Independence Day is almost here — and a lot of folks are looking forward to the festivities more than ever!

Since the pandemic pretty much obliterated most public events last year, people are expected to turn out in droves this year to celebrate. Whether you’re looking for a crowd to join or you want a family-friendly venue, there are plenty of ways to enjoy the Fourth of July here in Indiana.

Here are our top suggestions for a fun-filled Fourth of July:

CarmelFest — Carmel

Billed as Central Indiana’s premier festival for Independence Day, CarmelFest is a two-day Hoosier tradition that’s been running for 33 years — and it’s suitable for all ages.

The celebration actually kicks off on Saturday, July 3, with the Freedom Run. Participants can choose between the five-mile run or the 1.5-mile walk, and kids are welcome to participate. If you pre-register in time, you’re guaranteed a patriotic t-shirt for your efforts, and there will be awards for the top finishers of each race.

The main festival runs from Sunday, July 4, through Monday, July 5, in two locations (Carter Green and Civic Square). This festival brings together everything there is to love about the summer: food, family, fun rides and (of course) fireworks.

You’ll find plenty of small vendors and artisans around the Marketplace, tons of delicious fair food being offered and plenty of musical entertainment of all styles on the bandstands throughout the event — and the fireworks will also be synchronized to music for extra enjoyment.

Downtown Olly’s Summer Concert Series — Indianapolis

Downtown Olly’s has a proud tradition of celebrating the summer with good food, karaoke-style sing-a-longs, movies and concerts — and they’re not about to stop!

The Fourth of July party kicks off with DJ Sean Baker at 6 p.m., and the band starts playing a couple of hours later — but this is a 21-and-older event with a full bar, so you’ll definitely need to plan ahead and buy a ticket.

Since this is Downtown Olly’s we’re talking about, you won’t have a problem finding something tasty to eat, either. They’re famous for handmade, shareable treats like fried green tomatoes, spicy pickle chips, pretzel breadsticks and more. Plus, Olly’s backyard patio is one of the premier spots to be if you want a great view of Indy’s fireworks display later in the evening.

Monroe County Fair — Bloomington

Do you want to make a weekend of the whole celebration? Do you just want a relaxed schedule where it doesn’t matter when, exactly, you show up? Head over to the Monroe County Fair in Bloomington for tons of family fun, live music, festival food and carnival rides!

The fair runs from June 28 through July 4, and there’s something there for everyone in your whole family to see. There’s a livestock show arena, a horse and pony arena, the “Kid’s Big Top” with its Silly Safari, wood carving demonstrations and more.

You can also take in all kinds of competitive races, including dirt bikes, go-karts, four-wheelers, and a demolition derby. You’ll also find carnival rides that will keep the kids entertained and plenty of music for the adults. In short, even if you can’t make it to the fair on the Fourth of July, this is one weekend adventure you don’t want to miss!

4th of July Party at Indiana City Brewing Co. — Indianapolis

Maybe you want to leave the kids with a sitter and head out for a little well-deserved adult time with your spouse on the Fourth of July. If so, there’s no better spot to be than the party at the Indiana City Brewing Co., right here in the city.

The brewery’s newest craft beer, the Independence IPA, starts flowing from the tap at noon on the Fourth, and the DJ will start playing tunes around 4 p.m., but the real attraction is the 90’s cover band Lisa Frank and the Trapper Keepers. They’ll hit the stage promptly at 7 p.m. and keep playing until close.

That’s not all you’ll find, however: The annual cornhole tournament will be happening in the afternoon, NY Slice will be there to serve up some pizza, and you’ll find plenty of other attractions and entertainment. Like Downtown Olly’s, this is another prime location to be if you want a clear view of the city’s annual fireworks show — so get ready and grab your spot!

Glorious 4th at Conner Prairie — Fishers

If you’ve been to Conner Prairie before, you know that there’s always something new and exciting to see — and, if you’ve never been there, you’re really in for a treat!

This family-friendly venue pulls out all the stops when they go red, white and blue for Independence Day. From July 3 to July 4, your family can visit Prairietown for a visual history lesson, hear a reading of the Declaration of Independence, try your hand at corn hole games and water cannon fights, and explore the Juneteenth Virtual Exhibition in Lily Theatre — among other delights.

City of Lawrence 4th Fest — Lawrence

If you’re looking for a low-stress way to celebrate that still includes plenty of entertainment, head over to the 4th Fest in Lawrence.

Catch the parade at 10 a.m., then stay for the carnival, classic car show, fish fry and live bands throughout the day. At 10 p.m., weather permitting, you’ll be treated to a spectacular display of fireworks to close out the evening.

Naturally, if crowds aren’t your thing, you can always pivot to a more personal mode of celebration. Maybe take the day and head to the museum, or find a picnic spot and relax with your family. What’s ultimately important is that you take a break and take a moment to appreciate the day our nation began and the freedom we continue to cherish.

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