Fourth of July events offer patriotic celebrations throughout area

Marilyn Tennissen Jun. 27, 2007, 6:00am

Beaumont's Riverfront Park will be filled with the sights and sounds of American independence when the city celebrates the Fourth of July.

On Wednesday, July 4, Riverfront Park opens at 5 p.m. for the City of Beaumont Annual Fourth of July Festival.

The public is encouraged to bring blankets or lawn chairs and enjoy the fun, food and music. There is no admission charge to enter the park.

Vendors will be serving regional fare like boudain and barbecue, as well as family favorites including hot dogs, funnel cakes, cotton candy, popcorn, sno cones and ice cream.

The Jazz Innovators will kick off the festivities with their own blend of smooth sounds at 5 p.m. Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames will serve as emcee for the evening.

At 7 p.m., the Symphony of Southeast Texas, under the direction of Dr. Jimmy Simmons, will perform an exciting program to include such favorite selections as Armed Forces Salute, Salute to the Big Apple, "Serenade in Blue", Best of the Beatles, "The Pink Panther" and much more.

The crowd will also be honored with a flyover from Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, La. Barksdale is home to the 2nd Bomb Wing which will provide one B-52 aircraft for the flyover. The B-52 is capable of flying at high subsonic speeds and at altitudes up to 50,000 feet.

For more than 40 years, B-52 Stratofortresses have been the backbone of the manned strategic bomber force for the United States. The B-52 first flew in 1954, and the B model entered service in 1955. A total of 744 B-52s were built with the last, a B-52H, delivered in October 1962. Only the H model is still in the Air Force inventory and is assigned to Air Combat Command and the Air Force Reserves. The flyover is scheduled at 7:30 p.m.

The Southeast Texas Veteran's Service Group will provide the Color Guard and a 21-gun salute during the program.

No Fourth of July program would be complete without fireworks, and once the sun sets around 9 p.m. a panoramic display will take place over the Neches River. As the pyrotechnics explode, patriotic music will fill the air around the park.

More Area Fourth of July Events

- Calder Place Historic District
Neighborhood parade at 9 a.m.
Meet 8:30 a.m. at BISD Administration Building, 3395 Harrison Ave., Beaumont

- Lamar State College-Port Arthur
Musical concert at the Carl Parker Multi-Purpose Center at 7:30 p.m. Motiva Enterprises will serve popcorn and lemonade.
Following the concert, residents will move from the Parker Center to the Seawall to enjoy the fireworks over the Port Arthur Ship Channel at 9 p.m.

- Orange Freedom Fest
Events begin at 6 p.m. at the City of Orange boat ramp on Simmons Drive.
More than a dozen vendors will offer food, kids activities and entertainment.
At around 9 p.m., there will be a large fireworks display.
Attendance is free and the public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets.

- Galveston Island
A parade will begin at 10 a.m. at 25th Street and Strand Street, followed by a family celebration at the Railroad Museum on 25th Street.
A fireworks display over the Gulf of Mexico begins at 9 p.m.
Parking on the Seawall is free.

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