Massive firework displays, cookouts, live music, parades — there are a lot of ways the Baton Rouge area celebrates the Fourth of July.

Independence Day is Thursday, and the week will be filled with events marking America's 243rd year.

The centerpiece of the Baton Rouge celebrations each year is WBRZ's Fireworks on the Mississippi, the largest fireworks display in the state. Created and organized by the Manship family, which owns WBRZ, the Fourth of July tradition is marking its 50th anniversary on Thursday.

J&M Displays, the company that creates the show, will load down a barge in Plaquemine with nearly 2,000 fireworks, which is then pushed up the river by tugboat to its place in the middle of the Mississippi River near the USS Kidd.

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Rusty Mayne, left, and Cooper Beasley, right, load mortars into the tubes and connect the fire wires as J&M Displays crew members set things up on a barge in Plaquemine Monday afternoon for the annual Fourth of July WBRZÕs Fireworks on the Mississippi show Tuesday evening in downtown Baton Rouge.

The show begins at 9 p.m. and can best be seen from downtown Baton Rouge or Port Allen.

"There's nothing better to show your support for the city and our nation's independence all at once," said Noah Kozinko, WBRZ director of marketing.

Fireworks ready to light up the sky for Fourth of July on the Mississippi River

Below are some of the major events taking place this week for the summer holiday. All events are in Baton Rouge and free unless otherwise noted.

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Advocate staff file photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- WBRZ's Fireworks on the Mississippi is set to begin at 9 p.m. Tuesday for the Fourth of July festivities.

SATURDAY

RED, WHITE AND ZOO: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., BREC's Baton Rouge Zoo, 3601 Thomas Road. Special day to celebrate red, white and blue animals with special programming and games. Regular zoo admission applies. brzoo.org.

WEDNESDAY

DONALDSONVILLE INDEPENDENCE DAY: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Frank Sotile Pavilion, 2162 Thibaut Drive, Donaldsonville. Food, live entertainment and fireworks. donaldsonville-la.gov.

RED, WHITE AND BLUE AT BRQ: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., BRQ Seafood and Barbeque, 10423 Jefferson Highway. U.S+. military veterans will participate in a cocktail competition for the veterans charity of their choice. BRQ is a veteran-owned restaurant. "The Battle of the BDU's" is hosted by the Baton Rouge Bartenders Guild. facebook.com/greaterbrbg.

NEW ROADS INDEPENDENCE DAY: 6 p.m., 211 W. Main St., New Roads. Live music at 6 p.m. with fireworks in the town square at 9 p.m. newroads.net.

STAR & STRIPES AT CONWAY: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Conway Town Square, Gonzales. Featuring music by Rewind Band, kids' activities, yard games, pop-up shops and a fireworks show. facebook.com/liveconway.

KENILWORTH INDEPENDENCE DAY PARADE: 6:30 p.m., along Kenilworth Parkway, Baton Rouge. The 47th annual parade begins and ends at the Kenilworth Science and Technology School on Boone Drive, with the majority of the route between the 300 and 1100 blocks of Kenilworth Parkway. This year's theme is "Peace, Love and Independence." kenilworthneighborhood.com.

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The Lost Bayou Ramblers performed at Zachary's Fourth of July Jubilee celebration last year. This year's celebration will feature Kathy Mattea.

THURSDAY

NEW ROADS BOAT PARADE: 2 p.m., Morrison Parkway, New Roads. This year's theme is "Hats off to America." False River boat parade at 2 p.m. Children's activities from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. And music starting at 5 p.m. newroads.net.

WALKER INDEPENDENCE DAY CELEBRATION: 3 p.m., Sidney Hutchinson Park, 30500 Corbin Ave., Walker. Games, food and inflatables starting at 3 p.m.; music by Bullet Proof at 5 p.m.; and fireworks at dark. Additional parking can be found at the Walker High School gym, where a shuttle will be running every 15-30 minutes during the event. walker.la.us.

USS KIDD FOURTH OF JULY SPECTACULAR: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., USS KIDD Veterans Museum, 305 S. River Road. Annual Fourth of July event at the downtown historic landmark with vendor booths, hot dog eating contest, popsicle parade and live music by Smokehouse Porter and Miss Mamie, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue, and Jonathon Long. Evening concludes with WBRZ's Fireworks on the Mississippi at 9 p.m. $20 ship view; $65 VIP view. Tickets at bontempstix.com. No ice chests, barbecue pits, tents or pets. (225) 342-1942; usskidd.com.

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FOURTH OF JULY JUBILEE: 5:30 p.m. to 9:45 p.m., The Pointe at Americana, 1250 Meeting St., Zachary. Featuring music by Kathy Mattea at 7 p.m., a fireworks show at 9 p.m. and food trucks. Free. zacharyjubilee.com.

FOURTH OF JULY BASH: 6 p.m. to midnight, Mid City Ballroom, 136 S. Acadian Thruway. Music by Boi Dreamz, Hydra Plane, Baby in the 90s and Quarx. All ages. $10 cover. facebook.com/midcityballroom.

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Fireworks light up the night as seen from aboard the America paddleboat during annual Fourth of July festivities, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in downtown Baton Rouge, La.

RED, WHITE AND BLUE CELEBRATION: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Shaw Center for the Arts, 100 Lafayette St. Hosted by the LSU Museum of Art, attendees can view the annual fireworks show from the Shaw Center rooftop, with music and food from Capital City Grill. Art activities for kids run from 7 p.m. to before the fireworks. $40 for members; $50 nonmembers; $30 for children ages 6-12; free for ages 5 and under. lsumoa.org.

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Josiah McMillan, 11, works to keep his balance on the tightrope during the annual Fourth of July festivities, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in downtown Baton Rouge, La.

L'AUBERGE FIREWORKS EXTRAVAGANZA: 7 p.m. to midnight, L'Auberge Casino, 777 L'Auberge Ave. Fireworks show at 9 p.m. with several viewing areas. Rooftop pool viewing area features Geaux DJ ($20, 21 and older); Edge Bar balcony viewing area, featuring True Spin (free, 21 and older); The Lawn viewing area (free, all ages); The Promenade viewing area, featuring Press 1 for English (free, all ages). facebook.com/laubergebatonrouge.

INDEPENDENCE DAY CONCERT: 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Louisiana State Capitol, 900 N. Third St. Baton Rouge Concert Band to perform patriotic music and marches. facebook.com/batonrougeconcertband.

WBRZ'S FIREWORKS ON THE MISSISSIPPI: 9 p.m., watch from downtown Baton Rouge or Port Allen. The largest fireworks display in the state is celebrating 50 years. wbrz.com.

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Fireworks light up the night as seen from aboard the America paddleboat during annual Fourth of July festivities, Wednesday, July 4, 2018, in downtown Baton Rouge, La.

GO 4TH ON THE RIVER: 9 p.m., watch from New Orleans east and west banks, from Outlet Collection at Riverwalk to Crescent Park at French Market District. Fireworks display at 9 p.m.; preceded by 4th Fest, beginning at 4:30 p.m. in Crescent Park. go4thontheriver.com.

FOURTH OF JULIT: 9 p.m., Hollywood Casino, 1717 River Road. Music by DJ Kalvo. 21 and older event. $15 via eventbrite.com.

NATCHEZ FIREWORKS OVER THE MISSISSIPPI: Bluff Park in Natchez, Mississippi. Fireworks show over the Mississippi River. visitnatchez.org.

Did we leave out an event? Let us know by emailing red@theadvocate.com.