Ways to celebrate the Fourth of July in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Coralville

Fourth of July fireworks at the end of Iowa City Jazz Fest, July 1, 2018. — photo by Abby Evans

Activities are plentiful for anyone looking to celebrate Fourth of July in the CRANDIC. Enjoy the sunny weekend with the Freedom Festival in Cedar Rapids, Jazz Fest in Iowa City, 4thFest in Coralville — or festival hop and try to make it to all three.

Cedar Rapids

The Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival is having its festival finale this weekend. Events have been going on since mid-June.


This year’s Music at the Museum — a concert at the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library — will be virtual. Attendees will be able to watch the Pork Tornadoes perform from the comfort of their own homes. The two-hour concert will be streamed on Facebook beginning at 7 p.m. on Saturday.


The celebrations on Sunday will kick off in the morning with a drive-through pancake breakfast at the ImOn Ice Arena beginning at 8 a.m. and going until noon. The to-go breakfast meals will be $5 each and include pancakes, sausages, granola bar, banana and orange juice. Cash or Venmo are the two accepted forms of payment.

Then, head over to the Freedom Festival car show, which will be held at the Kernels upper parking lot from 8 a.m. to noon. Day of registration for anyone wanting to be entered will begin at 7 a.m., and there will be awards for six special categories.

Celebrations will conclude with fireworks in downtown Cedar Rapids. This will be the largest fireworks show the festival has produced. The best viewing spots — the 2nd Avenue Bridge and McGrath Amphitheatre — will open at 7 p.m.

Fireworks over the Old Capitol. — photo by Adrianne Behning via Flickr

Iowa City

The Iowa City Jazz festival will feature live jazz performances and food all day on Friday and Saturday. The two stages will showcase both well-known and up-and-coming jazz musicians. A full schedule of performances can be found online.

The jazz festivities will conclude with fireworks at the Old Capitol at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday. The best viewing spot is either from the Pentacrest or at the intersection of Clinton Street and Iowa Avenue.


The city of Coralville’s 4thFest is filled with events for everyone. From a carnival to lumberjack show to fireworks, of course, there will be plenty to do this weekend.


Friday’s events will begin at 4:30 p.m. at St. Morrison Park with artist Jack Dreyer who will transform hundreds of speed cubes into a large mural. Dreyer will be at the park until 8 p.m.

From 5 p.m. until dark, there will be a carnival at the Aquatic Center parking lot, 1513 7th St.

And the night will conclude with free grilled food and music from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. The music will be played by DJ Ron, and there will also be children’s activities from the Iowa Children’s Museum. There will also be outdoor games and a lumberjack camp.


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Saturday’s agenda will be similar to Friday. The carnival will be open from noon to dark, and there will be food for purchase. There will also be lumberjack shows and lumberjack camps throughout the day. (A list of times can be found online.)

Dreyer will be back at 4 p.m. to work on the mural. The night will conclude with two free outdoor concerts. Opening the show will be the Danny Whitson Band at 6:30 p.m., and Josh Turner will perform at 8 p.m.


A pancake breakfast will kick off the last day of 4thFest. The $5 to-go breakfast can be picked up at the Coralville Recreation Center, and will include pancakes, sausage, syrup and juice. The breakfast will begin at 8 a.m. and end when food runs out.

The 4thFest Parade will begin at noon. This year’s theme celebrates the Iowa River Power building. The parade will start and end at the intersection of 9th Street and 22nd Avenue. The parade route and information on the best places to watch the parade can be found online.

The carnival will once again be open from noon to dark, and there will be food and other vendors.

Throughout the day there will be performances, bingo, games and crafts at St. Morrison Park. There will be a reading of the Declaration of Indepence at 7:30 p.m. followed by a performance by the Iowa City Community Band at 8:30 p.m.

The celebration will wrap up with fireworks at the park. Individuals can watch the fireworks starting at 9:45 p.m. in person or watch a livestream on Facebook.

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