Written by Texas Highways
I am enchanted by night sounds. I am aware of ambient noise always, but in my day-to-day life the buzz and hum of air vents and traffic is seldom remarkable enough to draw my attention.
"Welcome to Lindale,” announces the vinyl billboard with a picture of a platinum blonde holding a guitar. “Hometown of Miranda Lambert.”
If your kids are like mine, they’re fascinated by trains. Perhaps it’s the powerful sound of the horn at crossings, the rumble of locomotives chugging alongside the highway, or the magic of an unusual sight found mostly in cartoons, movies, and storybooks.
The infectious opening song of TEXAS—a bouncy Broadway-style tune sprinkled with Texas swagger—sticks in your head long after the outdoor musical ends.
In Uvalde, the Briscoe-Garner Museum will hold an open house on July Fourth featuring its new permanent exhibit, Dolph Briscoe: Texan. Set in the former home of John Nance “Cactus Jack” Garner, the museum chronicles the lives and careers of two of Texas’ most influential politicians, both from Uvalde. Briscoe was governor from 1973 to 1979; Garner was speaker of the U.S. House from 1931-1933 and vice president in the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. The museum reopened in late 2013 after a renovation, and in April opened the second floor, which houses the Briscoe exhibit and artifacts such as campaign memorabilia and his U.S. Army uniform.
It’s hard to beat the Dallas-Fort Worth area when it comes to July Fourth fireworks: The cities and surrounding towns stage about 20 glorious pyrotechnic shows. But there’s also plenty to do before the sun goes down, including the Texas Pool Independence Day Party in Plano ($5 entry). The 168,000-gallon, Texas-shaped saltwater pool hosts the annual event from noon to 6 p.m. with music, games, water volleyball, a cannonball contest, and snack bar. Nearby, Plano will host its All-American Fourth fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. at Oak Point Park & Nature Preserve.
The congregation of about 85 hot-air balloons in Longview means it’s time for the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championship and Great Texas Balloon Race. Held July 21-23, the championship features the nation’s 50 top pilots competing in flying accuracy contests over Longview and Kilgore. On the weekend of July 24-26, the championship pilots join competitors in the Great Texas Balloon Race for more contests, which spectators can view at the East Texas Regional Airport. Also at the airport, a festival boasts balloon glows, shaped balloons demos, bounce houses, and concerts by the Oak Ridge Boys and Cooder Graw.
Empower your children to fight the dreaded “Dr. Boredom” of summer with the Children’s Museum of Houston, which is hosting its season-long Summer of Epic Adventure: Forces Unite. Daily activities include making superhero capes and masks; experiments like making slime or catapults; and the live musical production of Forces Unite. Check the museum’s schedule for other events, including a showcase of dogs dancing and Frisbee-catching on July 9 and 11, and a Silly String Showdown and an appearance by Spiderman on August 1.
The Caddo Indians were among the first Texans, moving into the Neches Valley about 1,200 years ago. For nearly a millennium, until the arrival of Europeans, they dominated life in East Texas; for the first half of that time, they occupied a terrace above the Neches River. And when the Caddo vacated the village, they left behind three ceremonial mounds that tell us much of what we know about prehistoric times in East Texas. They also inspired the name of our state.