Things to Do in Dallas This Fourth of July Weekend

Kaboom Town! 10by Gordan Robbins 005FB
Pretty lights at Kaboom Town. Photo by Gordan Robbins.

If you’re looking for Fourth of July fun for the year 2012, go here instead.

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Fair Park Fourth (July 4)  The swan boats lure us in every time. But there are other attractions, like music from the Grammy-nominated Stefani Little Band and a “dancing water” show choreographed to songs like “Stars and Stripes Forever.” And, yes, massive amounts of fireworks going up at 9:30 pm. The organizers recommend staking out a nice place inside the Cotton Bowl for optimal viewing, but families with young children take heed: no strollers allowed.

Kaboom Town (July 3)  At least 50,000 people are expected to show up for this free fireworks mega-display – and that’s just counting the people who make it into the park. Three different bands and the Cavanaugh Flight Museum Warbird Flyover are the entertainment prior to the 30-minute pyrotechnics. Then hang around for an after-party featuring Emerald City. But should you eschew the great outdoors and set up shop at say, a neighboring pub, the show is so huge that you can basically see it from outer space.

Star Spangled Spectacular (July 4)  We like this one because it’s all indoors – even the fireworks. Seriously. The Dallas Wind Symphony’s Star Spangled Spectacular show will also feature patriotic tunes, ice cream and hot dogs, and an 11-foot tall Uncle Sam. And if you can’t make it to this afternoon performance, the wind symphony will be doing the “Oh, Say Can You See” honors at both Kaboom Town in Addison and Fair Park Fourth.

Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic (July 4) We’d be a lot more concerned about any sort of impending apocalypse if Willie Nelson decided not to host his annual to-do. Duh. That’s never gonna happen (we hope). This country mega-concert/Independence Day celebration marks the final date on Nelson’s national Country Throwdown tour, and performers will include the impressively hairy Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser, Jack Ingram, Paula Nelson, Ray Price, David Allan Coe, and, of course, the man himself. There’s a ticket limit thanks to the change in venue (it’s now at Billy Bob’s), but if it’s not sold out, you can grab tickets at the gate for $35.

For more fireworks, parties, and community celebrations, follow the sparkler – er, the jump. Check back for updates.


Independence Day Weekend at the Ballpark (July 1-4) Watch the Rangers beat the Marlins and the Orioles over the holiday weekend. Friday features their regular fireworks show, Sunday offers dollar ice cream and free Ian Kinsler jerseys for kids. Monday, of course, is the big deal “Captain America-Disney Independence Day” fireworks show. Tickets are still available.

Lake Grapevine (July 4)  Now is the time to make nice with the neighbor who owns a boat. Because, sure, you could park and watch from the sidelines, but this fireworks display would be so much better viewed from the water. The show starts at 9:30 pm.

Lone Star Park (July 3-4)  As if gambling and horse-racing weren’t American enough, stick around after the dust settles for a fireworks set to patriotic tunes. Classic rock radio station 92.5 provides Sunday’s soundtrack, with 99.5 The Wolf taking over on Monday. For the kids: pony rides, a petting zoo, bounce houses, and more.

Old Fashioned Family Fireworks Picnic (July 2, 3, 4) At the end of each concert (stirring patriotic tunes as interpreted by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra), expect a rousing round of firecrackers.

Eat all of these.
Eat all of these.


Brass Knuckle Corn Dog Beatdown (July 4) You could sit at home, drinking in your backyard and swatting mosquitoes. But wouldn’t you rather watch a bunch of brave people chew up a disgusting number of corn dogs in the span of 15 minutes? Sure you would. Head to the Libertine Bar for their annual contest. We will not be participating, but we’ll happily cheer everyone on. Winner gets a $100 gift certificate, second place gets a $50 certificate, and third place gets $25…in quarters. If there’s a tie, it’ll be settled with tequila shots. You’re welcome, America.

