The United States' big 236th birthday might be taking place in the middle of the week this year, but Oklahoma will make Independence Day feel like the weekend with patriotic parades, family fun and fireworks rocketing skyward.
Leading the local festivities is Red, White and Boom, the annual fireworks-and-music blowout headlined by the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. This year, Elk City native and 1981 Miss America Susan Powell joins the philharmonic, conducted by maestro Joel Levine, to perform an eclectic program featuring patriotic favorites such as “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “America” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Broadway songs. The concert begins at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at State Fair Park, followed by fireworks at 10 p.m. Admission is free. Information: www.okcphilharmonic.org.
The all-American entertainment continues Tuesday as the Oklahoma City RedHawks take on the Memphis Redbirds at 7:05 p.m. at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S Mickey Mantle Drive. Fireworks will light up the sky over the ballpark about 10 p.m., following the game. Information: www.oklahomaredhawks.com.
The inaugural SandRidge Energy Stars & Stripes River Festival will launch from 9 a.m. to dusk Saturday in Oklahoma City's Boathouse District. The July 4-theme event will feature an array of free family activities such as face painting, sack races and a bean bag toss, along with music from DJ Jon Mooneyham, Denver Duncan, At Long Last and Brian Dunning and the Rock N' Roll Trio. The event includes the RiverSport Challenge run/kayak race, corporate rowing and dragon boat league racing and Olympic Day activities. Evening fireworks cap the event. Parking and admission are free. Information: www.OklahomaRiverEvents.org.
Edmond's annual LibertyFest is a weeklong celebration of Americana and family-friendly activities. While the past week of LibertyFest included a car show, a kite-flying event and a patriotic performance by the UCO Summer Band, the crowning glory of the festival comes at 9 a.m. Wednesday as the LibertyFest Parade, a 1.5-mile cavalcade of bands, floats and marching groups, winds its way through downtown Edmond. At 6:30 p.m., the University of Central Oklahoma is the location for an evening of food, music, rides and games, followed by a fireworks display at sundown. Information: www.libertyfest.org
One of the longest-running and most enthusiastic festivals in the area is under way in Bethany with the Freedom Festival. This event, in its 54th year, begins with pony rides, inflatable bouncing, carnival rides and games at Eldon Lyon Park, NW 39th between Council and Rockwell. On Wednesday, the parade begins at 10 a.m., the annual car show runs from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the fireworks display, one of the state's largest pyrotechnics events, begins at 9:55 p.m. Information: www.cityofbethany.org.
The center for family fun at Yukon's Freedom Fest is Yukon City Park at 2200 S Holly, with concerts taking place at Chisholm Trail Park, 500 W Vandament. Festivities begin at 5 p.m. Tuesday with “A Tribute to Veterans,” featuring Mike Black and the Stingrays, and a patriotic brass band performance at 7:45 p.m. by Irv Wagner's Concert Band, followed by fireworks at 10 p.m. Beginning at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Freedom Fest rolls out the annual “Cherry Bomb Triathlon,” a car show, a children's parade, a “best decorated bicycle” contest for kids, a sand volleyball tournament and a hot dog eating contest. Also included are performances by the Roland Bowling Band and Mike Black and the Stingrays. Freedom Fest culminates with a 5 p.m. concert by Superfreak, followed by an 8:30 p.m. patriotic concert by the Oklahoma City Philharmonic with Powell and fireworks. Information: www.cityofyukonok.gov.
Norman's 37th Annual Norman Day Celebration on Wednesday is a unique kind of patriotic party. Norman Day, which takes place beginning at 4:30 p.m. at Reaves Park, 2501 Jenkins, features inflatable games, pony rides and baby crawl races, followed by performances from John Arnold Band at 5 p.m., Banana Seat at 7:30 p.m. and fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Information: www.ci.norman.ok.us.