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Independence Day Events 2014

Written by Grace Carrier. Photographs by J. Griffis Smith.

JulyFourth

It’s time to strike up the band, dress in your finest red, white, and blue, and raise your flags high for some Texas-sized fun. July 4th marks the 238th anniversary of America’s independence, and the Lone Star State is ready to commemorate the occasion in style.

Whether it’s seeing Willie Nelson perform at the historic Stockyards of Fort Worth, watching a boat parade in Rockport’s Little Bay, or attending a hometown rodeo in Granbury, celebrating the Fourth of July in Texas is a special occasion. You’d be hard-pressed to find a community across the state that isn’t celebrating Independence Day in some form or fashion, but we’ve rounded up a few of the bigger events to give a sampling of what our state has to offer. Find more Independence Day events in the Texas Highways’ searchable events database.

Granbury: Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration: 40 Years of Patriotic Tradition

July 4-6. The charming historic town of Granbury is hosting one of the largest Fourth of July celebrations in Texas. Festivities begin July 3rd with a car show, followed by a 5k run, decorated bike contest, hometown parade, and rodeo on the 4th. Other Independence Day events include concert performances by the Melody Belles and the Langdon Center Big Band, and a fireworks show over Lake Granbury at 9:45 p.m. On Saturday morning, families can play old-fashioned games such as Hog Calling, sack races, and cow chip tosses in Granbury’s Shanley Park. A beachfront church service wraps up the weekend on Sunday morning. Also, the Granbury Theatre Company will be staging performances throughout the weekend of 1776: The Musical, in which Thomas Jefferson is asked to draft the Declaration of Independence. The musical will be shown at the Granbury Opera House at 133 East Pearl Street; tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors and students, and $15 for children ages 12 and under.

Houston: Freedom Over Texas

July 4. Freedom Over Texas, Houston’s official July 4th celebration, has drawn big crowds to Eleanor Tinsley Park at Buffalo Bayou for decades. This year’s Independence Day fete boasts a star-studded concert lineup with performances by Jennifer Nettles (the lead vocalist of Sugarland), Clare Bowen of the TV musical drama Nashville, the John Evans Band, Jason Allen, and many others. Five branches of the U.S. military will be represented at the celebration, as well as all four of Houston’s professional sports teams. To cap off the evening, attendees can enjoy one of the nation’s largest fireworks shows. The event takes place 4 to 10 p.m. Eleanor Tinsley Park is at 500 Allen Parkway. www.freedomovertexas.org. Tickets are available online for $8 per person until midnight on July 3 (children 5 and under are free). On July 4, tickets will be $10 online and at the gate admission booths.

Austin: Fourth of July Fireworks and Symphony

July 4. The Austin Symphony is hosting its 38th annual July Fourth Concert and Fireworks at Circuit of the Americas (CoTA) this year, southeast of the Austin airport. The celebration is usually held at Auditorium Shores on Lady Bird Lake, but will be hosted by CoTA’s Austin360 Amphitheater this year while Auditorium Shores is closed for construction. The orchestra performance begins at 8:30 p.m. and will close with a spectacular “mile-high” fireworks show. Free parking is available in the CoTA lot beginning at 3 p.m. Circuit of The Americas, 9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd.

Fort Worth: Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic

July 4. “Join the Red Headed Stranger in the historic Stockyards of Fort Worth for the 41st annual edition of Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic. Performers at this year’s event include Dierks Bentley, the Josh Abbot Band, Ryan Bingham, and Willie himself. Willie’s Picnic began in 1973 in Dripping Springs, showcasing Willie and a slate of big-name country music guests over the years. The event has moved around to various venues and began its current run at Billy Bob’s and the Stockyards in Fort Worth in 2011. Rain or shine, the gates will open at 11:00 a.m. and the musicians will play until midnight.

Round Top: Fourth of July Parade and Celebration

July 4. The community of Round Top will celebrate the Fourth of July for the 164th year this summer, continuing a tradition thought to be the oldest continuous July 4th celebration west of the Mississippi River. A 19th-Century cannon blast launches the parade at 10:30 a.m. on Independence Day. Following the parade, celebrants can enjoy music, barbecue, and children’s activities at the Round Top Rifle Hall. Round Top Square and Round Top Rifle Hall, 710 F.M. 1457.

Rockport: Patriotic Boat Parade and Fireworks Display

July 4. Head to Rockport for a Gulf Coast-style Fourth of July. Bring a picnic to the shores of Little Bay at noon as decorated boats parade across the water. Spend the afternoon playing on the public beach, and turn your eyes to the sky at dusk for a fireworks display. The best views are from Broadway adjacent to Little Bay. Rockport Beach Park.

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