Arlington 4th of July Parade
1 The oldest of area Independence Day traditions, the parade starts at 9 a.m. Friday in the downtown/UT Arlington area, with an after-picnic in Heritage Park. Free. 817-330-9872; www.arlington4th.org.
Lone Stars and Stripes celebration
Willie Nelsons 4th of July Picnic
3 Willie brings his daylong hoedown to the Stockyards. Among the featured acts: Dierks Bentley, Josh Abbott Band, Johnny Bush, Charley Pride, Ryan Bingham, Ray Wylie Hubbard, David Allan Coe and Insects vs. Robots. Gates open at 11 a.m. Friday in Rodeo Plaza in the Stockyards. $40-$60. 817-624-7117; www.billybobstexas.com or www.williespicnic.com.
Fort Worths Fourth
4 And not far from the Stockyards will be the fireworks-studded celebration at Panther Island Pavilion. Gates open at 2 p.m., and beginning at 4 p.m. therell be Jet Ski and flyboard shows and the Dallas Cowboys Rhythm and Blue Dancers. Friday at Panther Island Pavilion, 395 Purcey St., Fort Worth. Free (VIP passes available; parking costs vary). www.fortworthsfourth.com.
4thFEST in Bedford
5 Another longstanding tradition. There are events all day (opens at noon), with a childrens area, classic car show, festival food, music and a tribute to our soldiers. Fireworks kick off at 10 p.m. Friday at Bedford Boys Ranch, 2801 Forest Ridge Drive. Admission is free; some activities cost. Limited on-site parking for $20. Parking and shuttle service: $5 (free for children 3 and under) at Pennington Field, 1501 Central Dr. Last shuttle to the Boys Ranch leaves at 9:30 p.m. www.bedfordtx.gov/4thfest.
Fair Park Fourth
6 The biggest Independence Day celebration in the city of Dallas is at Fair Park, where you can ride rides and do other State Fair-y things until the fireworks go boom. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday. Free (midway admission $5). www.fairpark.org.
Little Shop of Horrors
7 Who doesnt love this doo-wop monster musical? And you know Jubilee will give it a fresh spin, starting with black actors in many of the roles that are traditionally cast with white actors. Previews begin Saturday, opens July 11 and runs through Aug. 3 at Jubilee Theatre, 506 Main St., Fort Worth. $20-$30. 817-338-4411; www.jubileetheatre.org.
8 Speaking of twists on beloved musicals, Dallas Theater Center does the first professional, locally produced production, and puts a twist on it so that this revolution is not the French one you know from Victor Hugos book or the musical. Cant wait to see how that works. It has been in previews and opens Friday, running through Aug. 17 at Wyly Theatre, 2400 Flora St., Dallas. $15-$195. 214-880-0202; www.dallastheatercenter.org.
Ripleys 25th anniversary party
9 The building has been there for much longer, but the place that used to be the local wax museum, in Grand Prairie, is celebrating 25 years as Ripleys Believe It or Not! Beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday and going all day, therell be games, face painting, bounces houses and more. That part is free, and then youll also save $5 on any combo ticket package for the museum. 601 E. Palace Parkway, Grand Prairie. 972-263-2391; www.ripleys.com/wp/grandprairie.
Queen + Adam Lambert
10 There have been worse ideas. But given the vocal range and screaming ability of American Idol breakout Lambert, were gonna think positive about him as a potential fill-in for Freddie Mercury, who will never be replaced. 7:30 p.m. Thursday at American Airlines Center, Dallas. $35-$125. 800-745-3000; www.ticketmaster.com.
11 Assuming youre not still hung over from Willies picnic, come back to Billy Bobs for one of the best singer/songwriter/rockers that country/roots music has. 8 p.m. Saturday at Billy Bobs Texas, Fort Worth. $15-$35. 817-624-7117; www.billybobstexas.com.
12 If you havent been to the Ochre House in Dallas Exposition Park, youre missing out on some of the most oddball and fascinating original theater in Dallas. The latest from writer/director Matt Posey is about a man who has weird visions in an L.A. dive bar. Trust us, itll be weirder than it sounds. Wednesday through July 26 at the Ochre House, 825 Exposition Ave., Dallas. $15. 214-826-6273; www.ochrehousetheater.com.