I like to consider myself a connoisseur of celebratory experiences, and July 4 is my specialty. This is partly because of my patriotic parents as well as my preference for holidays that revolve around grilled meat, icy beer and oddity fireworks--like paper chickens that spin around and shoot fireballs out their asses.
That said, I've experienced some stellar celebrations around the state where the grilling, swilling and chilling appeared in abundance. Take, for instance, Willie Nelson's picnic, where thousands of us lay sweltering while Willie sang "Whiskey River" seven times during his set. There was also a fine July afternoon in Luckenbach, where everybody was somebody and we all knocked back Lone Stars while listening to honky-tonk. For sheer beauty, watching the fireworks reflected in Austin's Town Lake was the winner.
But this year, I'll be attending a personal favorite--Addison Kaboom Town! This suburb has managed for more than 20 years to put together a celebration that draws 100,000 people, and frankly, nobody in Texas beats its colossal fireworks display. The pyrotechnic half-hour begins at 9:30 p.m., choreographed to music and simulcast on 100.3 Jack FM, but revelries start at 5 p.m. at Addison Circle Park, 4970 Addison Circle Drive. Live music acts throughout the evening include the Fort Sill 77th Army Band, Five Times August and Jackopierce, and historic warplanes will fly over at 7:30 p.m.
For families, there will be pony rides and arts and crafts. If prancing ponies aren't your scene, head to a party at many of the city's 170 restaurants. Single and wild? Check out Duke's Original Roadhouse. The sporting type? Champps Restaurant. Other locations include Cantina Laredo, Flying Saucer and Stadium Café. To avoid gridlock after the fireworks, keep it parked at one of those venues or head over to the Bowl Stage at the park where the city will show the movie Days of Thunder at 10:30 p.m.
Even though I'll have to save those fireball-shooting chickens for another year, I have high hopes that this Independence Day will go down in the books as a celebratory masterpiece.