Photo: Courtesy of Typhoon Texas
Across Houston, family events over the weekend of July 4 are coupled with post-pandemic celebrations and a chance to honor those who have sacrificed themselves to bring us to this important milestone. Here are five places that offer more than fireworks and hot dogs.
1. Typhoon Texas
At Typhoon Texas in Katy, the three-day Red, White & Boom celebration taking place July 2-4 features fireworks that can be seen both inside and outside the water park, culminating with a tribute to the heroes of the health crisis of all types.
Marketing Director Rebecca Cain spent about a decade in Orlando hosting events with Disney theme parks before her current position at the Texas Water Park. She says the planned multi-day eruption rivals the kind of high-production events Disney World is known for.
The festivities include fireworks, live music, paratroopers, hot air balloon rides and fire shows.
“How often can you say you’ve watched fireworks and witnessed a full show in a wave pool?” Said Cain.
Throughout the 15-acre park – home to attractions such as the Typhoon Vertical Launch, The Bullchute outdoor slide, and The Twister rafting experience – the rides will be illuminated with red, white and blue LED lights to add to the patriotic vibe, she said.
Waders, unicyclists and jugglers will roam the property, imparting “that feel of classic 1950s American family entertainment,” she says. Aquatic acrobatics, pony rides and the chance to dunk Uncle Sam are part of the festivities day and night.
Staff will hand out beach towels, water bottles, and other freebies to guests taking a break from the water-soaked action.
The “good, clean fun” continues, Cain says, with pie-eating contests, a barbershop quartet, egg races, ballooning animals, ball-tossing contests, and bag races.
On July 3, season pass holders can take short hot air balloon flights, space permitting. Also on this day, the town of Katy will park vehicles all over the land so that children can see inside a fire truck, ambulance and police car.
On July 2 and 3, Texas musicians Trevor Douglas and The StringBenders will take the stage, respectively, before a 5-minute fireworks display each evening at 9:15 p.m.
The biggest fireworks display takes place on the evening of July 4, in partnership with the Town of Katy.
Ahead of the colorful blasts, local country musician Cooper Wade will headline a stage performance, which includes a crowd recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the National Anthem. Wade will sing “God Bless America”.
Paratroopers will descend from above to launch a presentation of flags. Katy Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris will greet the heroes in attendance, calling on frontline workers of all types to stand up, including teachers, medical workers, bus drivers, grocery store workers and members of the armed forces.
âWe’ve all been through something that has changed our lives and, at the end of the day, it’s time to really say thank you and focus on the positive,â Cain says.
At 9:05 am, the music from inside the park will be synchronized with the Katy Town Fireworks Show to be launched near the Katy Mills Mall.
The fireworks display will last about 20 minutes, made even more memorable, Cain says, by the Texas-sized celebration of the pandemic heroes that precedes it, “screaming for them, giving them all this incredible praise.”
For more information, visit cityofkaty.com and typhoontexas.com
2. South County July 4th Parade
In the South County volunteer-hosted July 4 parade to The Woodlands, which will take place this year on July 3, families will start claiming their seats as early as 6 a.m., said Noemi Gonzalez of Market Street.
The commercial development offers primo float viewing, where spectators will set up lawn chairs and picnic blankets to watch the parade, which begins and ends at the corner of Lake Woodlands Drive and Grogan’s Mill Road, winding through Market Street.
A decades-long community tradition, the parade was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. Gonzalez says she expects a high turnout when the beloved event returns.
In recent years, the parade has attracted over 2,000 spectators.
“Our families are lacking, everyone is asking for him to come back,” she said.
There are around 100 floats this year, presented by local businesses, community groups, Boy Scout troops, charities, schools and other entities.
Emergency vehicles are in the queue, as are members of the armed forces.
The people who run the floats distribute candy, popsicles and other goodies to the crowd.
âIt’s very similar to a hometown feel,â says Gonzalez. “I think that’s the beauty of this show and why we missed it so much.”
âWe’re not that little town anymore, but it still gives you that little hometown feeling,â she continues.
To kick off, the Woodlands Concert Band will perform from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. before the parade begins. DJs are stationed throughout the development to blast the patriotic tunes as the tanks make their way.
The parade lasts from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. approximately
Gonzalez says one of his favorite floats is created each year by a local family who celebrates their child born on Independence Day.
She saw the child grow up on the chariot every year.
Later that evening, the celebration continues when Market Street hosts a 5-7 p.m. concert with musician Adrian Michael.
For more information, visit 4thofjuly.org and shopatmarketstreet.com
3. The stars at night: a tribute to service
Gonzalez says the Market Street events were timed not to conflict with the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion’s patriotic event on the same night.
“Stars at Night – A Salute to Service” features the Woodlands Symphony Orchestra, which will take the stage at 8 pm on July 3.
Cameron Klepac, of the Pavilion, said the annual event was renamed this year. In the past, the celebration has included a performance by the Houston Symphony.
For 2021, the free event features the Montgomery County arts organization and will be an opportunity to celebrate teachers, first responders, medical professionals and other frontline workers, he says.
Starting at 6:30 p.m., families can wait for the concert to begin by participating in giveaways, photo ops with recognizable patriotic figures, and artistic creations.
Young aspiring artists can take a stroll through a petting zoo. Activation is designed to give children hands-on experience on a variety of musical instruments in a non-intimidating setting.
The musical show begins at 8 PM, with a pop performance of patriotic standards such as “God Bless the USA”, “Armed Forces Salute” and “The Star Spangled Banner”.
For more information, visit woodlandscenter.org
4. Childhood day
Mini superheroes are invited to show their national pride and dress up in costume to meet Captain America, when the Avenger makes an appearance at the annual Kidpendence Day at Children’s Museum Houston on July 3.
Each adult or child wearing Captain America or Avengers clothing will receive a $ 5 gift to spend in the museum gift shop.
The first 300 children in attendance will receive a free Coney Island hot dog.
The Captain America encounter is a big hit this time around every year, said the museum’s Henry Yau, which celebrated its post-pandemic reopening in June.
âHe’s fantastic with his interaction with kids,â Yau says of the hero, who draws lines for photo ops.
Elsewhere in the museum, kids can participate in an art activity where they will create patterns inside the shape of a patriotic hat with markers, then pick up a paintbrush to mix their colors.
With red, white and blue decor throughout all galleries, science lessons on what makes fireworks and superhero mask-making work, the annual Patriotic Celebration is “super, super extreme, we put it all together. implemented, âYau says. For more information, visit cmhouston.org
5. West University Place Cycling Parade
And the City of West University Place American-style bike parade is back, after the 2020 event was canceled.
New for this year’s three-day celebration is a family show on July 2 at Colonial Park Pool near School of Rock’s West U franchise. School of Rock offers musical instrument and vocal lessons for children and adults.
The next morning, July 3, children will dress their bicycles, tricycles, carts, strollers and other modes of transport with crepe paper, banners and a festive atmosphere to roll in droves throughout the neighborhood.
Competitions and other family fun continue at the pool on July 4th. All events are open to non-residents accompanied by a resident. For more information, westutx.gov
Allison Bagley is a Houston-based writer.