Things To Do

Freedom Rings Across Houston and the Surrounding Areas This Independence Day

An impressive pyrotechnic display will end the evening at CITGO Freedom Over Texas, Houston's official Fourth of July celebration.
An impressive pyrotechnic display will end the evening at CITGO Freedom Over Texas, Houston's official Fourth of July celebration. Photo by Richard Carson

Get ready to don your red, white and blue over the long Independence Day weekend, because there is no shortage of ways to celebrate America’s 241st birthday throughout Houston and surrounding areas. Festivals, food, fireworks – sounds like our kind of party. Let freedom ring!

Saturday, July 1

28th Annual Katy Freedom Celebration and Fireworks Display
Free drinks and hot dogs for all, courtesy of H-E-B, at Katy’s Freedom Celebration. The two-part event includes a dunking booth, petting zoo, bounce houses, balloon animals, snow cones, a Captain America DJ and opportunities to meet Katy’s first responders in the morning and a fireworks display in the evening. Note that George Bush Drive will be closed, but visitors can park on the streets east of Avenue D in the morning, and in the evening, the parking lot of Katy Mills Mall will be open to park and watch the fireworks. The morning program runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the City of Katy complex between the Katy Fire Department and VFW Park. The evening program runs from 8 to 10 p.m. near Typhoon Texas and Katy Mills Mall, 5000 Katy Mills Circle, Katy. For information, call 281-391-4840 or visit Free.

Around the World in 80 Minutes: The Patriotic Concert
The Cypress Symphonic Band ends their “Around the World in 80 Minutes”-themed season with a patriotic flair, a tribute to our country and the armed forces. The program includes Francis Scott Key’s “The Star Spangled Banner,” Frank Ticheli’s “An American Elegy for Concert Band,” John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” and an arrangement of “The Caisson Song,” “The U.S. Marines Song,” “Anchors Aweigh,” “Semper Paratus” and “The U.S. Air Force Song.” 3 to 5 p.m. July 1. Cornerstone United Methodist Church, 18081 West. For information, call 281-744-4464 or visit Free.

Bands on the Sand with Velvet Punch
Moody Gardens’ Bands on the Sand concert series continues Saturday night with Velvet Punch, a Houston-based dance party band of the you-name-it-they-play-it variety. Expect a mix of disco, ‘80s, Motown and current hits, too, before the fireworks display over Offatts Bayou. 6 to 10 p.m. July 1. Palm Beach at Moody Gardens, One Hope Boulevard, Galveston. For information, call 800-582-4673 or visit $15.

Boots & Eats on the Beach
Country music star Bri Bagwell will give a free concert from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. while six popular food trucks park nearby, including Cool Runnings Jamaican Grill, Cousins Maine Lobster, D’Lish Curbside Bistro, The Cuban Spot, Nacho Nachos and Pounders at Stewart Beach’s July 4th weekend party. Visitors can also enjoy the nearby beach, a kid’s bungee trampoline, a water slide and other fun activities at the park. 6 to 9 p.m. July 1. Stewart Beach, 201 Seawall Boulevard, Galveston. For information, visit Free, but parking at Stewart Beach is $15 per car.

Third Annual Round Top INNdependence Day Fireworks Jamboree
The Compound in Round Top will celebrate the nation’s birthday with live music from Round Top’s own Black Cat Choir (from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.), a softball tournament, a pie contest, fireworks, food and drinks. The jamboree isn’t just a party, it also benefits a good cause: the Round Top/Warrenton Volunteer Fire Department. 4 p.m. July 1. The Compound, 2550 South State Highway 237, Round Top. For information, call 979-551-5916 or visit Free.

CityCentre's July 4th Weekend Celebration with the Pete Simple Band
CityCentre’s four-day extravaganza returns, once again offering a different musical act everyday between July 1 and Independence Day. Starting things off this year are the pop/rock musical stylings of the Pete Simple Band. 7 to 10 p.m. July 1. CityCentre, 800 West Sam Houston Parkway North. For information, call 713-629-5200 or visit Free.

