Avoid the summer time blues this year by enjoying the best of what’s around. For those living in the Chesterfield/Richmond area, the recreational mecca that it is, there is no shortage of ways to both endure and enjoy the hot summer months ahead of us. Whether you’re looking to keep the out-of-school kiddies entertained – yet intellectually stimulated – or hoping to get in shape and enjoy the outdoors while the colder months are light-years away, staying local for your summer adventures could, for many, be the way to go.
Nothing shines like summer more than celebrating the Fourth of July with friends and family and experiencing a splendid fireworks show. Numerous locations in the surrounding area are planning to accommodate thousands of Americans during the holiday weekend, and are offering different kinds of people a variety of shows and parades to experience.
To start off the summer, consider the following choices in looking for exciting ways to spend your Independence Day.
Chesterfield County Fourth of July Celebration
Stay in town if the mood strikes you, and enjoy food, fun, lots of activities for the kids and free fireworks at the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds, located on Courthouse Road, directly across the road from L.C. Bird High School. Performing will be the Kings of Swing. There will also be a kids’ area and a visit from Jonathan the Juggler. Gates open at 5 p.m., with fireworks beginning at dark. Blankets and chairs are recommended; alcohol, glass bottles, pets and personal fireworks are prohibited. The event is a popular one so parking is limited and scattered. Roads close to the fairgrounds at 9 p.m. For more details, call Meghan Coates at 796-7045.
Colonial Heights fireworks, July 4
Experience this 30-minute fireworks show off Charles Dimmock Parkway; the best viewing spots are off Interstate 95, Exit 53 or Exit 54 from in the Southgate Square area at Southpark Mall. Those attending may bring blankets and lawn chairs to the free event. The show starts at 9:15 p.m. Rain date is Tuesday, July 5.
Fireworks at Busch gardens July 2-4
For a little theme-park action with your July 4th fireworks experience, visit Busch Gardens in Williamsburg as they throw three nights of consecutive fireworks to celebrate the holiday. The fireworks extravaganza begins nightly at 9:30 p.m. each night. Single day tickets are $63.99 adults, $53.99 for kids. The theme park can be reached by phone: (800) 343-7946, and is located at One Busch Gardens Blvd. in Williamsburg, Va. 23185. Also, for more information, visit their website at www.buschgardens.com 
“Nights of Fire” at King’s Dominion July 2-4 For the Independence Day Weekend, fireworks at Kings’ Dominion will last 15 minutes each night, starting at 10 p.m. Also, Kings Dominion will be offering a “Tribute to the Armed Forces” with free admission to active duty, retired and former members of the Armed Forces on Sunday, July 3, and Monday, July 4. Regular admission is $58.99 for adult and $37.99 for seniors.The park is located at 16000 Theme Park Way, Doswell, Va. 23047. For more information, call (804) 876-5000 or visit their website at www.kingsdominion.com .
Racing to the stars and stripes at Colonial Downs July 2-3
After watching and wagering nine horse races starting at 5 p.m., a track-side concert will begin at 9 p.m. just prior to the night’s fireworks at 9:45 p.m. From 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., a family-themed “After Party” will run, featuring free ice cream, magician Jonathan Austin, a flat-screen TV giveaway, a hot-dog eating contest and more. Admission is $2. Trackside “Blast Zone” umbrella tables are available for $40, and include four reserved seats, four hot dogs and four soft drinks. The track is located at 10515 Colonial Downs Pkwy in Providence Forge, Va. For more information, contact 966-7223, or visit their website at www.colonialdowns.com .
RVA fireworks on the James, July 3
Experience a fireworks display over the James River from Brown’s Island for this brand new event. Held a day early to avoid interference with fireworks at Dogwood Dell on the Fourth of July, RVA fireworks will include entertainment and food vendors. The public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m.
Fireworks at The Diamond,
Catch a fireworks extravaganza after a Minor League Baseball game as our Flying Squirrels take on the Trenton Thunder. Tickets sell out quickly, so purchase tickets early. For additional information, call the Richmond Flying Squirrels Ticket Office at 804-359-FUNN (3866).
Fireworks and concerts at Dogwood Dell, July 4
Located in Richmond’s Bird Park, Dogwood Dell is a 2,400 seat amphitheatre that since 1956 has been home to the Festival of Arts. For this Fourth of July, Dogwood Dell will host free concerts and fireworks. The public is encouraged to bring blankets and picnics. The schedule for the day is:
5 p.m.: Kidz in Da Biz (hip hop)
6 p.m.: Sharon North (jazz)
7 p.m.: Carillon Bell concert
7:30 p.m.: Richmond Concert
Band performs patriotic music, including the 1812 Overture with cannon fire and live carillon bells.
The performances will be followed by a free Fireworks Extravaganza! For more information, call 646-1437 or call the Dell hotline at 646-DELL.