Image: Alvaro Reyes

By Sherry Lucas

The first community July 4th gathering I remember was a picnic in Oxford. Cozy with family on a blanket on the park’s grass, we munched on fried chicken, potato salad and sweet watermelon, listened to music as dusk fell and then lay on our backs to watch the fireworks light up the night sky overhead. It was as perfect a patriotic picture as I could have dreamed, and I get a taste of that memory every time I catch a good fireworks blast.

There is plenty this weekend to find and enjoy, as well as other holiday fun that stretches to the true 4th of July. In our beloved Fondren, St. Richard’s Independence Day gathering and the Broadmeadow’s neighborhood parade (dozens strong!) are two traditions close to my heart and my home that deliver the sort of festive, flag-waving spirit you want on the Fourth, plus a great dose of real Americana.

Find a good fireworks display (we’ve highlighted all of those below) and have a blast out there, wherever you wind up.

Curiosity Day: Cool Science on a Hot Day, 1:30-3 p.m. Wednesday at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science finds Hinds Community College’s Carl Dewitt conducting experiments with liquid nitrogen, one of the earth’s coldest materials, in the museum’s Rotwein Theater. It’s included with museum admission.

The Mississippi Arts Commission’s two-part series The Arts Mean Business on Thursday looks at the intersections of business and community, to connect and empower the state’s creative economy. Part 1, “Utilizing the arts in your business” is 2-4 p.m. at the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership, 201 S. President. Part 2, “Community engagement by re-imagining place,’ is 4:30-7:30 p.m. at Lucky Town Brewing Company, 1710 N. Mill St. The events are free and open to the public.

Mississippi Arts Commission hosts a two-part Arts Mean Business series Thursday. Image: Mississippi Arts Commission

The Bicentennial Film Series Finale at the Mississippi Museum of Art starts with a 6:30 p.m. Thursday screening of “Cookie’s Fortune” and Q&A with the film’s writer Anne Rapp, and continues with a 6:30 p.m. Friday screening of “Dixieland” and Q&A with writer/director Hank Bedford. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., there’s a film series wrap-up and filmmaker roundtable. Events are free.

The Mississippi Championship Hot Air Balloon Festival starts with a Launch Party Thursday on Canton’s Historic Square. On Friday, the Celebrate America Balloon Glow at Northpark Mall starts at 6 p.m. A balloon glow, music from Dylan Scott and then 9:30 p.m. fireworks are part of the evening. Saturday, there’s an early 7 a.m. start with a Balloon Chase Bike Ride and competition flight at the Canton Multipurpose Center. There’s more for Saturday evening, too. Check the full schedule here.

The Mississippi Hot Air Balloon Championship Festival is this weekend in Canton. Image: ballooncanton.com

The District Green Live offers music from John Causey, 6 p.m. Thursday at the District at Eastover. Bring a launch chair or blanket and enjoy the music.

Believe It or Not Fun Friday at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science focuses on ancient civilizations that, with no computers or heavy machinery, still created magnificent feats and marvels such as aqueducts, the Colosseum and more.

The Country Cousinz Concert Series 5: JXN vs. North MS, 8 p.m. Friday is a special edition at the Flamingo, hosted by Kamikaze, that pits Meta Phive, Toi V. Lewis, Kayoh and Sippi Queen, vs. Remidee Effect, Mac Corleone, Fred Nice and Jay DaSkreet.

A Liquidation Disco Party, 8 p.m. Friday at Spacecamp, hopes to make quick work of the beer left over from its Summer Camp fun, with $1 beer specials 8-9 p.m. and $2 beer from 9 p.m. till it’s gone. Sip some keg beer and dance to disco. There’s a $5 admission.

Singer-songwriter Jameson Rodgers merges electrified rock and thoughtful country with winning results. Hear him in concert at Duling Hall, 8 p.m. Friday. Seth Walker opens. It’s $10 advance (ardenland.net) and day of show.

Jameson Rodgers plays Duling Hall Friday. Image: ardenland

The Jackson Community Bike Ride meets at 6 p.m. Friday in front of the Capri Theatre for an 8- to 9-mile ride through Fondren and LeFleur East with a cool midway stop at Deep South Pops in Highland Village and some post-ride socializing back in Fondren.

A clothing drive and summer toy sale, noon to 7 p.m. at Offbeat, seeks wash clothes in plastic bags and tennis shoes if available, in kids and adult sizes. Primary needs include men’s tennis shoes and new socks. Toy discounts are given with clothing donation.

Bellwether Church, 4624 Old Canton Road, hosts a huge multi-family estate sale, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. A 5-7 p.m. preview is $20. Proceeds benefit Bellwether Missions.

Jackson’s Fireworks Extravaganza is a free family event Saturday at Smith-Wills Stadium filled with live entertainment, food vendors and a spectacular 12 minute fireworks showcase. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the show begins at 7 p.m.

