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Menlo Park, California 650-326-7530

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Grab your spoons and loosen those belts, San Francisco Bay, the Palo Alto Summer Festival & Chili Cook-off is bringing the spice this July 4th. All the sizzle will be limited to Mitchell Park, a short car ride from our Menlo Park Inn, and beginning at the crack of noon. Admission is free! There’s going to be free red-hot tastings as hardened chili chefs battle for top prize, as well as an ice cream parlor and dessert bar to keep things cool. If you’re on the hunt for something more centrally located there’s Menlo Park’s own Fourth of July Parade & Celebration.

Anybody and everybody is invited to get on their face painted, deck the old station wagon with streamers, and stride down Santa Cruz Avenue from 11:45 am to 2:30 pm. Upon arriving at Burgess Park, the final stop in the parade, a bevy of music, food, and games awaits the long line of marchers. Kids young and old can scream and shout on the inflated bounce houses, twisting slides, a rock wall, laser tag, and much more. Some activities preclude the purchase of a $7 wristband. Of course, families might have their sights set on fireworks. Foster City’s Leo Ryan Park, a short drive north along the coast, has it covered. Over the lagoon splashes of red, white, and blue is set to blow at 9:30 pm.

Through the rest of the month of July Menlo Park hosts its Summer Concert Series, right down the Bayfront Expressway to Fremont Park. These talented performers make up a roster of the community’s best bands, playing anything from jazz to country and today’s favorite hits. So, bundle that picnic basket together and tie in a couple blankets for eight evenings of fun. Just don’t forget to leave a little room for dancing.

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