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Independence Day in Austin

Jun 7, 2008
Independence Day is quickly approaching, and there are many ways to celebrate the birth of our country in Austin and the surrounding area. There are numerous fireworks displays as well as performances by the Austin Symphony Orchestra, and other musical events in different locales in the county area. Until a few years ago, the huge, city-sponsored pyrotechnics display was held downtown over Lady Bird Lake, which was called Town Lake then, but the yearly celebration moved to Zilker Park a few years ago.

The celebration will be held again over the lake this year, and the event, which is sponsored by the HEB grocery chain, will feature the Austin Symphony Orchestra under the apt musical direction of Peter Bay.

The 1812 Overture, accompanied by 75-millimeter Howitzer cannons, courtesy of the Texas National Guard Salute Battery, is usually the centerpiece of the yearly city fireworks display, and this year the celebration will be held at Auditorium Shores in front of the new Long Center for the Performing Arts, on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake. Many residents and visitors bring picnics and lawn chairs to the fireworks show, and concessions are available at the site.

No alcohol or glass containers are permitted, but many food items and other party favors, such as the ever-popular neon light sticks and jewelry, are offered for sale by vendors who set up booths on the perimeter of the grounds of Auditorium Shores. The celebration officially begins at 8:30pm, and frequently more than 100,000 people attend the yearly event. It is illegal to set off fireworks in the city limit, so the city-sponsored event, with the support of HEB, is the perfect way to enjoy the fireworks without the danger of setting them off yourself in the City of Austin.

Other nearby celebrations include the Frontier Days celebration in Round Rock, a small city north of Austin, which includes a parade which winds down Main Street and ends up in Old Settler's Park, and this event includes fireworks as well as arts and crafts, free watermelon, and a reenactment of the Sam Bass shootout during the Western Traditions themed celebration. This year, a skydiver will jump into the crowd at the Independence Day event!

In nearby San Marcos, which is a short drive south on Interstate 35, the San Marcos Summerfest is held in San Marcos Plaza Park, which is on the banks of the beautiful San Marcos River. This is the 28th year the celebration has been held, and various musical acts will perform, including a blues band from L.A. This event also includes fireworks, a children's parade and costume contest, and the Lion's Club tube rental will be open in City Park all day for those who are brave enough to tube on the river during the event. What a great way to watch the fireworks, floating down the river!

Other celebrations that include fireworks closer to home include the yearly Lake Travis fireworks display, which is held at Volente Beach on the north shore of the lake. This event has a $3.00 admission charge, but celebrants may also gain admission by bringing a gently used book to donate. There is also an all day celebration in the city of Lakeway, at the city park, which includes a parade with floats and contests. This event culminates with the fireworks display, held right after sunset. Many visitors to this celebration arrive by boat from nearby homes and communities, and by the evening, Hurst Cove, which is where the boats gather, is crowded with spectators ready to watch the gorgeous display over the clear waters of Lake Travis.

Carlos and Charlie's restaurant rounds out the lake area celebrations, with a yearly display in Devil's Cove, where the restaurant is located, which draws a very large crowd too. There are many ways to celebrate the birth of the nation in Austin, and most are free as well as family-oriented, so make plans now for the event of your choice!
About the Author
Ki works in the Austin real estate market. His site provides a search for Austin homes along with information on Austin commercial real estate.
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