Ravenswood Is a Total Blast

The tiny Ravenswood neighborhood hosts one big riverfront hoedown every Fourth-of-July weekend. Booze, boating, bonfires, fireworks, and fun add up to a party you won’t want to miss.
Don’t let the fact that the Ravenswood neighborhood’s fireworks display is just downstream from the White River Yacht Club fool you—the proceedings are more raucous than refined. The pyrotechnics launch from a spit of city-owned property called Ravenswood Overlook in the tiny community. Almost every homeowner throws a party, sometimes with live bands and almost always with a bonfire. So many boats crowd the river that in some spots, you could walk from bank to bank without getting your feet wet. After the fireworks, the flotilla breaks up, but the partying—on land and afloat—rages on.

“Some of the houseboats stay lashed together,” says area resident Lynne Boone. “It can get pretty tricky when they’re going down the river three-wide.” Especially if (as in years past) one of them includes a second, upper deck top-heavy with partiers. “I don’t know if it’s fun or dangerous or both, but they certainly seem to be having a good time,” says Boone.

Locals can thank area residents Meredith Smith and his wife, Charlotte, for starting the tradition. Though Meredith died in 2008, Charlotte and her two children continue to organize the fireworks, which are paid for strictly through donations. The 2015 edition cost around $16,000 and lasted more than an hour. “It’s a challenge to put on a better show every year,” says Charlotte.

Want to attend this year’s event on July 3? If you can’t wrangle an invite from an area resident, try the White River Yacht Club, which often opens to the public for the show. “We sit on eight acres, so there’s plenty of room to spread out and watch,” says general manager Jason Luke. Heck, when they do open, they even offer a buffet. Party on.


Bonus Gallery: Can’t get enough of the Ravenswood shindig? We have more photos of the tradition, here.