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The Procrastinator's Guide to the Fourth of July

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Fourth of July isn't just about fireworks in Houston.
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La Torretta Lake Resort is offering a special getaway package. Photo by Thomas Hart Shelby

The recipe for a good Independence Day is pretty simple: Barbecue + bathing suit = backyard bliss.

But there's no reason not to take this holiday weekend up a notch. Luckily, CultureMap's got the round-up of all the happenings, from posh to patriotic, to have a most festive Fourth.

- The big event every year is the Freedom Over Texas concert and fireworks at Eleanor Tinsley Park from 4-10 p.m. on July 4. In addition to being the largest land-based fireworks demonstration in the country, the concert is headlined by Texas country crooner Pat Green.

- Neighboring Baytown's Fourth of July Festival is set to one-up Houston with two days of sun, fun and music Saturday and Sunday. The big draw will be Saturday night at 8 p.m. when '70s legends Blue Oyster Cult take the stage.

- For a party in a more posh setting on July 4, head to CityCentre, where retro cover band Video Vamp will entertain shoppers before a fireworks show.

- If fireworks means a day at the lake, do it in style on Lake Conroe with La Torretta Lake Resort's July 4th Fireworks Cruise Package. It includes a night in a one-bedroom suite and two tickets on the "Little Palm," an 80-foot luxury houseboat cruiser, for a two-hour trip on the lake. The cruise features a variety of hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar — and culminates in a fireworks display overhead.

- Fans of dogs and sports alike shouldn't miss national touring event DockDogs when it comes to Discovery Green Friday through Sunday. Dogs of all size, stripe and breed compete in a long jump from a 20-foot runway into a 40-foot pool, with winners crowned in height, speed and retrieval time categories. This is a truly athletic competition, with some jumps catching over 24 feet of air!

- Show your patriotism in your drink order this weekend. Cyclone Anaya's is offering the Independence Margarita, with frozen margaritas, Chambord and Blue Curaçao striped in a pilsner glass.

Or grab the fresh and fruity Stars and Stripes Martini at RA Sushi, a mix of muddled blueberries, Skyy Citrus vodka, Chambord, Blue Curacao, lemonade, simple syrup and lemon-lime soda. At the newly refurbished 5115 in the Galleria, guests can sip Patriotic punch, a mix of Tito's vodka, Railean rum, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, and enjoy it with the All-American Dog — a Kobe beef hot dog served with four-cheese mac and cheese and freedom fries.

Branch Water Tavern is getting in on the celebration with its First Annual Fourth of July Pig Roast. On Sunday from 1-10 p.m., all comers who order a drink at the bar get a complimentary meal of roasted suckling pig with all-American sides and homemade biscuits. There are also other a la carte specials, like a Bombshell Blonde Beer and Kobe beef burger combo for $10.

- Randy Rucker's Bootsie's Heritage Cafe in Tomball is also breaking out the smoker, serving up a backyard barbecue menu of pulled pork, duck and beef brisket all weekend.

Pico's Mex-Mex is having a north-of-the-border buffet on July 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. For $12.95, you get all-you-can-eat grilled pork, beef and chicken, sliders, and hot dogs, plus $5 bottomless mimosas and $2.75 micheladas.

- History buffs looking for a holiday that's more Independence Day than Fourth of July should head to Bayou Bend for its annual extravaganza of Americana, with historical performers, activities, crafts and refreshments, plus a Texas-sized Declaration of Independence to put your John Hancock on.

- Looking for cultural history of a different sort? Don't miss the Shen Yun Performing Arts, dancers reinvigorating 5,000 years of Chinese cultural patrimony in a dazzling display. They'll be in Houston for three shows Friday and Saturday at the Wortham Theater Center.

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