Flashback Fourth: Sherry Lucas marched with neighbors in a Broadmeadow Neighborhood Association July 4 Parade eons ago, and still does when she’s in town for the holiday. Image: Sherry Lucas

by Sherry Lucas

One of my favorite things about the street where I live: fireworks. First time I realized St. Richard Catholic Church, just a block and change away from my front door, had fireworks, I was on my couch watching Sunday night TV, and the occasional muffled boom teased the outskirts of my hearing. I finally slipped on some shoes and wandered out to investigate, drawn up the street toward the sound and soon enough the sight!

Oh, the charm of walking right up the street and hanging out with my neighbors and their kids as we watched the balls of light zing heavenward and explode in a sparkling, snapping fountain of color! It wrapped me in a warm glow that I still hold dear. Here’s a shoutout to the St. Richard Pyrotechnic Crew — Ron Blaylock, Tim Rooks and Scott Stephens. Appreciate y’all!

One year, my boyfriend and I took a friend visiting from New York City to the celebration there, setting up chairs near the football field to enjoy the fireworks. First blast and her head whipped around, her eyes huge. “So close!” she cried, a thrill in her voice. That’s how I like ‘em — close enough to feel the boom.

Along with the Broadmeadow July 4th Parade — kids and bikes and dogs and wagons festooned with patriotic ribbons and balloons in a stroll around the block — they both are simply vintage Americana. And speaking of vintage, my turn as the parade’s grand marshal eons ago is another fun Fourth flashback I’ll always treasure. I’ve long since retired my spiky foam Lady Liberty headgear and totally superfluous torch flashlight, but I still enjoy that parade when I can!

Enjoy the fireworks, the Fourth and all the other fun to be had in town and nearby. As usual, there’s plenty.

A weekend home stand by the Mississippi Braves is the perfect buildup for the Fourth of July holiday. Cheer them on in games against Chattanooga at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 6 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday at Trustmark Park in Pearl. Check msbraves.com for daily promotion details, including Thirsty Thursday, Friday night fireworks, Super Sensational Saturday with pre- and postgame concerts plus fireworks after the game, Yogi’s Family Fest Sunday and a super-sized Independence Day Fireworks Show at Monday’s game.

The Mississippi Braves’ Kevin Ahrens connects with a bat bender at Trustmark Park. Image: Tate Nations

Join Team JXN’s THIRDspace, 6:30 p.m. Thursday at La Brioche for coffee and pastry specials and speakers on the film industry, on the deck, for discussions on moving Mississippi forward through film.

Last chance dates for the hit musical “Million Dollar Quartet” at New Stage Theatre are this Wednesday through Saturday. For tickets, visit newstagetheatre.com or call 601-948-3533.

Popular Chicago tribute band Dialogue returns to Duling Hall Thursday with an evening devoted to those cool tunes. Music starts at 7:30 p.m.; it’s $20 advance (ardenland.net), $25 at the door.

Dialogue: Chicago Tribute Band performs Thursday night at Duling Hall. Image: ardenland

Friday, an Inaugural Kickoff Celebration in Smith Park for Jackson Mayor-Elect Chokwe Antar Lumumba is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Smith Park downtown, with live entertainment, food and family fun. Community Unity Celebrations will be held over the weekend: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Vergy P. Middleton Park; 3-7 p.m. Saturday at Jamie Fowler Boyll Park; noon to 3 p.m. Sunday in Westside Park; 3-6 p.m. Battlefield Park. The black-tie City of Jackson Unity Ball, adults only, is 7 p.m. Monday at the Jackson Convention Complex.

Friday night at Duling Hall, country music outlaw Whitey Morgan makes real the hard-luck and hard-working characters in his songs with a honky tonk truth that resonates. Also on the bill: Ward Davis and Tony Martinez Tickets are $20 advance (ardenland.net), $25 at the door and $75 VIP. Music starts at 8 p.m.

