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Did you know our headquarters are in downtown Boyne City? We have a special place in our hearts for this little town. Here they go big with their Independence Day celebrations. So big that they’ve been voted one of the “Top 10 Independence Day Celebrations in the Nation” by Good Morning America and USA Today, number two “Best Small Town Fourth of July Celebration in the USA” by Travel Channel, and they got the top spot in “Best Small-Town July Fourth Fireworks” by Reader’s Digest. We’re going to break down the festivities of “Best 4th in the North!”

Annual Independence Day Run

Bright and early in the morning on July 4th, a two-mile and 10k races take place along the edge of Lake Charlevoix. Recently they’ve added some new features including start and finish line timing with provides participants with a true ‘chip time’ finish. As an added bonus, there are custom finisher medals.

Pre-Parade Activities

The hour before the parade starts there are lots of things to do and watch. At the Inflatable Alley, there are bouncers and much more, which is fun for kids of all ages and sizes. There is also a children’s bike and costume line up. Ribbons are awarded to the top ranking, and all the participants receive a free ice cream voucher. After the judging of the biking and costume line up, there is a gymnastics show downtown by the Boyne Area Gymnastics group.

Grand Parade

At 10 am on Independence Day, the Grand Parade starts on downtown with the singing of the National Anthem.

Great Eats

Of course, as with every great July 4th celebration, there is tons of great food. At the Veterans Park Pavilion, there is a pie sale by the Boyne Valley Garden Club and the Boyne City Rotary Club’s World Famous Chicken BBQ. Plus, shortly before noon theirs a children’s pie-eating contest in Veterans Park.

Music in the Park

If you’re around in the afternoon, make sure you bring your lawn chairs or a blanket. There are multiple bands are playing at Veterans Park.

River Races

There are two races on Independence Day that everyone looks forward to. First, is the Annual Duck Race, where hundreds of rubber ducks are dumped into the Boyne River at once. Each duck is numbered and there are raffle tickets available for purchase. The prizes are awarded to those whose raffle ticket matches the first ten ducks to cross the finish line.

The second race is the Commemorative Raft Race. For this race, participants paddle make-shift rafts down Boyne River. If you want to watch the race, plan on being in the splash zone! Participants and spectators have a huge water fight and everyone near the river typically leaves soaking wet. If you want to return fire, please be conscious of the environment. Organizers of the event ask participants do not use water balloons and use water guns instead.


It wouldn’t be a Fourth of July celebration without fireworks. In the evening over Lake Charlevoix, they put on a stunning show. The splendor of this show is hard to put into words. You will be left in awe whether you are watching from the shore or up close on a boat. It’s the perfect way to wrap up the day.

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