July 1 Fireworks + Concert at Kings Harbor
Tribute act Johnny & The Spinsations take the stage at 7 p.m. to celebrate America’s birth with a set full of early rock ‘n’ roll hits from artists such as the Beach Boys, Elvis Presley and Sam Cooke, before a 12-minute fireworks display off Kings Harbor’s reopened, newly built pier at 9:30 p.m. Bring your blankets and lawn chairs, pick up something to eat at one of the restaurants, and plan for parking. Carpool or ride share, if you can; new Uber riders can use the code KHFireworks to receive their first ride (up to $20) free. 7 to 10 p.m. July 1. Kings Harbor, 1660 West Lake Houston Parkway, Kingwood. For information, call 713-629-5200 or visit Free.

Red, White, Blues & Brews featuring a Tribute to George Strait
Sugar Land Town Square and Baker St. Pub & Grill Sugar Land have joined forces to put on quite the show, a tribute to iconic country singer George Strait, featuring Derek Spence. Bring a chair, enjoy some snacks and brews from Baker St. Pub, and get ready to sing along to classic George, like “Carrying Your Love with Me” and “All My Ex's Live in Texas.” Remember though, this one is a concert only; you’ll have to get your fireworks fix elsewhere. 7 to 9 p.m. July 1. Sugar Land Town Square, 2711 Plaza Drive, Sugar Land. For information, call 281-276-6000 or visit Free.

5 Nights of Fireworks
In the five days leading up to Independence Day, spectators can see a fireworks show every night in Galveston. At dusk on Saturday, July 1, the pyrotechnics will pop over Offatts Bayou at Moody Gardens and the Galveston Island Convention & Visitors Bureau will put on a show at 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 2; Monday, July 3; and Tuesday, July 4 near 37th and Seawall Boulevard over the Gulf of Mexico. For information, call 1-888-425-5753 or visit Free.

Sunday, July 2

Traders Village Independence Day Celebration
Entertainment for the Independence Day Celebration at Traders Village has yet to be announced, but you can count on free fun for the whole family (with parking just $4 per car). In the past, there’s been live music, games, giveaways, face painting and balloon sculptures. Noon to 4 p.m. July 2. Traders Village Houston, 7979 North Eldridge Parkway. For information, call 281-890-5500 or visit Free.

Round Top Music Festival 2017: Patriotic Concert
Conductor Yaniv Dinur leads the Texas Festival Orchestra in a tribute to America, featuring favorites from John Philip Sousa ("Stars and Stripes Forever" and “The Thunderer”) and George Gershwin ("An American in Paris" and “Concerto in F”) alongside an Armed Forces Salute, "Yellow Rose of Texas" and, of course, "The Star Spangled Banner." 3 to 4:30 p.m. July 2. Round Top Festival Institute, 248 Jaster Road, Round Top. For information, call 979-249-3129 or visit $10 to $45.

Fulshear Freedom Fest
Presented by the City of Fulshear and the Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce, the Fulshear Freedom Fest will include a parade, with Boston Marathon bombing survivor Rebekah Gregory serving as grand marshal; performances by The Voice finalist Mary Sarah, who will sing “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America,” and ‘80s cover band The Spazmatics; food trucks and fireworks. They are also debuting the first ever Fulshear Kazoo Marching Band for the first 50 kids, age five to ten wearing red, white and blue. Kazoos provided. 6 to 9 p.m. July 2. Downtown Fulshear, 8100 FM 359 South, Fulshear. For information, call 832-600-3221 or visit Free.

CityCentre’s July 4th Weekend Celebration with Janell McDonald & Grace Point
CityCentre’s four-day extravaganza continues with an inspirational night out with Janell McDonald and Grace Point. 7 to 10 p.m. July 2. CityCentre, 800 West Sam Houston Parkway North. For information, call 713-629-5200 or visit Free.

