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Kids line up on the street waiting to grab some candy during the Fourth of July Parade in Downtown Ames.

As you plan for events for the Fourth of July, here are some events and safety tips to consider for your next get-together. 

Events

Members of the Ames community can start bright and early with a free pancake breakfast, hosted by the mayor and City Council, at 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at City Hall. Several members of the Ames City Council and the Mayor will be at the breakfast and will meet with the community to answer any questions or concerns or simply get to know them. 

The pancake breakfast started in 2005 with former Mayor Ted Tedesco, who wanted an event that could bring members of the community together. Susan Gwiasda, public relations officer for the city of Ames, said the event started with about 800 community members. 

“Everybody loved the concept of a way to celebrate your community and your nation by having breakfast together outside,” Gwiasda said. 

Several organizations will come to the breakfast, including the Ames Fire Department, and Ames Water will provide cold water. Last year, 2,000 people showed up to the pancake breakfast. 

Following the pancake breakfast, the annual parade will start at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Burnett Avenue and Main Street. This event has been going on since 2004 and is very popular among the Ames community. The parade is hosted by Downtown Ames and will feature various local organizations. 

Gwiasda said the pancake breakfast will happen rain or shine with the exception of severe weather. 

“Safety is our number one priority so we will enter on the side of caution and will always make sure that if it looks like we’re in for severe weather, we won’t risk it,” Gwiasda said. 

Any events that could be impacted by the weather will be announced on the City of Ames and Ames Main Street websites and social media.

The Dog Dock Jumping competition will follow the parade and it is a three-day event which is hosted by the DockDogs National Canine Aquatics. The event will last Thursday through Saturday. Registration will begin at 1 p.m. and the competition will last to 7 p.m. for Thursday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m Friday and Saturday. The competition will be held on Burnett Avenue in front of Torrent Brewery, and more information can be found on its website

Safety 

For those who will be celebrating the Fourth of July, it is important to remember some safety protocols for the event. According to a media alert from State Farm, there are nearly 20,000 fireworks-associated fires every year. In order to avoid these instances, it is important to check the local laws in regards to setting off fireworks. 

Although the sale of fireworks is now legal in Iowa, it is still illegal to set off fireworks in the city of Ames. Those found doing so could be charged with a simple misdemeanor and receive a minimum fine of $250.

It is also important to check on any guests that could be drinking alcohol during the celebration of the Fourth of July and to organize rides for those who need it. 

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