Friday, July 4, 2014

Totally Texas -- A Fourth red, white and beautiful

One splendid thing among many about our Fourth of July Independence Day celebrations: most of them are free. Stands to reason. How can you charge money for fireworks displays visible from every hilltop in the city? Or parades on public streets?

But there’s more to Independence Day than fireworks. So here’s a list of some of my favorites. Some free, some will cost, maybe to remind us that the Declaration of Independence was issued when independence itself was far from being won.

-- Neighborhood parades. If you haven’t overslept from last night’s Kaboom Town pyrotechnics blowout in Addison, there’s still time to catch some of today’s local parades. My part of East Dallas has several to choose from. My favorite is the Lakewood neighborhood parade, beginning at 10 a.m. today at the intersection of Lakewood and Cambria boulevards and ending at Tokalon Park. This year’s theme is “Lakewood Loves the Beach,” but it’s one of those parades where you don’t really need a theme, or permit or a payment to join in. Bring yourself, vehicles, bikes, or dogs, and gather at the starting point by 9:15 a.m.

The last couple of years, I’ve found plenty of parking at nearby White Rock Lake Park. Wear comfortable shoes--you may have to walk a bit to find the best spots. For a complete list of area events, including city fireworks and parades, see

-- Butterflies for a buck. Texas Discovery Gardens at Fair Park, 3601 Martin Luther King Dr. Blvd., celebrate Independence Day by cutting admission to the gardens to $1 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 4. Arrive by noon to see the release of just-emerged tropical butterflies in the adjacent butterfly house. Enter at Gate 6 of Fair Park. You’ll still need to pay the $5 parking fee for Fair Park events, because of course you’ll . . .

. . . Stay for music, rides and fireworks. Live music and access to rides, games and concessions begin at noon at the park. Fireworks start at approximately 9:30 p.m., and the grounds close at 10 p.m. Pay the $5 per vehicle parking fee, or take DART’s Green
Line to the park’s front gates. For details, see

--Or wind to the top of Flagpole Hill, Northwest Highway and Buckner Boulevard, north of White Rock Lake, for vibes and a free bird’s eye view of fireworks all over town.

--Or splurge on tickets to the GeO-Deck at Reunion Tower, $16 for adults, $8 for children, at 300 Reunion Blvd. East, in Dallas. The tower‘s viewing deck is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with the last elevator going up at 9:30 p.m. Adjacent parking is $6, or access the tower by DART or Trinity Railway Express through nearby Union Station. See for more information.

-- You can keep your feet on the ground July 4 at Dallas Heritage Village’s Old Fashioned Fourth, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The village’s collection of historic and vintage buildings is located near downtown at 1515 S. Harwood St. Circus-themed games for kids, parade, crafts. Concessions available or bring your own picnic. See

-- And that Declaration of Independence itself? See one of the few surviving original broadsides printed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, at the Dallas Library’s Central Branch, 1515 Young Street. But you’ll have to wait until tomorrow. The library’s closed today for the holiday! For details and hours, see

(Next Friday -- Can cardboard float? Check out the cardboard boat races at Dallas’ Samuell Grand Park.)

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