Grab the bug spray and blankets and head out for an almost free evening of fireworks in Westchester. For those with deeper pockets, I’ve included information on the Macy’s Fourth of July firework extravaganza and where to take in a world-class music concert that has fireworks. This year I’ll be seeing the fireworks at Disney in California, though, truthfully, I’d prefer to watch the Macy’s celebration on TV. Sorry Mickey.
July 3, 6:00 PM-10:00 PM, Kensico Dam Plaza, Valhalla
Head to the Kensico Dam Plaza in nearby Valhalla for some free local fun. There’s entertainment to celebrate Independence Day starting with a DJ show at 6:00 PM. From 8:00 PM-9:15 PM, Bensen-Scott Big Band will entertain the crowd. The firework show kicks off at 9:15 PM rain or shine. Come early or be prepared to walk a bit as parking spots may be in short supply. Kensico Dam, Bronx River Parkway, Valhalla (914) 864-PARK. www.westchestergov.com/parks .
July 3, 9:15 PM, Scarsdale Pool Complex, Scarsdale
Scarsdale’s very own annual fireworks display is open for all residents and held at the pool. Non-pool members may only enter the pool complex at 5:00 PM. A $2 fee will be charged to everyone who enters the pool after 5:00 PM. Come back the next day (July 4) for Carnival Day, held for pool members only from 11:00 AM-4:00 PM. Kids love the pool games, inflatables and this year, a sandcastle building contest. 311 Mamaroneck Road, Scarsdale Pool office (914) 722-1292.
July 4, 8:00 PM-10:00 PM, Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, Katonah
For something a bit more sophisticated, take I-684 to Caramoor in northern Westchester, land of Martha Stewart, Richard Gere, David Letterman and Alec Baldwin. Enjoy the orchestra of St. Luke's with Jamie Bernstein, host; Darius DeHaas, Carla Jablonski, vocals; John Musto, piano; Michael Barrett, conductor. Fireworks follow the concert (for ticket holders only). The sky will be lit up 15-20 minutes after the concert and can best be viewed by standing on Friends Field. Come early and enjoy pre-concert picnicking on the grounds. Tickets range from $30 to $70, children 16 and under are half price. Parking is free on-site on a first-come, first-serve basis. 149 Girdle Ridge Road, Katonah (914) 232-5035 www.caramoor.org .
July 4, dusk, Harbor Island Park, Mamaroneck
Just a short drive away and held in the beautiful 44-acre Harbor Island Park, the annual Fireman’s Fireworks Spectacular is a good free option for fireworks with easy parking. Harbor Island Park, Mamaroneck, 777-7784.
July 4, 9:30 PM, New Rochelle Waterfront
Grucci Fireworks will once again light up the night in New Rochelle on July 4 thanks to a last-minute donor who stepped in to pay the bill. The “Spark the Sound” Independence Day Fireworks Display will begin at 9:30 PM rain or shine and be presented by the Gruccis of New York. The Gruccis were responsible for the firework programs for seven presidential inaugurations; the Lake Placid Olympics in 1981; the Los Angeles Olympics in 1985; the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002; the Athens Olympics in 2004; and the world's largest fireworks program ever produced for the grand opening of Dubai's Palm Jumeirah and the Atlantis the Palm Resort. So, it should be (really) good. The Fireworks can be seen from New Rochelle’s waterfront parks, especially Hudson (1 Hudson Park Road) and Five Islands (1 Lefevre Lane). Free (914) 654-2087.
July 4, 9:20 PM, New York City
The 36th Annual Macy’s Fourth of July firework display is impressive and perhaps the best in the country (sorry Boston). Approximately 40,000 shells explode at a rate of more than 1,500 per minute with fireworks reaching heights of 1,000 feet in the air. At about 9:20 PM on July 4, the 26-minute display will be set off from six barges positioned between 18th and 43rd Streets on the Hudson River. The Macy’s celebration dates back to 1958. The theme for 2012 is “Ignite the Night.” The best place to view the fireworks is on the New Jersey waterfronts of Hoboken (with a stop at Carlo’s Bakery?) and Weehawken. In NYC, the best views will be on the West Side Highway below 59th Street. For those with deep pockets, consider a water taxi tour (NY Waterway Tours, Circle Line, World Yacht Dinner Cruise, Pier 83 Rooftop Fireworks BBQ) where, for about $145 per person (complete with snack box), you can watch the show from a rooftop or a bobbing boat. You can also catch the fireworks action from the comfort of home on NBC. Starting at 8:00 PM, the one-hour special will feature celebrity performers including Katy Perry and Kenny Chesney. Macy’s Fireworks Hot Line (212) 494-4495.
July 4, 9:30 PM, Rye Playland, Rye, NY
A fireworks spectacular choreographed to music. July 4 holiday show on the Rye Playland pier at 9:30 PM. Fireworks also every Wednesday and Friday in July and August at 9:15 PM. Parking $5. 1 Playland Parkway, Rye, 914-813-7000. http://ryeplayland.org .