The Fourth of July: Get Out There and Celebrate!

There's the cookout with family and friends in the afternoon, and the fireworks to look forward to at night, but the dog's still going to wake you up at 6 a.m., so why not get an early start? It's never too early to celebrate the independence of our great nation. Give in to the patriotic fervor and bunting-strewn, marching-band fun of a small-town celebration!

You could start with a charming, old-fashioned (literally!) neighborhood parade. The Palo Verde neighborhood is hosting its 50th(!) Annual July 4 parade at 9 a.m., at the corner of Palo Verde Avenue and Camden Street in Tucson. Prizes will be awarded for the best hand-pulled floats and patriotic costumes; Mayor Jonathan Rothschild will be the parade marshal; and Tucson Police are providing the color guard. The event gets underway at 7 a.m. with a $3 pancake breakfast, including bacon, fruit, coffee and juice, in a driveway on Fairmount just west of Palo Verde Avenue.

If you're up for a drive, you can get into the spirit with the Bisbee Rotary Club July 4 parade featuring the theme "Celebrating Our Families." The parade includes music, animals, and groups of all kinds; prizes are awarded for best of parade, most humorous, best depiction of the theme and best depiction of family history. Line-up is at 9 a.m., at 1 Main Street in Old Bisbee; the parade begins at 11 a.m. Call 266-2194, or (520) 432-7071 for more information.

Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, 1 Burruel Street, offers an "Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration" with games for kids, free hot dogs and watermelon, and a "squirt down" courtesy of the Tubac Fire Department from 10 a.m. to noon. Parking is free, and so is admission to tour the park and learn what was happening in Southern Arizona at the time young U.S. of A. first celebrated its independence.