American Pyro

Because the Fourth of July falls on a Sunday this year, many of the celebrations, concerts and the like are being pushed forward to Friday or Saturday. For the hardy souls who wish to brave the crowds, heat and parking purgatory on Sunday night, not to mention a bleary-eyed Monday morning, to see a fireworks display from directly underneath, rather than from safe vantage far away, here are some Independence Day celebrations:

"Fabulous Phoenix Fourth": It's been noted that when this event, scheduled for 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday, July 4, on the grounds of the Arizona State Capitol, 17th Avenue and Washington, bills itself as "America's Hottest Fourth," it's not an aesthetic honor that's being asserted; it's fried-eggs-on-the-manhole-cover time out there. But what the heck, it's free. This year's frivolities include a massive fireworks display--one of the top 20 in the country--carnival rides for $2 a spin or $15 for an all-day pass, games, skydivers, fly-overs by WW I, WW II and jet fighter aircraft, military displays, giveaways of prizes including a 1999 Saturn, a giant swimming pool and more. Gratis parking is available in the area bordered by Seventh and 19th avenues and Van Buren and Adams streets, and a free shuttle service is available from 4 to 11 p.m. from the Arizona Center at Third Street and Van Buren.

The event also hosts six live entertainment stages. Grammy-winning Monument Records recording artists and popular corn-pone country cutie pies Dixie Chicks are the main-stage headliners; fave Sawyer Brown co-headlines. Firehouse Five performs at poolside; Jo Mama and Valley bluesman Hans Olson perform on the Red, White and Blue Stage; the Southwestern Stage features Straight Up and Grupo Caliente; and there's a magic stage for kids. For the truly courageous, both among the performers and audience members, there's even a karaoke stage.

Call 602-534-3378 or 602-262-4633 for more information.

"All-American Festival": The City of Peoria hosts this annual event from 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday, July 4, on the Seattle Mariners' practice fields at Peoria Sports Complex, 16101 North 83rd Avenue. The agenda includes fireworks, skydivers, F-16 fly-overs, music and kids' activities. Admission is $5, free for those 18 and younger; parking is free, as are rides once inside the park. Call 623-412-7198 for information.

Glendale's Home Town Fourth of July: Highlights of the annual event, which starts at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 4, at the football stadium at Glendale Community College, 59th Avenue and Olive, include a big-time fireworks display, a Luke Air Force Base fly-over, musical performances and kids' magic shows, food and drinks and vendors. Admission and parking are free. Call 623-930-2299 for more information.

Tempe's 4th Fireworks Spectacular: The event, co-sponsored by Volvo and 12 News, features live entertainment ranging from Ballet Folkorico Mexico Lindo, Clan/Destine, The Desert City Jazz Band, and CC Ryder Express Band, as well as kids' activities, an Arizona Thunder Kid's Sports Camp, rugby demonstrations, kids' presentations by McGruff the Crime Dog and drowning prevention talks sponsored by the Tempe police and fire departments. All this is followed, needless to say, by a major fireworks display.

The attractions kick off at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 4, at Tempe Diablo Stadium, 2525 South 48th Street; the fireworks start at 9 p.m. Admission is $4 at the stadium, $5 at Dillard's, $6 at the gate; a family four-pack is $12 at the stadium, $13 at Dillard's, $14 at the gate. Proceeds benefit the Tempe Children's Charity Fund. Parking costs $3; kids 12 and under get in free.

--M. V. Moorhead

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M.V. Moorhead
Contact: M.V. Moorhead