Independence Day festivities will be in full swing throughout the Greater New Orleans area on Thursday and Friday, with a host of fireworks displays, a boat parade, live music, an all-American baseball game, patriotic stage shows and even a seafood festival.

The main event

On Friday, July 4, the night sky above the Mississippi River will be the canvas for Go Fourth on the River, the annual Dueling Barges Fireworks Extravaganza.

Bursts of colors will sparkle, cascade and shimmer up and down the river, creating magical reflections in the water. Starting at 9 p.m., the fireworks will be choreographed to patriotic classics, broadcast on Magic 101.9, WWL 870 AM and FM, and wwl.com. The show will last for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Watch the display from one of the prime locations on the French Quarter side of the river, from the Moonwalk or between Woldenberg Park and Spanish Plaza, or head across to Algiers Point and view the spectacular display of colors spray across the Crescent City skyline.

Crescent Park in Bywater will be open until midnight for spectators who want to enjoy the view of fireworks over the city from that downtown neighborhood. And at Reynes Street at the river in Holy Cross, the Holy Cross Neighborhood Association will hold its annual July 4th barbecue, fireworks viewing and potluck, 6 to 9 p.m. It’s free, but the contribution of a side dish or dessert is encouraged.

For more information visit www.go4thontheriver.com.

From Chalmette

to Westwego

The St. Bernard Salutes America Committee will sponsor a fireworks show on July 4 at 9 p.m. on the grounds of the Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center, 8245 W. Judge Perez Drive in Chalmette.

Starting at 4:30 p.m., visitors can enjoy rides, food, crafts and live music by Amanda Shaw and the Top Cats. There will be a hot-dog eating contest at 6 p.m.

And the Westwego Farmers and Fisheries Market, Sala Avenue at Fourth Street, sponsors fireworks and music with activities starting at 7 p.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, on the

North Shore

Fontainebleau State Park is the site of the annual Mandeville City Seafood Festival. Kicking off at noon on Friday, families will enjoy 12 hours of non-stop entertainment, live music, carnival rides, water play, craft and food markets, and of course a firework display at 8 p.m. Visit www.mandevillecityseafoodfest.com.

And Madisonville hosts its annual Old Fashioned Fourth of July celebration starting at 1:30 p.m., featuring a patriotic parade, a flag-raising ceremony, children’s games, a horseshoe tournament, a beauty pageant, music, food and fireworks.

Krewe of Kolossos

If it’s a New Orleans-style party you’re after, put on a creative patriotic costume and head over to Bayou St. John, where the Krewe of Kolossos will hold its third annual July Fourth waterborne parade.

Cheer the paddlers on or row along in your own boat, kayak or canoe. (No gas motors, glitter, glass or beads allowed.) The parade begins at Orleans Avenue and the bayou at 5 p.m. on Friday

The best view in the house

Jump aboard one of the two historic paddlewheelers, the Steamboat Natchez and the Creole Queen, for a night of dining and live entertainment for an unforgettable Mississippi River cruise. Steamboat Natchez will be boarding Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Creole Queen at 8 p.m.

For reservations for the Creole Queen call (504) 529-4567 or (800) 445-4109 or book online at www.bigeasy.com. For the Steamboat Natchez call (504) 569-1401 or (800) 233-2628 or visit www.SteamboatNatchez.com.

The fun starts on Thursday

Ready to get an early start on the Fourth?

Downtown, Essence Music Festival will be hosting its annual Family Day at Woldenberg Park on Thursday, July 3. The day will be full of live music performances, cooking demonstrations, family games and prizes, kids zone activity area and much more. It’s free and open to the public, with activities beginning at 11 a.m. Visit essencefestival.com for more details.

The Uncle Sam Jam at Lafreniere Park in Metairie will get underway on Thursday at 4 p.m. with a host of DJs and live bands. Performers include country music star Christian Serpas and Ghost Town at 5:30 p.m. and Lee Greenwood, at 7:30 p.m. An array of food and beverage vendors will be available as no outside food or drinks are allowed. Bring your own blankets and chairs and be mesmerized by the 9 p.m. fireworks display.

Or, head over to New Orleans City Park for its annual 3rd of July celebration. Starting at 6:30 p.m., spread out a picnic on the Goldring/Woldenberg Great Lawn and let the Marine Corps Rock Band and the Marine Corps Band entertain you in the lead-up to 9 p.m. fireworks from the Peristyle.

The City of Kenner and the Treasure Chest casino will team up for a fireworks show on the Kenner lakefront at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday as well.

And in Covington’s Bogue Falaya Park, Sparks in the Park on Thursday from 7-9 p.m. offers music, kids’ activities, food and drink and fireworks.

Have a ball

Enjoy one of America’s favorite pastimes as the New Orleans Zephyrs take on Round Rock Express at Zephyrs Field from Texas at 7 p.m. on Thursday.

Be one of the first 6,000 fans and get a free miniature flag, and stay around post-game for the Independence Day fireworks and a concert by Local Option II. Visit zephyrsbaseball.com for details.