Elephiesta (July 3)  Fort Worth Stockyards staples Love Shack and White Elephant Saloon team up for Elphiesta, the eighth annual all-day music fest and party. All of the bands are from Texas; they start at noon and keep playing until midnight. That’s 16 bands on two stages total. Best of all, it’s free, but we’re betting you won’t be able to resist a few cold ones and a burger or two throughout the day.

Firework Watching Party at the Belmont (July 3-4). Take advantage of the Belmont’s patio. It’s perfect for catching the downtown fireworks from afar. Drink (responsibly), swim, and grab grub from in-house restaurant Smoke, serving up American classics like hot dogs and hamburgers late into the night.

Fourth of July Haunted House Tour (July 1-4) So usually this sort of thing is reserved for Halloween. But we’re all for bucking tradition. Scream your head off as you wind your way around the West End’s “most notoriously haunted building.” Hey, blood is red, right?

Idle Rich 4th of July Party (July 3)  So American: $5 summer beer, $5 frozen Pomeritas, and $2 hot dogs, plus live music from Tom Petty cover band Petty Theft at 9 pm.

Midnight Pool Party (July 3)  For those feeling classy or just lamenting that they didn’t get tickets to a certain sold-out show, head to the Joule. Foster the People will DJ a set following their concert at Loft, Charlie Palmer will provide the snacks (do they even do hot dogs?), and there’s no need to worry about what to wear. Swimsuits and “glam cover ups” are the name of this game. Tickets are $40.

Old Monk 4th of a July Party (July 3) The Old Monk cordially invites you to the kind of Sunday brunch that lasts all day. Don’t mind if we do. A DJ spins at 10 pm.

Red, White, and Blues at The Common Table (July 3)  Live music, plus beer specials and one of our favorite party starters: sangria pitchers.

Red, White, and YooHoo + Fourth of July at Double Wide (July 3-4) On Sunday evening, do not expect to do anything normal in Double Wide’s normally barren backyard parking lot. It will be full of plastic inflatable kiddie pools. You have our permission to play a weird stunted variety of chicken fight, provided you plan ahead and bring appropriate swim gear. On the actual holiday, you can watch the Fair Park fireworks while enjoying $2 wells and domestic beers.

Viva Dallas Burlesque Star Spangled Spectacular (July 1)  Not to be confused with the family-friendly concert three days late at the Meyerson. In honor of Independence Day, Viva Dallas Burlesque has put together a “USO style tribute” to our troops for a night of good old-fashioned titillation that might also tickle your funny bone. We think this goes without saying, but for all you red-blooded Americans out there, here there be pretty ladies.

Adorable or animal cruelty? You decide. Photo courtesy of flickr user randy_son_of_robert.

Parades and Community Celebrations

Arlington Fourth of July (July 4) 46 years. That’s how long people have been parading through downtown Arlington. This year, the theme is “Let’s Roll…America.” Why we need the ellipsis, I’m not sure. But they’re expecting nearly 50,000 attendees and 3,000 participants. Respect. The 2-mile parade route begins at the intersection of Mitchell and Pecan streets, proceeds north on Pecan Street, west on UTA Boulevard, north on West Street, east on Abram Street, south on Center Street, west on Mitchell Street and ends at the point of origin at the Mitchell and Pecan Street intersection.

Dallas Arboretum Concert and Picnic (July 3) The 36th Infantry Division Band, composed of servicemen and women from the Texas Army National Guard, will present a concert of patriotic, pop, and rock tunes. Bring a picnic or get 4th of July fare there.

Electric Theater and Fire & Ice at the Museum of Nature and Science (July 2-4). Beat the heat with indoor firework simulations of the explosive and electrical variety. Usually these shows are for groups or by appoint, but the MNS is opening them up to the public for the holiday weekend. Electric Theater will take place at 1 pm each day; Fire & Ice at 3 pm.

