KIDS PARADE A young participant in the 2023 Kids Parade sits comfortably surrounded by red, white and blue balloons. (Rick Tang Photograph)

The paper comes out a day early this week because Thursday’s news is already settled—it’s Independence Day, the Fourth of July in Healdsburg.

Say what one will about longevity, it’s the cyclical things that matter—the dates certain on the calendar when things roll the direction they’re supposed to. From a pancake breakfast at the Villa, a Kids Parade and Duck Dash in the Plaza, and fireworks filling the summer sky, it’s a holiday with all the trappings.

It all begins with breakfast: an all-you-can-eat eggs, ham, fresh fruit and pancake breakfast, with real maple syrup. Served at the annex at Villa Chanticleer, hosted by Boy Scout Troop 21 and its adult volunteers. From 7am to noon, only $9 adult, $6 child.

Then join dozens of families and hundreds of kids for the annual Fourth of July Kids Parade and Duck Dash in the downtown Healdsburg Plaza area, from 10am to 1pm. The annual event continues to be a major attraction for the Healdsburg community to celebrate the founding of our nation, presented again this year by the Rotary Club of Healdsburg, Sunrise, and the City of Healdsburg.

Duck dash
DUCKIES Children play with their rubber ducks in the 2023 Duck Dash, held on the Fourth of July every year at the Healdsburg Plaza. (Photo by Christian Kallen)

Youngsters are encouraged to dress in costume, many arriving on bikes, tricycles and wagons adorned with red, white and blue decorations. There will be live music and activities for all, including games, races and music from the country tonk band Court ’n’ Disaster, the back-porch-style Russian River Ramblers and the Healdsburg Community Band. Enjoy free lemonade, hot dogs, snow cones, popcorn and more.

Duck Dash

What’s a Duck Dash? In the absence of real waterflow, the Sunrise Rotary encourages kids to adopt a rubber duckie and race it to the splash zone. Donations are appreciated and will benefit the good deeds of Rotary in the local community including scholarships, teacher appreciation, Wonder League and other programs.

Though the Plaza programs end midday, it’s a safe bet holiday activity will continue in one form or another. Veterans Memorial Beach, the Sonoma County regional park at the south entrance to town, now boasts deeper water thanks to the seasonal dam installed last week. Another regional park at Del Rio Woods is also likely to have a full parking lot for the remainder of the Fourth.

Later that day, the Healdsburg Prune Packers host Athletic Edge Express, a new-last-year, non-league team from Petaluma that gives college-eligible baseball players a chance to play the sport. They are 0-4 so far this year, and the Prune Packers 19-2, but as the Pack’s recent two-game losing streak shows, anything can happen. First pitch is at 6pm at Rec Park.

COUNTRY TONK Local band Court ’n’ Disaster will play a return engagement at the Healdsburg Plaza on July 4.

Fireworks Cancellation

Come sundown, of course, it’s all about the fireworks – except this year, it’s not. On Wednesday afternoon, the City of Healdsburg announced the cancellation of the fireworks show.

“Due to current fire weather conditions in the region, we have made the difficult decision not to move forward with the fireworks show scheduled for the evening of the 4th,” read their 1:38pm post on social media.

“With a red flag warning in place for parts of Sonoma County and multiple active fire incidents in the region, we have concluded that we can’t proceed with sufficient confidence that the safety of the community will be protected. There are several new and growing wildfires burning in Northern California that are requiring the support of regional resources. That means that those resources may not be available if an incident were to occur locally. Looking at the totality of the conditions, we believe this is the best course of action for Healdsburg.

“We know this may be disappointing to some, but the safety of our community is our top priority.

“As a reminder, all fireworks are prohibited in the City of Healdsburg,” concluded the statement.

Previous articleMultilayered Wine on the Plaza
Next articleHealdsburg Cancels Fireworks for Fourth of July 2024
Christian Kallen has called Healdsburg home for over 30 years. A former travel writer and web producer, he has worked with Microsoft, Yahoo, MSNBC and other media companies, usually in an editorial capacity. He started reporting locally in 2008, moving from Patch to the Sonoma Index-Tribune to the Kenwood Press before joining the Healdsburg Tribune in 2022.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here