Monday, July 3

City of Baytown July 4th Celebration – Day One
So much fun it can’t be contained in one day, the City of Baytown July 4th Celebration is a two-day celebration of our country’s birthday. Day one features performances from the Mambo Kings (from 6 to 7:30 p.m.) and Grand Funk Railroad (from 8 to 9:30 p.m.). 6 to 9:30 p.m. July 3. Baytown Bicentennial Park, 119 Lee Drive, (at Market Street and Lee Drive), Baytown. For information, call 281-420-6597 or visit Free.

League City Light Up the Sky Fireworks Spectacular
Bring your blankets and lawn chairs to the family-friendly party over in League City, which includes live music from the Miles of Texas Band, food trucks (The Waffle Bus, Curbside Sliderz, Wokker and Kona Ice are just a few that will be there), inflatable bounce houses, plenty of vendors and, of course, a fireworks display. 6 to 10 p.m. July 3. Chester Davis Sportsplex, 1251 League City Parkway, League City. For information, call 281-554-1000 or visit Free.

City of Stafford 42nd Annual Independence Day Celebration
The first day of Stafford’s Independence Day Celebration starts with a parade at 7 p.m. grand marshaled by Bonny Krahn and includes musical guests Alex Garibay & Tejano Knights and Cecil Shaw & the AllStylz Band. Carnival rides, game booths, hay rides and food will complete the evening. 7 to 11:30 p.m. July 3. Stafford Centre, 10505 Cash Road, Stafford. For information, call 281-208-6900 or visit Free.

CityCentre’s July 4th Weekend Celebration with the Max Flinn Band
CityCentre’s four-day extravaganza continues and changes it up once again, this time with a little country music from the Max Flinn Band. 7 to 10 p.m. July 3. CityCentre, 800 West Sam Houston Parkway North. For information, call 713-629-5200 or visit Free.

Fast Eddie’s Independence Day Hot Dog Eating Competition
For an entry fee of just $5, try your hand at Fast Eddie’s Independence Day Hot Dog Eating Competition at either the Houston or Beaumont location. The winner leaves with all the money, one month of free pool, preferred seating and a T-shirt from Budweiser. And bring your own cheering section; if you don’t eat the most hot dogs, you can still take home most popular contestant and a month of free pool. If that’s not enough, $2.75 Budweiser and $4 Wild Turkey all day and all night. 8 p.m. July 3. 12344 Gulf Freeway, Suite A&B or 6410 Phelan, Beaumont. For information, visit $5.

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The Houston Symphony returns to Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion to perform their Star Spangled Salute.
Photo by Ted Washington
Houston Symphony at CWMP: Star Spangled Salute
Before taking the show down to Miller Outdoor Theatre, see the Houston Symphony perform its Star Spangled Salute at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. The program, a Houston tradition for the last 25 years, features audience favorites including a medley tribute to the armed forces and Tchaikovsky’s epic 1812 Overture led by Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke, with an assist from vocalist Ryan Shaw. 8 p.m. July 3. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins, Spring. For information, call 1-800-745-3000 or 281-363-3300 or visit Free.

Tuesday, July 4

42nd Annual South Montgomery County 4th of July Parade
Sunny 99.1’s Dana Tyson will grand marshal South Montgomery County’s "Let Freedom Ring"-themed parade, beginning at 9 a.m. with “The Star Spangled Banner” performed by Kelley Peters from the balcony in Market Street and Lauren Moore at Town Green Park. With more than 150 entries, including five local marching bands, fire engines, clowns, horses, floats, street performers and dignitaries, expect the 1.3 mile, rain-or-shine parade to attract more than 8,000 people as it makes its way through Market Street. 9 to 11 a.m. July 4. Market Street – The Woodlands, 9595 Six Pines Drive, The Woodlands. For information, call 281-210-3975 or visit Free.

