FAMILY FESTIVAL AND FREE ADMISSION DAY
10:30 a.m., Clinton Presidential Center. Free.
Peruse a bit of our nation’s recent
history at no charge on July 4, when the Clinton Presidential Center
will offer free admission in celebration of Independence Day. The Delta
Brass Quintet will perform in the Great Hall from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30
a.m., and the family festival starts at 2 p.m. with children’s
activities, food vendors, live music and more. The Dell Smith
Experience featuring Tawanna Campbell and J. White will provide music
and entertainment from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Watch the Fourth of July
fireworks over the Arkansas River at 9:30 p.m. PP
25th ANNUAL POPS ON THE RIVER
Gates open at 5:30 p.m.,
Riverfest Amphitheatre. Free.
As the fireworks go boom, the Arkansas
Symphony Orchestra will perform its annual patriotic concert — as it
has now for a quarter of a century — at 8:30 p.m. at Riverfront Park.
Entry is free, but attendees are encouraged to bring nonperishable food
items for donation to the Arkansas Food Bank Network. Be advised: The
Junction Bridge will only be open to the general public until 8 p.m.,
after which access requires one of the 1,000 passes, available at the
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Festivities kick off early with a 6:30 p.m.
concert by Happenstance, a band whose performances have been said to
“slip over you like long-lost flannel shirts,” and opportunities to
plunge Democrat-Gazette sportswriter Wally Hall in a dunk tank and to
out-sweet-tea Sweet Tea columnist Jay Grelen. Beverages will be for
sale; coolers and pets strictly verboten. “Dogs are American” is not an
BATTLE OF HELENA RE-ENACTMENT
10 a.m., Delta Cultural Center, Helena-West Helena. Free.
If you’re in the mood for fireworks of a different kind on the
Fourth head east. The Delta Cultural Center commemorates the 145th
anniversary of the Battle of Helena, one of three Confederate defeats
over a two-day period on July 3-4, 1863. (You might have heard of the
others — Gettysburg and Vicksburg.) Dr. Thomas DeBlack, award-winning
author and professor of history at Arkansas Tech University, will speak
on the events at Helena and the ramifications of the battle. Light
refreshments will be served. DeBlack will also offer copies of his
book, “With Fire and Sword: Arkansas 1861-1874,” for sale and will
autograph copies. The center is located at 141 Cherry St. in Helena.
For more information, call 870-338-4350 or 800-358-0972 or visit the
Web site at www.deltaculturalcenter.com. PP
FUN ON THE FOURTH
10 a.m.-2 p.m., Pinnacle Mountain State Park, free.
Celebrate and cool off on the Fourth of July at Pinnacle Mountain
State Park. There will be a watermelon-seed-spitting contest, water
balloon volleyball and water relay races. There won’t be fireworks:
They’re illegal in the park. More information is available by calling
868-5806 or by visiting www.arkansasstateparks.com/pinnaclemountain. PP
FRONTIER FOURTH OF JULY
2-4 p.m., Historic Arkansas Museum. Free.
Celebrate the nation’s independence with 19th-century music,
traditional fiddling, crafts, living history performances, a reading of
the Declaration of Independence, and lemonade and watermelon
refreshments. The museum is located at 200 E. Third St. and admission
is free. More information is available by calling 324-9351. PP
9:30 p.m., Sticky Fingerz. $8.
Sardinas, currently signed to Steve Vai’s Favored Nations record
label, is a powerful guitar player known for his engaging live shows. A
natural left-hander, Sardinas first picked up the guitar at age 6 and
eventually converted to a right-hand playing style. After absorbing the
soulful realm of Motown, gospel and R&B, Sardinas graduated to the
emotionally intense sounds of the Deep South, including Son House,
Robert Johnson, Bukka White and Mississippi Fred McDowell. The Dobro
dominated his 1999 debut, “Treat Me Right,” and his next two releases,
“Angel Face” (2000) and “Devil’s Train” (2001). But “Black Pearls”
(2003) and this year’s “Eric Sardinas and Big Motor,” set for release
in late July, reflect the influence of the electric explosions of the
1960s and 1970s. Fireworks are certain to explode at Sticky Fingerz as
Sardinas and his crew celebrate their constitutional freedom to rock. PP
8 p.m., Peabody Hotel. $15.
In what’s becoming an annual tradition, the Venus Mission (“The
hottest band between Memphis and the sun!”) closes out the RiverTop
Party series at the Peabody on the Fourth. What can you expect? Well,
boatloads of people. Few touring club acts draw as strongly. You’ll
notice that local bookers typically schedule them around holidays and
Razorback games. Nostalgia jams, too. Specifically, from the ’80s —
Belinda Carlisle, Wang Chung, the Bangles, Madonna. But, like any good
cover band, their range extends beyond their focus into radio hits of
today. Plus, like any band that plays to consistently large crowds,
they’ve gone and written originals. So anticipate that, or not. Look,
also, for the hallmark of next-level commitment from a cover-band: The
members of Venus Mission dress up. Sort of like extras in “American
Pyscho” — tight mini-skirts, skinny ties worn scarf-like, Ray-Bans.
There will be dancing. And in honor of Independence Day, there will be
barbecue and hotdogs, too. LM