Fireworks & fun on tap for July 4th

New Orleans, La. - The Fourth of July is being celebrated throughout the metro area, with fireworks, festivals, food and fun.    In New Orleans, there are several big events scheduled.  Essence Festival kicks off it's big celebration, with its first-ever "Family Reunion Day".  The event kicked off at 11 a.m. at Woldenberg Riverfront Park.  The event will include live music by bands that include Biz-Markis, the Brassholics, Cupid and Doug E Fresh.  The music will continue until 6 PM.

After that, people will begin gathering for tonight's big  firework show along the river, the 23rd annual Go 4th on the River Dueling Barges Fireworks Show. The fireworks extravaganza begins at  9:00 p.m.   This unique salute to America's Independence will feature a fireworks display from two barges over the Mighty Mississippi (between Gov. Nichols St. Wharf and the Canal St. Dock.

You'll also be able to watch the Dueling Barges Fireworks Show while enjoying music on the  West Bank.  A special 4th of July Concert has been added to the Algiers Summer Concert Series.  at 200 Morgan Street along the river.  The musical lineup includes Johnny Sketch & The Dirty Notes (New Orleans Rock), Egg Yolk Jubilee (New Orleans Funk) and Diablo Horns (Brass/Latin).

Back on the east bank is the Bucktown Bash, a one-day festival of food, family-fun, music, kite flying, and the history of the lake area neighborhood. The festival kicked off at noon with the Blessing of the Fleet, a time honored tradition to ensure a safe and bountiful fishing season. The event then kicks into high gear with live music featuring local and national artists.

The music schedule at the Bucktown Bash is: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue; 1:50 to 2:50, Christian Serpas and Ghost Town; 3:20 to 4:30, The Bucktown All-Stars; 4:50 to 6:05, Wet Willie; and 6:35 to 7:50, The Grass Roots. Admission is $5 at the gate and children 12 and under are admitted free.

There will also be a fireworks show tonight in Kenner.  The City of Kenner and Treasure Chest Casino will sponsor fireworks over Lake Pontchartrain at 9 p.m. at Laketown.

In St. Bernard, the celebration will be held at Torres Park at 8201 W. Judge Perez Dr. in Chalmette. St. Bernard Salutes America will be held from 1 to 10 p.m. and will feature a hot dog eating contest, crafts, food, face painting, and a fireworks spectacular are planned.     Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys and Band Camp will provide music.   The fireworks display will begin at 8:30 p.m. Admission is free.

On the North Shore, there are several events planned.  The Slidell Heritage Festival will be held from 3 p.m. until 11 p.m. at Slidell Heritage Park for its 16th season.   Four bands will be playing at this year's festival. Tout Les Soir will be playing from 3:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. Voodoo Gumbo will be playing from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. Janie Fricke will be playing from 7:30 p.m. until 9 p.m. Contraflow will be playing from 9:30 p.m. until 11 p.m.   At 9 p.m., a fireworks show will commence with music presented by the Northlake Performing Arts Society.

In Covington Bicentennial Celebration, featuring fireworks, music, games, food and more is taking place at the Bogue Falaya Park, 213 Park Drive.  It begins at 4 PM and features  historical character portrayals, opening of the Sesquicentennial Time Capsule, games from our past, crafts, souvenirs, face-painting, caricature artist, old-time photo booth, preparation of the Bicentennial Time Capsule, and more.  The event is free and open to the public. Bring your picnic blankets and lawn chairs.

The Mandeville City Seafood Festival, a 3-day event, kicks off on July 4th at Fontainebleau State Park.  The fest, featuring music, food, crafts and more goes from noon until midnight on Thursday and 6 PM - midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Independence Day will also be celebrated out at Zephyrs Stadium, where the Zephyrs are taking on the Oklahoma City RedHawks,   The game starts at 6 PM and will be capped off with a spectacular postgame fireworks show.  After that, fans can stick around for a Local Option II concert.