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Where to celebrate the Fourth of July in Austin, 2018

Independence Day falls on a Wednesday this year, which means we all get a little mid-week break in the name of patriotism. Celebrate the day America became its own nation with these events around Austin — and don’t forget to wear red, white and blue.

Monday, July 2

Ninjapendence Day at the Alamo Ritz. Hot dogs. Fireworks. Katana-wielding ninjas. That’s what pops into your head when you think about the Fourth of July, right? No? The Alamo Drafthouse will have a double feature anyway, screening “American Ninja II: The Confrontation” and another flick the Alamo is keeping a complete surprise.

Tuesday, July 3

Draught House’s Third of July Party. Why celebrate American independence on just one day? The Austin brewpub is hosting its annual patriotic party a day before the fourth with free hot dogs, free watermelon, $3 pints of craft beer and DJ JBL's playlist of American rock tunes.

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Wednesday, July 4

Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks. It’s the main event: Austin’s annual Fourth of July celebration returns to Vic Mathias Shores with a fireworks display over the city skyline backed by the symphony’s playing of patriotic classics. Get there early, as tens of thousands of families will be present with you. The concert starts 8:30 p.m., the fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic at Circuit of the Americas. It’s now been four years of the Fourth with Willie at the racetrack, with headliners in the Austin360 Amphitheater plus a bunch more acts in the venue’s grand plaza throughout the afternoon. Guests this year include Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price and Jamestown Revival and longtime regulars such as AsleepThird at the Wheel, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Billy Joe Shaver. — Peter Blackstock

Red, White and Buda Parade. In Buda, you can feel your American pride at two separate events. Start the morning with a children’s parade starting at 9 a.m., and from there head to the downtown Buda Greenbelt for bounce houses, family-friendly activities and more through noon. An evening celebration finishes with fireworks at 9:30 p.m.

Round Rock’s 4th of July Parade. Round Rock’s annual Independence Day parade returns bigger and better than ever and features a new 1 and a half mile route, giant inflatables and marching bands. The festivities continue into the afternoon at Old Settler’s Park with Frontier Days, which will have a pepper-eating contest, carnival rides, live music and more.

Hill Country Galleria’s July 4 Celebration. Commemorate America’s freedom with this annual evening event featuring backyard games like tug of war and obstacle course, live music by local bands Edison Chair and Vallejo, face painting and other activities for the kids, an all-day sidewalk sale presented by Hill Country Galleria retailers and, of course, a flashy finish of fireworks.

Red, White and Blue Owl Indoor Picnic. The sour-focused East Austin brewery Blue Owl is hosting a patriotic afternoon complete with corn dogs, cotton candy and the return of the Watermelon Man, a barrel-aged sour with watermelon.

The new Fairmont Hotel is offering Austinites the chance to relax poolside with local beer on July 4.

Red, White and Brews at Fairmont Austin. What could be a more perfectly Texas way to celebrate the Fourth of July than sitting poolside? Austin’s largest hotel invites you to relax with a cold Austin Beerworks Pearl-Snap Pilsner in one hand and a burger in the other, DJ beats playing in the background. The Fairmont’s pool isn’t normally open to the public, so consider this boozy afternoon a treat.

Bikes, Fireworks and Warren Hood at the ABGB. Spend your holiday afternoon drinking beer, eating pizza, participating in a watermelon-eating contest and listening to the South Austin brewpub’s regular Wednesday residency, Hood, who will start performing at 5 p.m. The ABGB will also host a big group bike ride to Lady Bird Lake so participants can all watch the fireworks together. 

Fourth of July Beach Bash at NLand Surf Park. The recently reopened surf park in Del Valle is offering families (with kids eight and up) $5 tubing from noon to 4 p.m. There will also be crafts and other activities at NLand’s Overlook. 

4th of July Corn Dog Eating Contest. Stuff your face with an all-American food item this Independence Day at Black Sheep Lodge — whoever eats the most corn dogs in eight minutes wins. All $20 entry fees will go toward Austin Pets Alive.

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