Monday, November 18, 2019
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Thousands of Valley residents will gather to celebrate America’s birthday this weekend by firing up the grill, going on picnics, setting off firework or attending parties. Countless others will load up the kids and head out to one or more public celebrations being held in communities across the Rio Grande Valley.

Parades, eating contests, concerts, cook-offs and the ever-popular and awe-inspiring fireworks displays are just some of the activities that will be available.

independence-dayArcher and McAllen Municipal parks

Families from every corner of the Rio Grande Valley travel to witness a unique Fourth of July firework extravaganza in South Texas, dubbed the Concert in the Sky. The annual Independence Day Parade features an evening filled with entertainment and festivities including music, food, games, and arts and crafts.

Activities will begin at 8 a.m. with the Patriotic Program and a performance by the McAllen Town Band and conclude around 9 p.m. with a fireworks show.

The parade is scheduled for 9 a.m. and follows the downtown trail on Main Street from Houston Avenue to Cedar Street. It starts at city hall and ends at Archer Park. The hot dog eating contest is scheduled for 11 a.m. and other events and entertainment are scheduled throughout the day.

Afternoon festivities take place at the McAllen Municipal Park where children can take a dip in the pool to cool off during the Aquatic Splash Bash, a pool party featuring lots of activities.

International Museum of Art & Science

IMAS has invited the public to celebrate the Fourth of July from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. During the evening, guests will be able to visit the museum’s exhibits, including the popular “3, 2, 1 … Blast Off!,” explore the Ann Moore Art Studio, Science Lab and Kidstruction, take part in various hands-on activities, as well as enjoy the fireworks show presented by the City of McAllen from the front lawn. IMAS encourages visitors to bring blankets to enjoy the fireworks (no lawn chairs will be permitted).

Children of all ages will be able to make their own Kool-Aid paper fireworks, American Flags, “Explosions in a Bag,” as well as visit the designated “Kaboomistry” area outside by RioScape where there will be Elephant’s Toothpaste, Mentos and CO2 demonstrations, and swish bottles. Additional activities include presentations in the newly upgraded Science On a Sphere Theater, live animal talks and story time.

Tickets are $5 per IMAS member and $10 per non-member and must be purchased before the event at the IMAS front desk or by phone by calling (956) 682-0123. An optional parking permit can be purchased for an additional $5 per car.

Edinburg Municipal Park

The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce is hosting Texas Cook’Em: High Steaks in Edinburg on July 4 at Edinburg Municipal Park, 714 Raul Longoria. Competitors will battle on the grill to cook the best chicken, ribs, brisket and rib-eye for money and a year’s worth of bragging rights.

Doors open at 9 a.m. and the festivities end at 9:30 p.m. with fireworks.

Texas Cook’em awards $20,000 in prizes to the winners. It’s the first and only IBCA and SCA sanctioned steak cook-off in South Texas. Each year, the event features fireworks, live music, a family fun zone, barbecue and more.

Harlingen’s Lon C. Hill Park

Live music will greet the public in Harlingen for two evenings of entertainment during the third annual Freedom Fest on Saturday, July 4, and Sunday, July 5.

There is no admission fee for Freedom Fest, located at the Lon C. Hill Park along Fair Park Boulevard near the Harlingen Municipal Auditorium, from 5 to 11 p.m. both days. No outside food or beverages will be allowed on Freedom Fest grounds. The public is invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating.

Entertainment for the Fourth of July weekend will include a show featuring classic cars and motorcycles, games and rides for children, arts and crafts for youngsters and business vendors from both sides of the Rio Grande. Fireworks Saturday night will begin shortly after sunset.

The Fourth of July weekend in Harlingen will begin Saturday morning with the “Let Freedom Ring!” parade sponsored by the Rio Grande Valley Jaycees. The parade is scheduled for 10 a.m. in downtown Harlingen along Jackson Avenue. Details about the parade are online at

Brownsville Sports Park

The annual Fourth of July Salute to Freedom Celebration begins at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Brownsville Sports Park. The event is free and open to the public. The celebration kicks off with the opening of the tailgate area of the park. Outside food and drinks are allowed in that area only.

Live music begins at 5 p.m., and continues throughout the event.

Event sponsor H-E-B will host a hospitality booth with refreshments for all veterans and active duty military personnel. Veterans are asked to bring appropriate identification to access the booth.

GLOW DASH, Brownsville’s premier night time 5K run/walk, will begin at 5:30 p.m. Participants are encouraged to wear colorful clothing, neon lights, or costumes.

More information may be found at

South Texas’ largest fireworks display will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m.

South Padre Island Beach Access No. 22

The public is invited to decorate wagons, bring costumed pets and dress in red, white and blue at the Fourth of July Beach Parade at 10 a.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring flags, musical instruments, drums and banners. There will be free mini flags and beads at the race start (Access 22) and watermelon at the end (Access 17).

Prizes will be awarded for the best group, costume and wagon. Lineup is at 9:30 a.m.

Fireworks on the beach are scheduled for 9 p.m.

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