It isn’t a Fourth of July celebration without fireworks. But all around the New Orleans area, celebrations add their own stamp to the festivities, from live music to fireboats to food-eating contests. Here’s a guide to getting into the spirit.

Thursday

Covington’s Sparks in the Park will return for its second year from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday in Bogue Falaya Park. Food and drink will be available for purchase, but picnics also will be allowed at this free and public event. Face-painting will be offered prior to the fireworks, which begin at dusk.

Friday

City Park will host a Happy 3rd of July celebration from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the Goldring/Woldenberg great lawn. The Marine Corps Band New Orleans will perform patriotic songs from 7:15 p.m. until the fireworks at 9 p.m. Concession stands will sell food, wine, beer and sno-balls all night. Picnics, blankets and lawn chairs are allowed, but stake tents are not. Dogs are allowed if on leashes.

The Uncle Sam Jam hosts its own celebration from noon to 10 p.m. Friday in Lafreniere Park in Metairie. Seven bands and artists will perform throughout the day, including Courtney Cole, Lonestar and Josh Turner. The event is free and open to the public. No outside food or beverages are allowed, but there will be vendors all day. Fireworks begin at 8 p.m.

The Westwego farmers market also will host a celebration from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday. The Brad Sapia Band will play before the 10 p.m. fireworks display.

Saturday

One of New Orleans’ largest fireworks displays will take place during the Dueling Barges show at 9 p.m. on Saturday on the river downtown. The two barges will attempt to outdo each other with 15 to 20 minutes of fireworks.

On the French Quarter side, viewers can see the display from Woldenberg Park between Gov. Nicholls Street Wharf and the Spanish Plaza.

Prior to the dueling barges, the Port of New Orleans is sponsoring a return appearance of the Gen. Roy S. Kelley fireboat, which marks its 25th anniversary this year and will again spout water in red, white and blue displays. The show will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday.

For a view over the city skyline, the Canal Street Ferry will take passengers to the levee in Algiers Point. Tune in to WWL 870 AM, WWL-FM, WWL.com or Magic 101.9 FM to hear a simulcast of patriotic music set to the fireworks.

For an on-the-water view, the Natchez and the Creole Queen riverboat paddlewheelers will once again host passengers for an evening of dinner and live entertainment. The steamboat Natchez begins boarding at 6:30 p.m. for a pre-show cruise. The Creole Queen starts boarding at 8 p.m. for a post-show cruise. Both require reservations in advance.

For an old-fashioned celebration, Madisonville plans its Fourth of July celebration around themes of yesteryear. Starting at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Madisonville Riverfront, a parade, lawn games, a beauty pageant and a watermelon-eating contest will prelude the evening fireworks.

St. Bernard Salutes America will host Chalmette’s celebration from 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday at the Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center Grounds. The Jeff Davis Project and At Fault will perform. There will be a hot dog-eating contest at 7:30 p.m. prior to the 9 p.m. fireworks.