The Mount Rushmore Independence Day celebration in western South Dakota is so big that it takes up two whole days! On July 3rd and 4th every year, the national memorial is home to one of the country's most patriotic and memorable Independence Day events. Festivities kick off in the afternoon on July 3rd with shows and presentations by local musicians and dance troupes, the Air National Guard, the Air Force Honor Guard, D.A.R.E., local Navajo cultural groups, and troops from the Ellsworth Air Force Base. The spectacular annual fireworks show takes place around 9:30 PM on July 3rd, where fireworks are shot off right over the stone heads of Mount Rushmore.
July 4th features another full day of brass bands, military aircraft flyovers, presentations from local ranger and American Indian groups, and lots of fun performances by local musicians and dancers. There are no fireworks at Mount Rushmore on July 4th, but surrounding cities like Rapid City hold their own fireworks presentations. The event is free and is heavily attended, so plan to arrive early. No personal fireworks, grills, or pets are allowed at the event. All activities and performances take place in the Amphitheater at the Mount Rushmore National Memorial.