For newcomers to the Hill, American Independence Day, the Fourth of July, is Idyllwild’s most iconic holiday. Beginning with the 14th-annual Idyllwild Rotary Club-sponsored parade that starts at 10 a.m., the Fourth in Idyllwild is quintessentially small-town America at its best — 75 parade entries, the American Legion Post 800 Color Guard, Smokey Bear, Santa Claus, bagpipers (the UC Riverside Pipe Band), homemade floats and all your friends, neighbors and dogs, either in the parade or watching. This year’s grand marshal is a collective — the local Idyllwild Post Office crew.

Following the parade, the Rotary is holding a Fourth of July party on Park Lane between the Fort and Jo’An’s. For kids, there will be at least three inflatable play zones and a ring toss. Food will include the popular Big Dev’s Down Home Barbeque from Escondido, and a public chili cook-off, as well as the sidewalk cafes of our local restaurants.

And for those who love challenging completions and big prizes there will be a football toss with 20 final contestants selected randomly from all registrants to have the chance to throw a football 25 yards through a tire. The prize is $5,000 if only one person is successful. Otherwise there will be a $1,000 prize per person for each bull’s eye throw, up to five.

If you want fireworks, you’ll have to go off the Hill since none are allowed in our area. But for small-town fun, there is something for everyone on Idyllwild’s Fourth. The American Legion Post 800 hosts its Deep Pit Barbecue from 3 to 7 p.m. with music by Mark Huston and the Workin’ Men. And for the only time during the year, the Legion bar is open to the public without requiring a sign in. For more information about tickets for the post barbecue, visit

Opening the weekend, Lisa Haley and her Zydekats kick off the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 2. On Friday, July 3, the Idyllwild Community Fund hosts its second-annual Wine in the Pines Party and Auction With a Twist from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Rainbow Inn. There will be music, craft beer, wine, appetizers and desserts and no admission charge.  Also Friday at 6 p.m. is the 4th annual Pipes in the Pines concert at Alpenglow Lilac Gardens – always a treat for the senses.