In addition to fireworks and Fourth of July parties, the officials opening ceremonies for the America’s Cup races is July 4th with a full weekend of activities to follow, including the Louis Vuitton Cup race.

The opening ceremony begins at noon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at America’s Cup Park (Piers 27/29). The Park, which is open to the public, will host a number of events this summer. It includes the America’s Cup Pavilion, which has already played host to several noteworthy concerts, the Louis Vuitton Cup Store, the Puma Yard, a children’s area and a pop-up restaurant and bar.

At 3pm on Thursday, the America’s Cup Pavilion will host a ceremony featuring the crews of all four teams entered in the America’s Cup. The program will include performances and exhibitions from each of the four nations: the United States, Sweden, New Zealand and Italy.

On Friday, July 5, a boat parade begins at 11am from Pier 14, heading north along the waterfront to the America’s Cup Village at Marina Green. The AC72 boats, 72-foot vessels being raced for the first time in this year’s competition, will join the parade, then participate in time trials on the race course.

Then on Sunday, July 7, the first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup, which will decide who competes against Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup Finals in September, is scheduled to take place between Emirates Team New Zealand and Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge. The race is scheduled to begin at 12:15pm. Sweden-based Artemis Racing will join the preliminaries late after the tragic capsizing during a practice run in early May, which resulted in the death of sailor Andrew Simpson. The team’s bat was heavily damaged in the accident.

For watching the races, there are plenty of spots to catch the action. The two main spots with public access are the America’s Cup Park at Piers 27/29 and the America’s Cup Village at the Marina Green.  If you’re lucky enough to have or be able to rent a boat, there are viewing areas out on the water as well.  Or, you may be able to spot some of the action just walking along the piers.

Photo Credit: Gilles Martin-Raget, America’s Cup