by Katie Paschall
July 4, 8 a.m.
Lace up those running shoes, grab some Gatorades and pack the kids in the car for Camp Mabry’s Seventh Annual Freedom 5000. This outdoor event benefits the Texas Military Forces Museum and is enjoyable for the whole family, including those playful pups. With kiddos running wild and flags flying high, this 90-acre military installation site is the prime spot to boost patriotism while gaining energy to last throughout the day. Beat the heat with an early morning jog and begin the holiday running for a cause. Camp Mabry, 2200 W. 35th Street, 512.472.3254.
July 4, 3 p.m.
Check an item off your bucket list and win a corn dog-eating contest for a good cause. For the third year in a row, The Black Sheep Lodge is proud to host their Competitive Eating Contest–a truly American mid-day snack benefitting Austin Pets Alive!. Before a romantic night under the fireworks, it might be worth a shot to test your mettle against the best eaters in South Austin. Outdoor eating can be surprisingly relaxing and affordable, leaving room to splurge on your nighttime activities. Not to mention you could walk away with $250 cash. Black Sheep Lodge, 2108 South Lamar Blvd., 512.707.2744.
July 4, 8:45 p.m.
Turn back time and spend the whole night snuggling up to a sweetheart while celebrating America at the Blue Starlite Drive-in. Catch the patriotic flick Independence Day in this very intimate and personal drive-in venue. The hosts at Blue Starlite will be offering a variety of packages based on the size of vehicle and tasty treats ordered. With clear skies and fresh night air, there isn’t a more romantic way to end a holiday, than under an abundance of quiet stars. Blue Starlite Drive-in, 1901 E. 51st Street.
July 4, 8 p.m.
For the first time in Austin history, people will be dancing in the streets on Congress Avenue. Sponsored by FunDance.org, the event takes the Flash Mob concept and makes it enjoyable for the whole family. Each participant selects from a variety of charities in Austin they wish to support and in return they are invited to dance in this special event. During the five-minute dance, people who pre-register will be wearing one of three colored T-shirts: red, white or blue, to help form an American flag as they dance in celebration. Our suggestion? Before heading to your favorite spot to view fireworks, this is a flashy patriotic sight you don’t want to miss! Congress Avenue, 512.554.9560.
July 4, 7:30 p.m.
After your outdoor picnic, take your American flag blanket, a bottle of wine and stroll down to Lady Bird Lake to view the fireworks display from the best seat in the house–your boat! Rowing Dock offers late-night kayak and canoe rentals to paint the most exquisite view of downtown Austin. Upload summer tunes to your iPod, rent a two-person kayak and let the Auditorium Shores fireworks show light your surroundings and burn an unforgettable holiday into your memory. 2418 Stratford Dr., 512.459.0999.