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Communities ready Fourth of July celebrations

Fourth of July activities celebrating the nation's birthday are on tap for many Western New York communities this holiday week.

Two other events, meanwhile, observe other birthdays.

The Friendship Festival turns 21. Festivities continue through Monday at Mather Park in Fort Erie, Ont., and through Wednesday at Riverside Park in Buffalo.

And Elma's sesquicentennial celebration will include a Fourth of July fireworks celebration.

Events in area communities follow:

*Amherst: Wednesday -- Concert by The Boomers at 7 p.m.; Erie County Wind Ensemble concert at 8:45 p.m.; fireworks at 9:45 p.m., all around the lake at the University at Buffalo's North Campus. Alternate date is Thursday.

*Aurora: Tuesday in Hamlin Park -- Foamy Fun with fire trucks at 3 p.m. on Griggs Place; parade at 7:30 p.m. from Main Street; FlipSide concert at 8 p.m. at baseball diamond; Jest for Laughs comedy variety show for children, presented by In Jest, at 8 p.m., Rotary bandstand; fireworks at 10 p.m.

*Blasdell: Annual Freedom Fest celebration Tuesday at Fireman's Park on Lake Avenue. Festivities start at 5:30 p.m. with a Herd of Buffalo concert at 7 p.m. and fireworks at 10 p.m. Wristbands available for $2 at Village Hall, 121 Miriam Ave.; Forster's Pharmacy, 3713 South Park Ave.; and Rocko's Tacos, 86 Lake Ave. Rain date is Wednesday.

*Buffalo: Concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus and fireworks display following Tuesday's 6:05 p.m. Buffalo Bisons game against the Rochester Red Wings at Dunn Tire Park. Tickets are available for $21 at or by calling 843-4373.

*Friendship Festival, 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. today through Wednesday at Riverside Park, 2607 Niagara St. Fireworks at dusk Tuesday and Wednesday. Fourth of July parade at 1 p.m. Wednesday, forming at River Rock Drive and Hertel Avenue, proceeding to Tonawanda Street and Vulcan Avenue.

*Cheektowaga: Refreshments at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the pavilion of Cheektowaga Town Park on Harlem Road. Hit N Run concert at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the park pavilion. Parade at noon Wednesday, starting at Thruway Plaza and proceeding north on Harlem Road to the park. Concerts by Focus at 2 p.m. and Route 66 at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the park pavilion. Fireworks at dusk Wednesday in the park.

*Elma: Fireworks at dusk Wednesday over the Elma, Marilla and Wales Boys & Girls Club, across Girdle Road from Iroquois Central School.

*Evans: Fireworks start at 9 p.m. Tuesday at Lake Erie Beach Park, 9568 Lake Shore Road. Rain date is Wednesday.

*Grand Island: Wednesday -- Dick Bessel Kids Race at 9 a.m. and Road Race at 9:15 a.m. on Grand Island Boulevard; parade at 9:35 a.m. on Grand Island Boulevard from Staley Road to Baseline Road; fireworks at dusk at Martin's Fantasy Island, 2400 Grand Island Blvd.

*Lancaster: Annual Independence Day festival Tuesday and Wednesday on West Main Street and on Central Avenue between Broadway and Brookfield Place. Parade starts at 2 p.m. Wednesday on Pleasant Avenue, and fireworks at 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Tuesday's mainstage performances feature Barb Denny Dance Studio at 2 p.m., Carnival Kids Steel Orchestra at 4 p.m. and the Strangers at 7 p.m. Wednesday's mainstage offering includes Dance Spectrum at 11 a.m., Lancaster Town Band at noon, 2007 Lancaster/Depew Teen Idol winners at 3:30 p.m. and Hit N Run at 6 p.m.

The festival features rides and beer garden, a baby contest and 10k run at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

*Orchard Park: Parade at 8 p.m. Wednesday from Orchard Park High School on Baker Road to Quaker Street, ending at South Lincoln Avenue; music and parade awards to follow at the pavilion behind Orchard Park Middle School on South Lincoln; fireworks at 9:45 p.m., with a Thursday rain date for fireworks only.

*City of Tonawanda: Festivities Wednesday at Niawanda Park on Niagara Street include band shell concerts: Sugar & Jazz concert at 6 p.m. and Air National Guard Band of the Mid-Atlantic at 8 p.m.; fireworks at dusk over the Niagara River.

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