An American Tradition at George Ranch Historical Park
Hebrew National, Oscar Meyer, Johnsonville – nothing says Independence Day like a hot dog. The festivities at George Ranch Historical Park include a Hot Dog Feast with all the fixin’s and sides (stadium-style buns, grilled peppers and onions, chili, sauerkraut, potato salad, pasta salad, beans and lemonade). Around the eating, visitors can enjoy historic games, a scavenger hunt through time and across the park, a reading of the Declaration of Independence and a cobbler eating contest. Reservations for lunch are required ($4 for children four and under, $12 for children five to 12, and $15 for anyone over 13) and can be made online or by phone. 9 a.m. July 4. George Ranch Historical Park, 10215 FM 762, Richmond. For information, call 281-343-0218 or visit Free to $10.

Bellaire 4th of July Parade and Festival
The City of Bellaire will celebrate America's Superheroes (this year’s theme) at their annual parade and community festival. The festival will be held in the Bellaire Town Square and Loftin Park, complete with carnival games and rides, a petting zoo, a Ferris wheel, live music and food. 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Bellaire Town Square, 7008 South Rice Avenue, Bellaire. For information, call 713-662-8280 or visit Free.

Chappell Hill 4th of July Parade and Cowboy Roundup
The annual Chappell Hill 4th of July Parade with the Marching Kazoo Band will stroll down Main Street before ending with a Cowboy Roundup at the Chappell Hill Historical Society Museum. Bring a picnic and a blanket or lawn chairs to enjoy the roundup, which includes live music, pony rides, a petting zoo, chuck wagon, trick roping and free admission to the exhibits at the museum, “V.T. ‘Cowboy’ Williams” and “Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy.” 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 4. Chappell Hill Historical Museum, 9220 Poplar Street, Chappell Hill. For information, call 979-836-6033 or visit Free.

Fireworks on the Brazos
The Fourth of July celebration at Washington on the Brazos includes hourly tours of Independence Hall (between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., except at noon), kids’ crafts, old-fashioned baseball games, and a concert by the Wesley Westbrook Band. There will also be patriotic music, period games, rifle demonstrations, food, and living history interpretations before the fireworks extravaganza at 9:30 p.m. Admission and parking is free, visitors are welcome to bring picnics, blankets, lawn chairs and flashlights, and – even better – H-E-B will be on hand to provide free soda and between 5 and 7 p.m. Blue Bell will be giving away ice cream. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 4. Washington on the Brazos, 23400 Park Road 12, Washington. For information, call 936-878-2214 or visit Free.

Salute To America, Texan Style – 122nd Annual Friendswood Fourth of July Celebration
The Grand Parade, led by retired FISD superintendent Trish Hanks serving as grand marshal, will kick off the 122nd Annual Fourth of July Celebration at 10 a.m. from the corner of FM 518 and Heritage Drive. The parade, with more than 100 entries, will conclude at Stevenson Park for an afternoon of amusement rides, games, food and live entertainment until 3:30 p.m. The evening program at Centennial Park features a performance by tribute act Bee Gees Gold before ending with a fireworks display choreographed to patriotic music at 9:20 p.m. Admission is free, but wristbands must be purchased ($10 to $15) for the rides. The morning program begins at 10 a.m. at Stevenson Park, 1100 South Friendswood Drive, Friendswood. The evening program starts at 7:30 p.m. at Centennial Park, 2200 South Friendswood Drive, Friendswood. For information, call 281-996-3220 or visit Free.

July 4th Citizen Appreciation Day at League Park
Representatives of the City of League City (including the mayor, City Council, the Parks Board, and Parks and Recreation staff) will be on hand at their annual July 4th celebration to serve refreshments to residents to show their appreciation. The afternoon event will also offer live music, bounce houses, face painting and a petting zoo for kids. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 4. League Park, 200 North Park Street, League City. For information, call 281-554-1180 or visit Free.

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Natalie de la Garza is a contributing writer who adores all things pop culture and longs to know everything there is to know about the Houston arts and culture scene.