While funding for future events is not certain, the City Council agreed to pay $20,000 for this year's event.

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF ST. HELENS - Fireworks light up the sky in St. Helens. A tradition in St. Helens, Independence Day activities are planned for July 4 with events all day, culminating in the always-impressive fireworks display when darkness arrives.

Earlier this year, funding for the event was the topic of a St. Helens City Council meeting, with council members agreeing to pay $20,000 for the fireworks display.

At a Feb. 2 council work session, Mayor Rick Scholl noted, "Fireworks are very important to this community. All I'm trying to do is make sure we are going to fund it."

While funding for future events is not certain at press time, Scappoose resident Angela Wayman has expressed interest in organizing an effort to fund the fireworks display. Wayman has organized holiday parades in both Scappoose and St. Helens in recent years.

This year's event, dubbed "Salute to America," is an all-day affair with many activities scheduled for the Courthouse Plaza.

According to, there will be plenty of photo opportunities in the plaza. You can even include your dog in a patriotic pet photo.

Lemonade and hot dogs will be available starting at 11 a.m. in Courthouse Plaza, while supplies last. There will be children's games and plenty of fun. Cornhole and giant Jenga are among activities planned. There will also be a flag-raising ceremony led by military veterans at 1:30 p.m.

Participants are also invited to bring their decorated bicycles and tricycles for a short parade looping around the Columbia County Courthouse before the flag-raising.

Frank Hupp will be speaking on "Origins and Meaning of the Salute" at 1:40 p.m., while at 1:50 p.m., attendees are invited to give a shoutout to a beloved veteran or service member.

Enjoy a slice of cake at the Courthouse Plaza with the 2 p.m. bell ringing, a tradition at the event.

Entertainment from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. features the Larry Jackson Big River Big Band, who will perform with vocalist Ellie Wieneke.

Then, Gary Bennett and The Coat Tail Riders perform from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

As folks start to get in position to enjoy the fireworks, The Gabriel Cox Band will entertain from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Events wrap up at 10 p.m. with the traditional fireworks show.

Parking is available at the end of South First Street. There are a limited number of public charging spots for electric vehicles in Old Town St. Helens as well.

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