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Celebrating Independence Day on the shores of a lake in small-town Michigan is as American as it gets. Photo courtesy Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Today’s Boyne City, Mich., July 4 fireworks celebration over Lake Charlevoix is scheduled to start at 10:30 p.m., which is a bit later than I’m used to for the pyrotechnic tradition. But I’m from Northern California and this is Northern Michigan, and it gets dark about an hour later here. So the later start makes sense.

I’m here, of course, to cover this coming weekend’s Boyne Thunder Poker Run as the final leg of a 17-day road-trip that began in Erie, Pa., via Cleveland—where the city was already gearing up to celebrate Independence Day—to cover the Erie Poker Run. From there I headed to a wine dinner—my girlfriend is in the wine business and invited me to join her—in Fort Wayne, Ind., where the talk among our hosts was an annual July 4 party on the shores of Lake Wawasee highlighted, of course, by a fireworks display.

The next stop was Evanston, Ill., to visit family, where the Independence Day celebration plans were all about catching the annual July 4 parade on Main Street and fireworks over Lake Michigan. On our way to dinner in Chicago the day before we left for Michigan, I watched the owner of a red-and-white Cigarette 38’ Top Gun and his friends create some fireworks of their own on the lake’s evening glass.

Read More: Fireworks Over Water

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