Jackson: Soul of the City, 8 p.m. Saturday at Duling Hall, promises a fun and soulful night of live music, comedy and artistry with host Rita Brent, DJ Young Venom, the Epic Brass Funk Band and more. Doors open at 7 p.m. It’s $10 at ardenland.net.

Get another patriotic head start with Saturday’s Independence Celebration at the Rez, 4 p.m. until fireworks fun at Lakeshore Park and Old Trace Park. It includes food, fun and, of course, those fireworks, as well as live music, kids zones, beer vendors, food vendors and more. Admission is free. Also at Lakeshore Park on Saturday, the 4-8 p.m. Fenders & Fireworks Classic Car Show revs those envy engines, in conjunction with the Independence Day Celebration.

An Independence Showdown, 5 p.m. Saturday at the Mississippi Coliseum, bills itself as the nation’s most exciting summertime band event, with marching bands from Michigan, Ohio, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi’s own Mississippi Alumni Allstar Band. Tickets are $18-$28 on ticketmaster.com.

St. Richard Catholic Church’s Independence Day Celebration, 6 p.m. Sunday, is the church’s annual family-friendly gathering that includes food for sale, live music and fireworks fun to light up the night sky in Fondren.

A free Patriotic Celebration of America through Music, 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Christ United Methodist Church in Jackson features the Sanctuary Orchestra and men’s quartet and Testament with Guy Hovis, Roy Butts, Bob Flowers and Michael Kemp. An ice cream social puts a cool, sweet finish to the event.

A Patriotic Celebration is Sunday at Christ United Methodist Church. Image: Michael Kemp

The 2018 Farm Bureau Watermelon Classic, 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 4, includes a 5K Run/Walk and the Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi One Mile Wellness/Fun Run. The strong annual family draw is a fun way to kick off the 4th holiday and includes watermelon and beverages after the race. Register at the Watermelon Classic at msfame.com.

Broadmeadow Neighborhood Association’s annual Fourth of July parade, 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 4 at Broadmeadow United Methodist Church, flies high with a superheroes theme, “It’s a Super Fourth of July parade!.” Dozens strong take the street on foot, bikes, trikes, leashes and even roller skates a time or two, to make it around the block — twice if they’re feeling extra frisky. That’s followed by hot dogs and potluck fun in the Broadmeadow pavilion, and a neighborhood meeting.

Broadmeadow Neighborhood Association’s 4th of July parade will be held on Wednesday, July 4. Image: Sherry Lucas

Red, White & Blue at the Zoo, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 4 at the Jackson Zoo, offers $4 admission to guests wearing red, white AND blue clothing (yep, all three, and dyed hair is accepted).

Enjoy a Super-sized Independence Day Fireworks Show at Trustmark Park, as the Mississippi Braves take on the Biloxi Shuckers, Wednesday, July 4. And, that’s just a start. Come back for Thursday Thursday, Friday Night Fireworks, Trustmark Super Sensational Saturday for more baseball and promotional fun.

Clinton’s 30th annual July 4th Family Fireworks Extravaganza, 5-9:30 p.m. July 4 at Traceway Park, boasts headliner Troy Laz and 2 Hipnotic Band, with Chad Wesley Band as the opener. The fireworks show blasts off at 9:30 p.m. The cost is $10 per vehicle.

One of the biggest and best celebrations in the area comes courtesy of Empire Truck Sales in Richland and their massive fireworks show. It starts at 9 p.m.. Best – and only – parking is along the north and south frontage roads off Highway 49 south of I-20. Get there early. It fills in quickly.

Next Weekend…

Fondren After 5 is July 5 in downtown Fondren.

On Sunday, July 8, a Celebration of Life and Music is held in honor of Virgil “Juv” Brawley, 8 p.m. at Duling Hall (6 p.m. door). It’s free.

A Gospel Explosion, 6 p.m. Sunday, July 8, at Thalia Mara Hall, features Erica Campbell, Pau Porter, Jakayla Carr and Small Fire. Tickets are $24 on ticketmaster.com.

Imagine Dragons: Evolve Tour comes to the Brandon Amphitheater, 7 p.m. Sunday, July 8. Find tickets, $59-$99 and up, on ticketmaster.com.

On Monday, July 9, the Devon Allman Project with special guest Duane Betts, continues the musical legacy of his late father, Gregg Allman, with Southern rock at Duling Hall, with special guest Duane Betts (son of Allman Brothers co-founder Dickie Betts). C.W. Stoneking opens. It’s $25 advance (ardenland.net), $30 day of show.

The Devon Allman Project with special guest Duane Betts plays Duling Hall July 9. Image: ardenland

Sherry Lucas, a features writer in Jackson for the last 34 years, is here on Wednesdays with “The Mix,” highlighting a curated sampling of creativity and culture from across the metro area. For additional events, see our online events calendar here. Reach Sherry at sherry@finditinfondren.com.

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