Our country was founded with bravery and later steadied by a Constitution and Bill of Rights. Men who signed our Declaration of Independence were labeled traitors by the British and would have been executed had we not prevailed. But in the face of the challenges, they remained resolute in their mission to guarantee freedom to the citizens of this new nation.

Two-hundred-and-forty years later, America celebrates its hard-won freedom and honors its founders and the principals they fought to enshrine. And in Idyllwild, the capstone of the celebration is an iconic small-town, charmingly innocent Fourth of July Parade sponsored by the Idyllwild Rotary. This is the 50th year the parade moves down North Circle Drive from Fern Valley Corners, starting promptly at 10 a.m. Immediately after the parade, the Rotary will host an in-town Family Freedom Festival on the Idyllwild Community Center site with food, entertainment and events for young and old.

Although fireworks are illegal in greater Idyllwild and the surrounding forest, the Soboba Casino will be hosting a fireworks spectacular that could be visible from many areas in Idyllwild such as Inspiration Point and parts of Pine Cove. The show begins at 9 p.m. Sunday, July 3. Fireworks of any kind, including sparklers, are illegal because of fire danger. They are not sold in any Idyllwild locations and must not be imported and used. Anyone caught with illegal fireworks will be subject to fines, citation and/or arrest; including confiscation of all illegal fireworks, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

On Saturday, July 2, Idyllwild’s American Legion Post 800 hosts a Fourth of July barbecue from 3 to 7 p.m. and dance at the post, featuring the music of Mark Huston and the Workin’ Men from 6 to 10 p.m.

Normally held the weekend of July 4, the Idyllwild Community Fund holds its annual Wine in the Pines party in the tall pines behind Rainbow Inn on Saturday, July 9, from 4 to 7 p.m. Admission, for over age 21 only, is free, with food, wine and craft beer. The event is a fundraiser, auction and raffle to fund a program teaching Idyllwild Middle School students about philanthropy and community service.

And for Idyllwild residents, the extended weekend continues with the first concert of the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series held at the Idyllwild Community Center site. Opening act is Grupo Bohemio, which takes the stage, serving up hot Latin music for enjoyment and dancing, at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 7.

On the Idyllwild Arts campus, the holiday kicks off with the opening on Saturday, July 3, of the Native American Arts Festival with exhibits and performances. On the night of Monday, July 4, a faculty jazz combo concert performs from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the IAF Theatre on campus.

The Fourth of July in Idyllwild celebrates an America we fondly remember and one that still exists in Idyllwild today — one where neighbors know each other, reach out to help those in need and come together for the greater good.

Check the Arts and Entertainment Calendar for more weekend entertainment.

Editor's note: This story was corrected to replace 15th year with 50th in the second paragraph.