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Fourth of July Guide: From Fireworks and Family Fun to Busty Babes and Bikinis

Though Christmas and Thanksgiving may be more popular, Independence Day is perhaps the purest and most American holiday.

Not because of all the kitschy red, white and blue crapola or the incessant flag waving -- but because it's about life, liberty and the pursuit of the perfect barbecue dinner. 

Planning a traditional holiday? We've got the scoop on some of the Valley's best fireworks shows and family outings. If you're hunting for a more unique way to wear your patriotism on your sleeve (or your thong bikini, whatever) get a little "fourplay" at a more off-the-grid event.

The Red: Traditionalists will dig these hot holiday happenings. Tips: Don't forget your lawn chair. And your sunscreen. And your cheesy "I Heart America" tee shirt, Statue of Liberty foam crown and flag-print bandanna, if you want to blend in.

The biggest gig in town is the Fabulous Phoenix Fourth at 6 p.m. on July 4 at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix. They've got brass bands, a military fly-over, bbq vendors, inflatable kiddie rides, and of course fireworks. The best part? It's FREE, and that's something all Americans can get behind right now.

If you're brave enough to face the dreadful parking sitch, or smart enough to take the light rail, Tempe Town Lake is saluting July 4 with an all-day Tempe 4th festival featuring live bands including The Big Zephyr and Roxter, BBQ foods, an honor guard presentation and fireworks. Dump your kids off at the "Fantastic Family Fest" and grab some fry bread at the food court, or be good and rock climb along with them. Fireworks begin at 9:10. Tickets are $6 in advance (at Fry's stores) or $8 at the gate. VIP Tickets which include a catered dinner from SKYE Restaurant, 2 beer tickets and a misted seat for the fireworks are available for $60 ($30 kids) at ProTix 

Photo by **Maurice** via Flickr.

​Due to the crap economy, Glendale's fireworks display was cancelled this year. Bummer. West siders can head to Goodyear's Star-Spangled Fourth at Goodyear Ballpark from 6-10 p.m. on July 4 for live music from the Groove Merchants, water activities, fireworks and a the mother of all backwoods, patriotic, corn-fed Midwestern activities -- a pie-eating contest. Admission is free. 

Peoria's Sports Complex will have four entertainment zones, F-16 flyovers, fireworks and beer beginning at 5 p.m. on Sunday. Cost is $5; 12 and under free. 

The White: Oh-so-innocent events you can attend without having to explain why that woman's bikini looked like dental floss to your kids later.  

If your family is anything like ours, you might already be spending your holiday weekend with some animals. If you'd prefer them furry and cute, head to the Phoenix Zoo at 7 p.m. on Sunday, July 4 for their annual Fourth of Zoo-ly celebration, which includes kids' activities, a zoo tour, fireworks show and a catered barbecue dinner from Andrew's in Tempe. Admission is $40 adults; $35 ages 3-12.  

The Wigwam Resort & Spa is hosting a Great American Picnic on their golf green at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 3. This party aims to be as American as mom and apple pie, with a barbecue cookout, animal talks with the folks from World Wildlife Zoo and a concert by country band The Stealing Angels. Yee-haw! The fireworks show (scheduled for just before 9 p.m.) is free, but you can score reserved front-row seats with a picnic ticket. Cost is $15 adults; $9 kids. (Tip: If you've got the extra $50 and don't have little ones in tow, spring for the VIP Lounge at the Grill, which includes dinner buffet, two cocktails, dessert and a private air-conditioned viewing room for watching the fireworks.)

The name alone makes us want to check out the "We're Not Scared of Hell...We Live in Phoenix" themed Cave Creek Thieves Market, 7 a.m.- noon on Saturday, July 3 at 38410 N. School House Rd. in Cave Creek. Dig through piles of antiques, crafts, handmade items and random garage sale stuff in hopes of finding a gem.

At Wet 'n' Wild Water Park in Glendale on Saturday July 3, you get a free fireworks show with admission to the park -- and a way to keep cool while watching it. Cost is $34.99 for adults; $27.99 for kids and seniors; 2 and younger free. An all-you-can-eat BBQ dinner will be offered for $10-12 extra.

 

The "Blue": Don't feel like dealing with barking dogs and a zillion snot-nosed brats chowing down hot dogs and waving paper flags? Skip the fireworks and stoke your own fires with these sexy holiday weekend events.

There's no question this Independence Day will be a hot one. Strip down to your swim-ready skivvies for an Adult Swim Party from 2-10 p.m. on Sunday at the Hotel San Carlos in Phoenix. DJs will spin tunes other than Yankee Doodle and Star-Spangled Banner, and there will be plenty of cocktails to keep guests whistling Dixie all night. Cost is $5; 18 and over only.

The Wrigley Mansion at 2501 E. Telewa Trail in Phoenix is breaking with barbecue tradition to present a pool party of their own at noon on the Fourth. This one's more Animal House than Full House, with a wet t-shirt contest, beer pong, drinking games and a no-pants dance-off. Inflatable pools will be set up all over the lawn so you can stay cool; alternately, you can grease up with some waterproof 50spf and get slippery on the Slip n' Slide. No cover; 18+ only.

Not that you need any incentive to help our troops overseas, but a little eye candy in return never hurts. The Phoenix Pin-up Dolls, a group of USO wives who dress in vintage-inspired pin-up outfits, will be at Mesa's Evermore Nevermore collectible store from 6-10 p.m. on Friday, July 2 and Saturday, July 3 as part of Mesa's Celebration of Freedom event. Hustle your patriotic booty down to downtown Mesa and celebrate your Constitutional right to ogle hot chicks. Free admission. Cash and toiletry/supply donations are welcome.

Hotel Theodore (formerly the Mondrian Scottsdale) at 7353 E Indian School Rd. in Scottsdale kicks off Independence Day weekend with a Hawaiian Luau at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 2. Watch Hawaiian dancers and listen to tunes from DJ Rani G while feasting on a tropical buffet that includes smoked Kahlua pig, beef ribs, chocolate macadamia cake and fruity sorbet. Tickets are $39.99 per person.


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