Everyone loves a big birthday bash, right?

Well, the good ol’ U.S. of A. is no exception.

To celebrate its 243rd birthday (you’re lookin’ good, America; have you had work done?), the nation pulls out all the stops, with parades, concerts, hot dog eating contests and, of course, fireworks.

When the Fourth of July lands on a Thursday, the celebrating starts as the weekend opens and carries through the holiday. How else would we fit in all the live music, carnival rides, cotton candy and pool-diving canines?

Here’s the day-by-day scoop on area holiday entertainment:

June 29

Start your Saturday by visiting 0Kenosha’s HarborMarket, open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Second Avenue and 56th Street, with vendors and live entertainment.

Twin Lakes celebrates with Libertyfest. The festival opens at 11 a.m. with the Libertyfest Parade from Legion Park to the festival site in Lance Park. The Aquanuts perform a water-ski show starting at 7:30 p.m., with fireworks starting about 9:30 p.m. Admission is free.

June 30

The annual Firecracker 10K Run & 5K Run/Walk starts Sunday morning in Library Park, 60th Street and Eighth Avenue. The 10K run and the 5K run/walk will both start at 8:30 a.m. The cost is $30. For more details,go to www.kenoshaymca.org. There is no race-day registration; the last day to register for the race is June 29.

The Outdoor Mass is 10 a.m. Sunday on the band shell in Pennoyer Park, at 35th Street and Seventh Avenue. Music starts at 9:30 a.m. Everyone is welcome. Bench seating is available; visitors may also bring lawn chairs.

The Kenosha Civic Veterans Parade steps off at 1 p.m. The parade starts at 22nd Avenue and 63rd Street; goes north to 60th Street and heads east on 60th Street toward the lake. The route then proceeds east on 60th Street, crossing Sheridan Road and goes around the south end of Library Park, then north on Sixth Avenue to 50th Street. Parade announcers and a reviewing stand will be located along Sixth Avenue at Veterans Memorial Park east of City Hall. www.kenosha.org.

The Racine Concert Band plays a free concert 7:30 p.m. Sunday in the Racine Zoo. The concert will feature patriotic selections. Audience members should bring bring lawn chairs or blankets.

July 3

Kenosha’s “Celebrate America” starts at 11 a.m. downtown in the HarborPark area.

The live music at the South Harbor Stage, 57th Street and Third Avenue, features Electro Retro (6 to 8 p.m.) and My Metal Heart (8:30 to 10:30 p.m.) The Rainbow Valley Carnival, featuring an assortment of rides, is open 1 to 11 p.m in the Southport Marina Parking lot.

At the Pennoyer Park Band Shell, Seventh Avenue and 35th Street at the lakefront, the Kenosha Pops Concert Band is playing a program that will include patriotic selections. (The concert also features some tunes from the band’s rained-out nautical-themed concert that was set for June 12.)

At Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill., the theme park’s July 4th Fest runs July 3 through 6, with nightly fireworks, special foods and special ride times. For more details, go to www.sixflags.com/greatamerica

July 4

Kenosha’s “Celebrate America” celebration continues today, bringing loads of free entertainment to the lakefront.

Live music on various stages starts at 11:30 a.m. and goes until right before the fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

The live music at the South Harbor Stage, 57th Street and Third Avenue, features Peter & The Versatiles (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.), Whiskey & Harmony (2:15 to 4:30 p.m.), No Question (5 to 7 p.m.) and Karma Committee (7:45 to 9:15 p.m. and 10 to 10:45 p.m.). Music at the North Shoreline Stage, at 54th Street and Second Avenue along the harbor, features Haley Klinkhammer (1 to 3:30 p.m.), Party Obvious (4:15 to 6:45 p.m.) and Boys and Toys (7:30 to 9:30 p.m.)

The Rainbow Valley Carnival, featuring an assortment of rides, is open noon to 11 p.m in the Southport Marina Parking lot.

The Pier Pups Dock Diving Contest, in a pool set up west of the Civil War Museum, has shows July 4. Jumping starts at 11 a.m., with the final jump at 6 p.m.To register your dog, go to www.pierpups.com. Also dog-related: A Cutest Dog Contest is 2:30 p.m. on the Family Stage west of the Public Museum.

Eating contests on July 4 (west of the Kenosha Public Museum along Second Avenue) feature hot dogs (1 p.m.) and pie (4 p.m.). To sign up for the contests, pick up a form at the Happenings information booth at the event.

The Kenosha Pops Concert Band plays its annual pre-fireworks concert of patriotic favorites starting at 4:15 p.m. in a new location: On the band shell in Pennoyer Park. Note: The Continental Band performs before the Pops, starting at 3:15 p.m.

Live music Thursday at the Pennoyer Park band shell continues from 7 to 9 p.m. with the Saturday June Band. Known for performing original material as well as popular covers, the Saturday June Band features singers Saturday June and Jami Dawn, with Rob Mason on guitar, Jim Glay on drums and Bob Hill on bass.

The Somers Parade steps off at 2 p.m. July 4 on Highway E — with an ice cream social in the Town Hall after the parade.

Racine’s super-long Fourth Fest Parade starts at 9 a.m. from the intersection of Goold and Main streets.

The Naval Station Great Lakes in North Chicago, Ill., hosts a July Fourth festival from 3 to 10 p.m. with live music, food, a carnival, Bingo and children’s activities. Fireworks start about 9:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, go to www.navymwrgreatlakes.com.

July 5

Kenosha’s “Celebrate America” celebration wraps up today downtown at the lakefront.

Live music on two stages starts at noon and goes until midnight.

The live music at the South Harbor Stage, 57th Street and Third Avenue, features Gerald & Camille (1 to 3:30 p.m.), Space Echoes(3:45 to 5:45 p.m.), U.S. Air Force Band of Mid America: Roots in Blue (6:15 to 8:15 p.m.) and Tynan (9 to 11 p.m.). Music at the North Shoreline Stage, at 54th Street and Second Avenue along the harbor, features Hot Mess (12:30 to 2:30 p.m.), Mostly Water (3:15 to 5:15 p.m.), Cap’n Funk & The Groove Train (6 to 8 p.m.) and The Gingers (8:30 to 10:45 p.m.)

Eating contests on July 5 (west of the Kenosha Public Museum along Second Avenue) feature hot dogs (1 p.m.) and pie (4 p.m.). The Cutest Dog Contest is 2:30 p.m.

The Pier Pups Dock Diving Contest, in a pool set up west of the Civil War Museum, has shows July 5. Jumping starts at 9:30 a.m., with the final jump at 5:30 p.m.To register your dog, go to www.pierpups.com.

The Rainbow Valley Carnival is open in the Southport Marina Parking lot.

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