fourth of july

Photo via Flickr/plong (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

For the first time in a long time, the Fourth of July in Texas will be red, white, blue – and green. That's thanks to abundant rain so far this year.

The lower risk for wildfires means vendors across the state have the option to sell more types of fireworks. And they say they are also seeing more people interested in lighting up the night sky for this year's fourth.

Jon Shapley for KUT News

The Austin Police Department will be monitoring the roads extra carefully this weekend, and enforcing a "no refusal" mandate; law enforcement will be able to quickly obtain a warrant to test the blood-alcohol level of any suspected drunk driver who objects to a Breathalyzer or blood test.

Fourth of July revelers who don’t think they’ll make fit drivers this weekend will have their pick of get-home-safe cards.

1. Capital Metro has some late-night options, including year-round Night Owl buses that run until 3 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Night Owl services travel five different routes between popular spots on 6th Street and city neighborhoods.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

The Texas Raiders have descended upon Austin. No, it's not a football team. It's the codename for a group of  B-17 pilots who have brought four renovated World War II-era planes to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport this weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July.

The exhibition of rare planes including the P-51, a C-47 and a B-25. Tours and low-altitude flights over Austin are open to the public all weekend from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.at Atlantic Aviation

Check out our gallery above for a view from KUT's flight on the "Flying Fortress."

flickr.com/photos/rampantgaffer/

The Fourth of July is upon us once again.

It's a time for fireworks, parades, barbecues and, of course, plenty of red, white and blue. So, in honor of America's birthday, KUT has compiled a list of Independence Day parades featuring the best fireworks, food and festivities near you in Central Texas.

flickruser/duluoz cats

It was a long holiday weekend for Austin Police:  APD made 99 arrests in an increased effort against drunk driving.

July 4 through the morning of July 7 marked a no-refusal enforcement for ​Austin Police. DWI suspects who refused a breath or blood test had to submit a blood sample under a search warrant. There were 55 warrants issued for blood samples over the weekend.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Austin Fire Department says there were 57 grass and brush fires in Travis County over the Fourth of July, 30 of those fires were within the Austin city limits.

The fire department believes many of the fires were caused by fireworks.

"Certainly these smaller grass fires can extend to homes and businesses. And you know there is always the chance of people getting injured using the fireworks," AFD Battalion Chief Thayer Smith said.

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

More than 100 people rallied today on the south steps of the Texas Capitol, demonstrating against recently-publicized U.S. intelligence gathering methods such as PRISM, the digital surveillance program of the National Security Agency.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Women dancing with lawn chairs, men dressed as Uncle Sam, and a rabbit in a mini army tank are just a few of the highlights from the scene of the Far West Fourth of July Parade.

It's an even more notable July 4th this year on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, where the Statue of Liberty is open for the first time since Superstorm Sandy pummeled the Mid-Atlantic region last fall.

Courtesy flickr.com/88405177@N00

July Fourth is America’s Independence Day – a day to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 

The meaning of this national holiday, when the 13 original colonies announced their freedom from the British Empire, can take many different forms depending on the person in question.

 

Preparations are underway for the Auditorium Shores concert and fireworks show Thursday.

The festivities start at 8:30 p.m., with a performance by the Austin Symphony. Fireworks are set to start at 9:30 p.m., and the event is expected to end at 10 p.m.

Above, you'll find a map of street closures for the event — streets marked red will be completely closed. Those in blue will be partially shut down.

flickr.com/bougher7

With a little help from mother nature and the Texas Legislature, fireworks retailers might see a sales boom in the Austin area this Fourth of July.

Last month, Gov. Perry signed HB 1813, which allows Texans to transport and possess fireworks in cities, eliminating previous fines that ranged from $50 to $2,000.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Austin and Travis County fire departments have responded to dozens of grass and trash fires in the last 24 hours. Crews responded to 29 small grass fires and 11 trash fires.

But, they say, for a hot, dry Fourth of July, there were actually fewer fires than they expected.

Most of the fires are still under investigation but Battalion Chief Thayer Smith says fireworks were likely involved in many.

“When you have 29 grass fires on the 4th of July and on the 3rd of July you only had two, certainly you would expect that the majority of those grass fires are obviously going to be related to fireworks in some form or fashion," said Smith.

Here's what it looks like when about 18-minutes worth of professional fireworks all go up at once.

As the San Diego Union-Tribune says, the "city's big kaboom ka-bombed on Wednesday night."

Joy Diaz for KUT News

While Austin doesn’t hold a citywide Fourth of July parade, it’s somewhat of a tradition for individual neighborhoods to hold their own Independence Day celebrations. 

KUT News traveled to the Delwood II neighborhood July 4th parade this morning. It’s the 50th annual parade the neighbors have held (which they claim makes it the longest running neighborhood parade in the city.)

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Pack Your Picnic: Info on Tonight’s Fireworks Show

Thousands are expected to flock to Auditorium Shores for the Austin Symphony July 4th Concert and Fireworks.

The symphony will start its performance at 8:30 p.m. The fireworks show will run from 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

If you’re planning to attend, leave behind all alcohol, glass and Styrofoam. Smoking is not allowed and neither is grilling – because of the number of people expected to be at Auditorium Shores.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Plan on shooting some fireworks off this July 4th?

KUT News recently traveled out to a fireworks stand along Highway 290 to see how sellers were faring. Sales are up from last year, when a ban on fireworks was in effect, but American Fireworks proprietor Keith Coober noted the challenges in a business where you can sales only come on the Fourth and New Year’s.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Travis County is under a burn ban but fireworks are still on sale. The county is allowing fireworks but not recommending their use.

Keith Cooper sells fireworks for an “American Fireworks” stand. He thinks the burn ban is keeping some customers away.

“Sales have started off a little slow this year. People are a little leery of fire. But they’ve been fairly well,” said Cooper. “Of course it always picks up during the holiday. The third and the fourth are always our best days.”

Vendors met with the Fire Marshal’s office yesterday and agreed not to sell winged fireworks, rockets and missiles – that’s because they pose the biggest fire risk.

Daniel Reese, KUT News

The Texas Department of Public Safety is reminding Fourth of July revelers to plan ahead before they party.

“If you are drinking, make sure you have a designated driver or some other form of transportation,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Otherwise, you could be making a very expensive or even fatal mistake.”

DPS has ramped up DWI patrols and will continue to increase enforcement through July 8. The department will focus their patrols on areas they consider to be high-risk during holiday weekends.

KUT News

With the Fourth of July just nine days away, residents of Travis County can rest assured that fireworks will still be part of their holiday celebrations. But Travis County Commissioners are urging people to use caution.

That's after commissioners voted today to put a burn ban back in effect for unincorporated areas on the advice of fire marshal Hershel Lee. 

While fireworks can still be used and sold for the Fourth of July, they are still banned inside city limits, as is outdoor burning without a permit. 

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