Mariposa Life

There’s lots to do while celebrating Fourth of July

Celebrating America’s birthday is still enjoyed by families and communities across the country. Here are a few events you might want to include in your weekend plans:

The fireworks show “Lights on the Lake” will be presented at Lake McClure on Saturday, July 2, around 9 p.m. (or dusk).

The designated parking areas will open at 5 p.m. Access to Lake McClure is at the MID Parks kiosk, 9090 Lake McClure Road in Snelling, near the Merced River bridge.

The cost is $20 per vehicle. Visitors may also view the display from their boats. Nighttime navigation laws will apply.

Personal food, beverages, ice, lawn chairs and blankets are welcome, as vendors will not be available. Bringing your own fireworks is not allowed.

For questions, call 209-354-2954 or visit

The annual “Independence Day Spectacular!” will be performed by the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, July 2, at 7 p.m. The concert will be held in the Mariposa County Park Amphitheatre, at 4998 County Park Road.

The MSO is a program of the Mariposa County Arts Council Inc., and is conducted by founder Les Marsden.

This year’s guest musicians will be the Sierra Riders. The band is led by fiddler Tim Johnson and includes his brothers Arnie (guitar) and Keith (double bass), as well as drummer Mark Campos.

The Sierra Riders will get the audience’s toes tapping with western classics such as “Back in the Saddle Again,” “Rawhide,” “San Antonio Rose,” “Red River Valley” and “Ghost Riders.”

Also on the program will be American composer Victor Herbert’s “Irish Rhapsody,” an orchestral suite from the landmark 1927 musical “Show Boat” and a few patriotic tunes.

The world premiere of 14-year-old Matthew Kroeker’s “Unfinished Symphony” will also be presented. Kroeker is the 2016 winner of the Young Master Composers Celebration. His original composition has been orchestrated for performance and recorded on a CD. At the concert he will be awarded a certificate and cash prize.

According to Marsden, the Young Master Composers Celebration is a challenge to Mariposa County residents ages 8-18 to compose their own “classical” music following a set of rules, allowing them to discover musical structure via sonata form.

Congratulations to Kroeker, who is a three-time winner and a member of the Mariposa Symphony Orchestra’s violin section.

Concert tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for students, with discounted rates for Mariposa County Arts Council members. Tickets may be purchased online by visiting the Arts Council’s website at or via the direct link at

Visit or call 209-966-3155 or 800-903-9936 for details.

At the historic state park, Columbia’s Glorious 4th of July Celebration begins with flag-raising and a black-powder musket salute at 11 a.m. on Monday, July 4. Following this, a free concert from the Great Mother Lode Brass and Reed Band will be held, as well as traditional games and the annual Independence Day parade.

Parade registration begins at 10:30 a.m. in front of the Fallon Hotel. Entries of all kinds are welcome to join the procession at noon, but animals should weigh less than 100 pounds, and vehicles only 50 years and older are allowed. The awards ceremony takes place at 2 p.m. at the judges’ stand.

July 4th in Columbia has been a tradition for over 150 years.

Other holiday activities will take place throughout the day and in different areas of the park: egg toss, tug-of-war, greased pole climbing, a cake walk, watermelon and pie-eating contests, the bucket brigade and more. The Columbia Chamber of Commerce requests a $1 donation per person per event.

Guests and Columbia residents are invited to stay for a pulled-pork barbecue at 4 p.m., followed by a town photo.

Space is limited for the meal. The cost is $10 for adults and $6 for children. Pre-sale tickets may be purchased at Brown’s Coffee Shop or the Douglas Saloon in Columbia. Tickets will also be available at the chamber’s information booth on the day of the event.

For more information, see

“This is not a reproduction,” event organizer Mike Keene says. “This is small-town America doing what it does best.”

Debbie Croft writes about life in the foothill communities. Follow her on Twitter @ghostowngal or email her at