 5:30 and fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. The Arkansas symphony plays patriotic music to go along with the display. There are also other activities and a marketplace earlier in the day.  The other festivities starts at Noon. It is a free event on July 4th.

  • Fireworks at Dickey Stephens Park: The Travs are playing Midland, they also have special entertainment, fireworks and concessions.  This is a nice, relaxing setting to view a professional fireworks display. Starts at 6 p.m.

  • Maumelle Celebration: Maumelle has a parade, a cardboard boat race, vendors and a fireworks display at Lake Willastein. Fireworks start after the band, the band starts at 8 p.m. Parade starts at 4:30 p.m.  The fireworks here are pretty nice because they reflect in the lake.
  • Frontier Forth at Historic Arkansas Museum: An old-time parade and pioneer games.  They also read the Declaration of Independence. 

  • Firecracker Fast 5k: Fun 5k, registration at FleetFeetEasyRunner.com.   This is one of the most popular 5ks of the year and it is lots of fun.  Kids get a medal and the first 50 finishers get firecrackers.

  • Reading of the Declaration of Independence at Historic Washington State Park: This event occurs on July 2. Hear the Declaration of Independence read as was commonly done in the 19th century at the 1874 Courthouse Visitor Center. Afterwards, sign your own “John Hancock” to a copy of the Declaration that you may keep to take home. Event will take place at 10:30, 1:30, and 3:30.

  • Lake Hamilton Celebration:  See a professional fireworks display over Hot Spring's Lake Hamilton.  It starts at 8 p.m.  This is a great atmosphere for a fireworks display if you don't mind driving to Hot Springs.