It's that time of year again, and the Grand Strand has plenty of ways to celebrate our Independence.

It's that time of year again, and the Grand Strand has plenty of ways to celebrate our Independence.

Plan your day right and you could easily enjoy several of the exciting Independence Day activities along the Grand Strand this year. In addition to all kinds of fireworks at night, there’s a military flyover, a boat parade, a cupcake eating contest, and some live music to enjoy.

Salute from the Shore

This vintage aircraft fly-by is a unique way to show your support of past and present troops. Beginning at 1 p.m. in Cherry Grove, a group of fighter jets will pass by all of the beaches on the Grand Strand on their way down to Hilton Head Island. To participate, put on your red, white, and blue, and bring the biggest American flag you can find to wave in salute of your favorite hero or heroes. To make this event even more special, attendees are encouraged to snap pictures or videos of their group and post them to the Salute from the Shore Facebook page. Remember, get to your nearest beach before 1 to make sure you catch plenty of the fly-by!

Croissants 3rd Annual Cupcake Eating Contest

This 4th of July celebration of country and cupcakes gains in popularity each year as big eaters from all over compete to see who is king of the little icing-topped desserts. Last year, over 1,000 cupcakes were devoured and at the end of the five minutes two men were tied at 34. The large-stomached duo battled on in overtime for two more minutes and in the end the winner boasted a record 51 cupcakes. The contest is limited to those 18-and-up, and pre-registration is required. The party starts at 2 p.m. in Croissants Bistro and Bakery’s parking lot, and the eating action begins at 4 p.m. sharp.

Cool Summer Evenings

Brookgreen Gardens’ summer concert series continues on the 4th with the “parent-friendly kids’ rock band” Big Bang Boom. The Greensboro, N.C. group will play on the lawn above the Pavilion restaurant beginning at 7 p.m., which gives you plenty of time to hear the show and then make your way to see some fireworks. The show is included with regular admission, so arrive early and check out Brookgreen’s serene Southern charm.

Family 4th at The Common

Market Common will be hosting a free block party this year for its first ever Independence Day celebration. There won’t be fireworks (which you can see at plenty of other spots around the Grand Strand), but the other offerings are plenty – live music, carnival games, golf cart parade, and a beer garden, in addition to all of the eateries and shops around The Common. In place of the fireworks, a free showing of ‘Field of Dreams’ in Valor Park will take place near the end of the night, so attendees are encouraged to bring something comfortable to sit on. Dogs and kids are also welcome.

Murrells Inlet 4th of July Boat Parade & Fireworks Display

Beginning at noon, the 31st annual boat parade will start out at Garden City Point, make its way through the Marshwalk area, and then around to the Murrells Inlet Jetty View Walk. After cheering on the patriotically-themed boats, go home and take a nap. Then head back down to the Inlet and grab dinner at any one of the numerous restaurants before the big fireworks show starts at 10 p.m.