“Lights on the Lake” is traditionally the high point of the Independence Day weekend, although there are plenty of fireworks going off elsewhere. Lake Tahoe, however, offers a unique place to watch, its sheen and reflection usually doubling the delight and its night sky freer of ambient light than at lower elevations.
The show is scheduled for 9:45 p.m. this year and it is highly recommended that you arrive early to secure a space at one of the optimum viewing locations. These include: Nevada Beach, Edgewood Tahoe, Timber Cove Marina, and Lakeview Commons/El Dorado Beach. Watercraft, of course, bring you very close to the action, in particular if you are on the M.S. Dixie II paddle-wheeler (zephyrcove.com).
The South Lake Tahoe Fourth of July parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the “Y” (intersection of Highways 50 and 89) and will feature the UC Berkeley Marching Band.
Other lake displays include the Tahoe City fireworks off Commons Beach at 9:30 p.m., and the annual Red, White, and Tahoe Blue celebration at Incline where the fireworks will be accompanied live by the National Guard Band of the West (redwhitetahoebluc.com).
Down in the valley, the action is in Sparks with the 17th Annual Star-Spangled Sparks, taking place on Sunday with crafts, food, activities, and free entertainment on Victorian Square topped with the fireworks display and laser light show after sundown.
Reno will celebrate the holiday with the Fourth Annual Biggest Little City Wing Fest. Visitors average 80,000 a year; they consume more than 20,000 pounds of wings. The free entertainment this year is topped by Joe Pardi, the country singer whose current single “Head Over Boots” is charting well. His performance will be at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Entertainment in the casinos this holiday weekend features two newcomers.
Nick Swardson plays the MontBleu on Friday, July 1. Known for his “Reno 911” appearances and his Comedy Central specials, Swardson has recently been seen in Adam Sandler’s Netflix movie “The Ridiculous Six.” He’s set to be in the second Sandler Netflix effort as well, “The Do-Over.” (8 p.m.; $27.50-$45; Ticketmaster)
Heather McDonald, veteran of “Chelsea Lately” and “After Lately,” plays the new Loft Theater at Heavenly Village on Sunday, July 3. She’s most recently been at it with her new podcast “Juicy Scoop” on PodcastOne. Her show is, of course, recommended only for mature audiences. (9 p.m.; $30; thelofttahoe.com)
Among other holiday weekend activities: The Society of Seven, the best proof that experience can lead to expertise on the casino stage, play Saturday, July 2, at Cache Creek (8 p.m.; $35-$65), followed by Sinbad on Sunday (8 p.m.; $45-$60; cachecreek.com); Reno’s Baldini’s Casino brings in Mark Chesnutt for a free concert as part of its Freedom Festival tonight (7:30 p.m.); and Harveys Outdoor Summer Series kicks off with the decidedly un-free Slightly Stoopid on Saturday (6 p.m.; $37.50), followed by Widespread Panic on July 6 (7:30 p.m.; $49.50; Ticketmaster).