What’s the Fourth of July without fireworks?

I grew up in a pretty rural area of Montana, and most of my childhood memories of Independence Day involve lighting things on fire and watching them explode.

Unfortunately, that’s a big no-no inside Missoula city limits. But, if you’re planning to spend the Fourth here in the Garden City, there are a few options for viewing — but not lighting — fireworks.

Southgate Mall will host its annual Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular beginning at 9 p.m. with live music, the presentation of colors and the national anthem. The fireworks display will begin at 10:30 p.m.

It’s a popular event, and there is plenty of room for everyone to enjoy the show. Viewers are encouraged to bring their own seating, which can be set up in the mall parking lot in front of Bob Ward and Sons. Concessions and special 3D fireworks glasses will be available for purchase at stands operated by local Boy Scouts.

And for all you Bitterrooters out there, the city of Hamilton recently announced it is going forward with its annual fireworks display despite a lack of funding in the early stages of planning. The city was able to raise about $7,000 of the $10,000 required to put on the show, and city officials decided to go ahead and order the supply of fireworks. They are making a final push for community donations to make up for the financial shortfall.

The show will be held at sundown at the Ravalli County Fairgrounds.

The Missoula Osprey baseball team will celebrate Independence Day a little early this year, as they host the Billings Mustangs at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, July 3 at Ogren Park at Allegiance Field. Following the game, fans are invited to stick around for the annual Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza.

If you can’t make it to the game, you can get a pretty good view of the fireworks from the parking lot of the Safeway on West Broadway.

Remember, it is illegal to ignite fireworks inside city limits (the above entities have special permits to do so). To make a fireworks complaint, call 258-4850.

Be safe, and have a great Fourth of July!

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.

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