Whitey Morgan performs Friday night at Duling Hall. Image: ardenland

Country star Joe Diffie, known for such hits as “John Deere Green,” “Texas Size Heartache,” “Pickup Man” and his acclaimed bluegrass album “Homecoming,” anchors the “Celebrate America” Balloon Glow at Northpark Mall in Ridgeland Friday, 6-10 p.m., at the mall’s balloon glow field with ready parking for the thousands who annually gather. This opening event of the Mississippi Championship Hot Air Balloon Race and Festival in Canton brings about 20 colorful hot air balloons to the field, aglow at dusk. Admission is free. Entertainment starts with the karaoke contest winner, then Dan Shafer at 6:30 p.m. The balloon glow’s set for 7:45 p.m. and Diffie takes the stage at 8:15 p.m. Fireworks wrap up the night with a bang.

Joe Diffie is the headline draw for Friday’s “Celebrate America” Balloon Glow at Northpark Mall. Image: Big Show Music Co.

Want to celebrate Mississippi’s new tap room law ASAP? It goes into effect Saturday, so the first opportunity is going to be Lucky Town Brewing Company’s Tap Room Soft Opening, midnight until 2 a.m. Saturday. Or, sleep in and pop by later for the Tap Room Grand Opening, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday to buy a pint and get your food needs filled by vendors Hog Heaven BBQ truck and 2 for 7 Kitchen, plus soak up the music of Jason Daniels Band, SILAS and Scott Albert Johnson. Welcome Mark Leopold back to town as guest bartender for the event.

Help open the new tap room at Lucky Town Brewing Company Saturday. Image: Lucky Town Brewing Company

Mississippi Children’s Museum hosts a July 1 celebration Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with summer favorites such as cherry pit spitting contest, marshmallow tosses and more, for the fun-loving family crowd.

More family fun awaits in Canton, where the Mississippi Championship Hot Air Balloon Fest continues Saturday and Sunday. Main events of the 32nd annual fest Saturday include the Balloon Chase Bike Ride at 7 a.m. Later, at the 6-9:30 p.m. festival at the Canton Multipurpose Center ($5 admission), there’s a run/walk, Special Shape Balloon Glow, Good Samaritan’s $5,000 Golf Ball Drop Fundraiser, the band Meet the Press and patriotic fireworks. There’s also a 7 a.m. Sunday competition flight at the Canton Multipurpose Center.

The Mississippi Championship Hot Air Balloon Fest is this weekend in Canton. Image: Good Samaritan Center

St. Richard Catholic Church’s Independence Day Celebration, 6:30 p.m. Sunday celebrates the upcoming Fourth with food, fun, fellowship and fireworks. That includes grilled hot dogs and burgers, snow cones, cotton candy, soft drinks and roasted corn for sale, music by Jeff Maddox and his band and a fireworks display at sundown. Bring a chair and a dessert to share if you like.

The Town of Livingston’s Independence Day Celebration, 6 p.m. Monday, with performances by U.S. and Meet the Press, a kids activities area, food vendors and more. Tickets are $15 advance (ardenland.net), $20 day of show and $100 VIP (special parking and entrance, private beer and wine garden and more) Chairs and blankets are welcome; coolers and outside beverages aren’t allowed. Children age 10 and younger get in free.

The 2017 Farm Bureau Watermelon Classic 5K Run/Walk at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame hits the ground running at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday in one of the metro area’s most popular races. Register at msfame.com.

The Farm Bureau Watermelon Classic is Tuesday morning at the Mississippi Sports Hall ofFame and Museum. Image: Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

Broadmeadow July 4th Parade, potluck and annual meeting, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m Tuesday at Broadmeadow United Methodist Church, pulls together the “Top of Fondren” set with patriotic promise. A stroll around the block with kids on bikes and in wagons, dogs on leashes and red, white and blue ribbons, streamers and balloons plus flag-waving folks galore, it’s a salute to homespun, hometown, patriotic pride. Meet new Broadmeadow Neighborhood Association board members and learn more about the neighborhood, watch the kids enjoy a slip-n-slide and bring a covered dish to share alongside the grilled hot dogs. Be on time for the parade part — it starts as soon as folks get lined up.

Red White and Blue Day, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, July 4, at the Jackson Zoo, means $4 admission for kids and adults wearing red, white and blue (all three, all at once) to the zoo on the holiday, including Dinos! on its final day at the Jackson Zoo.

Fondrenite Sherry Lucas, a feature writer in Jackson for the last 33 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting creativity and culture from Fondren and beyond. Reach her at sherry@finditinfondren.com.

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