Fort Worth’s Fourth (July 4) The folks out west have the right idea. They’ve taken the traditional Fourth of July celebration and turned it into a waterfest, complete with cool activities like tubing and kayaking. And should you feel like getting sweaty, there’s pony rides, mini golf, and a cardboard slide derby. Catch fireworks after the Fort Worth Cats baseball game.

Freedom Weekend at the Dallas Zoo (July 2-4)  Free admission for active and retired U.S. military personnel and three family members.

Frisco Freedom Fest and Taste of Frisco (July 2) Frisco invites you to eat like a red-blooded American at Taste of Frisco while enjoying a whole host of activities for kids: bungee cords, bounce houses, midway games, a gigantic slide, and more. Go see FC Dallas take on the Columbus Crew at Pizza Hut Park and you’ll be rewarded with a fireworks display after the game.

Irving Firecracker Fourth (July 4)  The festivities start nice and early at 9 am in downtown old Irving. The parade route takes you along Irving Boulevard and then back to Heritage Park where you can enjoy free watermelon and music post-parade. We recommend a trip to Big State Drug Store nearby for a tasty all-American lunch: one of Chef Leland’s burgers, fries, and a chocolate shake. Fireworks, preceded by live music from the Kenny Chavez Combo, begin around 9:45 pm in Las Colinas near Williams Square (better known as “over by the mustangs”).

July Jubilee in Denton (July 4) This all-day celebration kicks off before we’re awake with the 12th annual Liberty Run. Good thing, too, since it’ll be scorching hot by the time everyone’s done with their 5K. Hit the Yankee Doodle parade at 9 am, which travels north on Locust Street, west on Hickory, north on Elm, east on Oak, north on Locust, and east on McKinney. Cool off with $1 admission to the pool. The Kiwanis Club will have music and fireworks at UNT’s Fouts Field starting at 6:30 pm.

Lakewood Loves the Lake/Lakewood’s Got Talent (July 4)  No reservations, no registration, no entry fees. Just show up, kiddos in tow, and grab a number. Then parade yourself around the neighborhood. All sorts of prizes will be awarded, including one for best costume, best float, best two wheeler, and most original.

McKinney’s Red, White, and BOOM (July 4) Did we startle you? Good. Kick off the Fourth with a parade followed by a car show, live music, food, and family activities. In the evening, see the American Idol Motown Review featuring past Idol contestants Michael Sarver from season eight, David Hernandez from season 7, and Lakisha Jones and Gina Glocksen from season 6. The fireworks display starts at 9:45.

Park Cities Fourth of July Parade (July 4)  Everyone loves a parade, especially the people of the Park Cities. The annual event starts at Highland Park Town Hall and ends at University Park City Hall. An All-American picnic featuring loads of free refreshments and activities for the kids follows in Goar Park.

Plano Fourth of July (July 3-4)  Two days of celebration. Sunday features a patriotic concert in Haggard Park, and Monday offers up a parade (the route is along Independence Parkway from 15th Street west to Parkhaven Drive), a performance by the Plano Symphony Orchestra at the Eisemann Center, and of course, fireworks. Head to the hillside with your picnic and your blanket for fireworks that start at 9:30 pm.

Richardson Fourth of July (July 4) Balloon artists! Bounce houses! Climbing wall? Yep. All the better to celebrate Independence Day. Bring a picnic dinner, and the fireworks will follow the live entertainment at 9:45 pm. Parking at the park is limited, so there will be a free shuttle busing in revelers from the Rockwell-Collins International Campus.

The Sandlot presented by the Texas Theatre (July 4) Oak Cliff, this is for you. Really, is there a better way to celebrate the Fourth of July besides watching this beloved movie about our national pastime? Don’t forget lawn chairs, a picnic, lots of ice, and at least six battery-operated fans.

Southlake Stars and Stripes (July 3) Head to Town Square for music and family-friendly activities. A 30-minute fireworks display starts at 9:30 pm. FYI: eager beavers can claim a spot starting July 2 at 7 pm.


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