Bring Fourth the fun: New Jersey shore events for the family

9-year-old Joseph Richard lands with a splash while chasing a beach ball punched by his friend 10-year-old Matthew Sasso (behind) while playing on the beach in Avalon, June 29, 2014. ( DAVID M WARREN / Staff Photographer )

Many families escape their hometown for a sandy Fourth of July at the shore, yet sometimes forget to plan ahead and figure out what to do. Yes, fireworks are pretty much seen everywhere (especially the boardwalk), but free concerts, festivals, and other patriotic events are abundant this weekend and are not found in the sky. Plan ahead and make way toward these red, white, and blue events during the weekend America was given freedom. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

Wildwood beach-goers are in for a fun weekend as a Patriotic Pooch Parade takes place on Friday, July 4, at 8:45 a.m. between 8th and Atlantic Avenues in North Wildwood. Watch all of your favorite dog breeds in a variety of sizes dressed as little patriots, making way down the street.

What makes patriotic crafts better than Christmas crafts? Well for one thing, you can hang them up all year round, and the best place to find them this year is during the Wildwoods Fourth of July Boardwalk Craft Show. All handmade crafts will be available for purchase and located at the boardwalk on Rio Grande Avenue on Friday, July 4 through Sunday July 6 starting at 9 a.m.

Bikes are all over the place at the shore, but on Friday, July 4 at 10 a.m. not one but two Patriotic Bike Parades will take over select locations in Ocean City for a morning of American peddling and decorative riding. Registration begins at 9 a.m. and participants can either start their ride at the 40th and Asbury Avenue starting point, or the Longport Bride parking lot starting point.

Ben Franklin—one of America’s founding fathers—flew a kite, so it only makes sense to watch a kite flying competition during Ocean City, New Jersey’s Fourth of July Celebration on Friday, July 4. Starting at 7 p.m. kites of all shapes and sizes will soar along the boardwalk.

If you’re in Historic Smithville this weekend, grab a chair and enjoy a Historic Fourth of July Parade on Friday, July 4 at 9 a.m. which starts at Smitty’s Shopping Center, and marches towards the Village Greene parking lot ending at noon.

Although Independence Day is officially over, it doesn’t mean the festivities are. On Saturday, July 5 starting at 8:30 a.m., North Cape May’s Whale of a Day Festival takes place and is packed with entertainment for the whole family featuring local craft vendors, raffle giveaways, and live music.  

Stuck working the holiday but still heading down the shore this weekend? You can relive the Fourth of July festivities on Saturday, July 5 along the bayfront during the Lower Township Independence Festival in Cape May. Beginning at 5 p.m. guests are invited to enjoy free concerts, rides, and entertainment between Lincoln Boulevard and Emerson Avenue followed by a fireworks show at 9 p.m.

As our servicemen protect us, they also entertain us too. On Saturday, July 5 the 63rd Army Band in Avalon will perform a live concert featuring its marching band, ensemble band, and jazz band located at the Avalon Veterans Plaza. The music begins at 7 p.m.