FORT PAYNE- Several events offering a variety of free family fun are on tap atop Lookout Mountain in celebration of the upcoming Independence Day holiday. The star-studded celebrations begin Thursday, June 30 and activities range from a flag-making contest and ice cream social to fireworks and a festival centered around potatoes.
DeSoto State Park offers its annual star-spangled celebration beginning with the Splish and Splash Pool Party Friday, June 30 (weather permitting). From 6:30 to 9 p.m., visitors are invited to cool off in the Olympic-size pool, play pool games and eat homemade ice cream. Admission is $1 per person.
DeSoto State Park invites all ages to put on their creative hat and participate in a flag-making contest. Materials to create the flags and flag-making rules will be available at the campground pavilion in the Improved Campground starting June 29. Flags can be turned in at DeSoto’s Nature Center any day that week up until 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 1 to be judged.
Hitting the streets at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 1 is the Independence Day Parade and guests are invited to ride along in a decorated vehicle. The parade route begins at DeSoto State Park’s headquarters and makes its way to DeSoto’s Improved Campground, just in time for the homemade ice cream social that is set for 4 p.m. at the Campground Pavilion. Those who want to participate in the parade are asked to meet at DeSoto State Park’s headquarters at 2:45 p.m. During the homemade ice cream social, guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs and their own favorite recipe for homemade ice cream to share while mingling with other guests. Flag making contest winners will also be announced at this time. (Please note parade and ice cream social are subject to cancellation if inclement weather.)
The city of Fort Payne lights up the night sky with its annual fireworks show. The Fort Payne City Fireworks Show is scheduled for July 3, 2023. Time and location to be announced in the coming weeks.
With its roots in potato farming, the town of Henagar pays tribute to its heritage with a free festival on July 4. The Sand Mountain Potato Festival begins with a patriotic parade at 10 a.m., and throughout the day, Henagar Park will be buzzing with activities including the annual cornhole tournament, volleyball tournament, antique car show, antique tractor show and games for the kids along with craft vendors from all over the Southeast and food vendors featuring potato-inspired dishes. Live entertainment includes a mixture of southern gospel, country, bluegrass and modern hits performed by local favorites. The day-long event concludes with a spectacular fireworks display. All activities are held in Henagar Park located at 18200 Alabama Highway 75. Additional information is available at https://visitlookoutmountain.
After all of the fourth of July celebrations, switch gears from patriotism and fireworks to Christmas and gliding on ice and check out Christmas in July as the Rotary Pavilion is transformed into a synthetic ice rink for ice skating. From July 10 to July 23, 2023, the Rotary Pavilion in downtown Fort Payne will be decorated like Christmas at the beach where Santa Claus is vacationing and resting until it is time to begin preparations for the holiday season. Hours for ice skating are Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $10/person for one hour which includes the skate rental (no outside skates are allowed on the synthetic rink). Children must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call Fort Payne Main Street at 256-996-2131.
For more information on the above events or on additional things to do in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in northeastern Alabama, visit www.VisitLookoutMountain.com or call DeKalb Tourism at 888.805.4740.
Media Release/John Dersham, President & CEO/DeKalb Tourism