These small-town Fourth of July festivities seemingly buck tradition. But they bring communities together in a spirit of fun and patriotism. If you're looking for something different to do this July 4th, consider one of these distinctly Arizonan Independence Day celebrations.
Frontier Days & World's Oldest Rodeo
Arizona's Independence Day celebrations commence in Prescott, which puts on a grand show with the World's Oldest Rodeo®, accompanied by the state's largest rodeo parade. This isn't the Old West—simply the West—and the cowboys here are as authentic as they come. Grab a seat and glimpse some of the best bull riders, ropers, barrel riders and rodeo clowns at this fabled event. When the competition ends, check out the arts and crafts, rodeo dances, performances and, of course, food. (July 1-7, ticket costs vary)
Independence Day Concert and Festival in the Pines
The Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra hosts this annual afternoon concert outdoors amidst the Ponderosa pines. The entire community is invited to this free and kid-friendly event, which begins around 3 p.m. Bring a blanket, bring the family and enjoy the music. Nearby at Festival in the Pines in Fort Tuthill, more than 150 artists and vendors from across the country display their one-of-a-kind artwork for sale while two stages of musical performances entertain the crowds. (Festival in the Pines runs July 4-6.)
Sidewalk Egg Frying Challenge
It's said the only things in life that are certain are death and taxes. We'd add a third: Arizona's famous summer heat. Just off Route 66, Oatman, a town known more for its roaming donkeys, embraces the high temps with a side of humor. Each July 4th, teams compete to cook the fastest, "most edible" egg in under 15 minutes. The rules are fairly simple: Teams get two eggs, the sidewalk's surface and the freedom to use any utensil, pan or cooking mechanism. It's sure to egg-cite (sorry). (July 4)
Just two hours north of Phoenix, in Clarkdale, a community-wide pancake breakfast kicks off an old-fashioned July 4th. Take part in a children's parade, complete with a chance to ride a vintage fire engine, and sing along to patriotic music performed by a local band down Main Street. As the afternoon approaches, head to the train depot for some barbecue and a visit from a bald eagle courtesy of Liberty Wildlife. Join the eagles onboard as the Verde Canyon Railroad Firecracker Express departs for a slow loop through two national forests near the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness. (July 4, train tickets start at $100.95.)
Bisbee Coaster Race
The world-famous Bisbee Coaster Race is an exciting blast-from-the-past through the streets of Old Bisbee down historic Tombstone Canyon. Children and their families spend upwards of a year crafting their brightly painted and decorated makeshift boxcars for a chance at trophies and prizes. During the race, kids speed down the streets, sometimes exceeding speeds of 40 miles per hour while onlookers cheer. The day continues with more traditional activities including a parade and fireworks at dusk.
Pets & People Promenade
Where: Sierra Vista
If social media has taught us anything, it's that people love putting costumes on their pets. At the annual Pets & People Promenade in Sierra Vista, felines, Fido and their owners don their patriotic finest and strut their stuff through Veterans Memorial Park where they're judged in various categories. Pictures and videos are welcome—social media-sharing encouraged.