Tips to make your Fourth of July weekend hassle-free and spectacular

This year, Big Canoe’s Independence Day celebration will span four days for an exciting red, white and blue weekend.

Like most big operations, there are a lot of moving parts. As a result, we compiled numerous tips and tricks that will help make the most of your patriotic weekend.

Carpool – It bears constant repeating that we will have many visiting a place with limited parking. Do yourself and all of Big Canoe a favor by carpooling. Plan for spaces to fill up fast.

Don’t park illegally – Parking at the base of the Lake Petit Dam is not allowed. Nor is parking on any roadside or in front of a neighbor’s driveway. Opt for Big Canoe’s numerous parking lots. Keep in mind that availability is very limited – some lots are more accessible than others, but consider for example that there are only 40 total spaces in the Marina lot. Space is a premium.

Lake Petit Dam traffic shuts down at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 3 – Wilderness Parkway along the dam will be closed from 6 p.m. to about 20 minutes after the fireworks show concludes on Sunday. Plan any trip accordingly if you must drive then.

Fireworks – Due to the extreme danger of any potential wildfire in the community, fireworks are prohibited in Big Canoe. This includes all fireworks and handheld sparklers. Those who disregard this rule can receive a fine of up to $5,000. Please, leave this to the professionals!

Pets –  The Humane Society of the United States advises that your fluffy companions would be happier and healthier away from loud noises. Please keep your pets at home while the bombs are bursting in the air. If you happen to live near Lake Petit, please consider taking your pet to a quieter place. For more information on animal safety around the Fourth, click here.

Bring your boat back home – If you plan to take in the July 3 fireworks show from your own boat on Lake Petit and you happen to live on the lake, you can avoid the post-show crowds at the Marina by parking your boat overnight at home, which is allowed on the holiday.

Don’t plan to rent small watercraft from the Marina for the fireworks
 – Small watercraft such as kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards must be returned at 6 p.m.

Bring a lantern; wear a life jacket
 – Play it smart out on the water. If you have your own small watercraft – or any watercraft, for that matter – bust out the lifejacket. And carry an electric lantern so you are visible to other boaters. Expect the lake to be busier than usual.

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