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Posted: Thursday, 04 July 2013 6:26AM

New Orleans explodes into another festival of freedom

There are fireworks shows galore in the metro area tonight, as New Orleans celebrates Independence Day.

The centerpiece, of course, is the 23rd annual 'Go 4th on the River Dueling Barges Fireworks Show' tonight over the mighty Mississippi.

"We've been ranked in the 'Top Five Must See Fireworks Displays in the U.S.'  and we've been ranked as the #1 destination for fireworks in the French Quarter," says Spokeswoman Debbie Bresler.

That "Top Five' ranking comes from the American Pyrotechnics Association. The French Quarter honor come from Priceline.com.

Bresler says this year's show features some new fireworks that don't explode in the air.

"They're unique nautical floating shells that, when launched will land in the water creating a towering glittering fountain that shimmers and sparks and cascades with color."

You can see the show, at 9 o'clock, from either side of the river, anywhere from Riverwalk to the French Market.

Bring your radios to the river as Magic 101.9, WWL 870 AM and FM, and WWL.com simulcast the dynamic fireworks show choreographed to stirring patriotic music and heard in 38 states in the U.S.

There'll be fireworks over the lake as the City of Kenner celebrates at the Treasure Chest Casino tonight.

In Kenner, there'll be fireworks over the lake at the Treasure Chest Casino.

The family friendly event will begin at approximately 9:00 p.m. Spectators are invited to view the show from either Laketown or any of the three decks of the Treasure Chest Casino.

"You'll see it from afar, but around the levee it's a beautiful, beautiful show," says casino spokesman Rodney Miller.

You'll see the Kenner show from the Northshore, too, where they've got their own shows in Mandeville, Madisonville and Slidell.

It's an all day affair today at the 12th Annual Slidell Heritage Festival.

"We open up the gates at 3 o'clock and it goes until 11," says spokeswoman Eleanor Cumbow. "Come at 3 o'clock or 3:30. If it's a little hot, you can wait until 5:30. But you don't want to miss the fireworks."

She says a number of live music acts will be performing at Slidell's Heritage Park, along with food and specialty vendors. The fireworks start at 9.

Mandeville and Madisonville also celebrate on the Northshore.

The Greater Mandeville Seafood Festival runs through July 8th at Fontainebleau State Park, with seafood, crafts, music, children's activities, rides, classic car show, fishing rodeo and, of course, fireworks.

Madisonville turns back the clock for an 'Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration.' It starts with a parade at 2 o'clock, Veterans' activities, an apple pie contest and fireworks at dusk. Take along a picnic basket and a cooler and join the fun on the Riverfront in Madisonville.

And there's more.

Bucktown unveils a new festival on July 4th at the new Bucktown Marina giving those who celebrate our Independence Day a new way to enjoy the day. The first-ever Bucktown Bash is a shrimp and music festival on the lake, featuring all-day music from local and national artists, crafts, food, kite flying, attractions for kids, and the return of the historical Blessing of the Bucktown Fleet. Before Hurricane Katrina, the Blessing of the Fleet was a July 4th tradition but that ended with the destruction caused by the storm. Doors for Bucktown Bash open at 11 a.m. The Blessing of the Fleet will begin at noon and entertainment will begin at 12:30 p.m. Admission is $5 at the gate and children 12 and under are free.

The Westwego Farmers & Fisheries Market hosts a music, food, and fireworks show at 10 p.m. The Tricks Band performs and admission is free.

Also, St. Bernard salutes America from 3 to 9:30 p.m. with fireworks at 8:30 p.m. The 29th annual celebration features food, a hot dog eating contest, music from Amanda Shaw & Band Camp at Torres Park, 8201 W. Judge Perez Dr., Chalmette, behind St. Bernard Parish government complex. Admission is free.

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