On July 4th, 1776 America's founding fathers declared their independence from the kingdom of Great Britain. In the spirit of this great rebellion, why not assert your own "indie"-pendence -- from tradition -- this 4th of July? These nine Bay Area events offer a chance to shake things up -- hopefully, without starting a revolutionary war.
Groove to world beats:
El Cerrito WorldOne Festival: World Music & Circus FestivalCerrito Vista Park, 950 Pomona, El Cerrito, CA
Wednesday, July 4, 10am - 7pm
If the 4th of July is too ethnocentric for your sensibilities, try this free festival featuring live reggae, world music and electronica DJs. What could be more universal than music? This is an event for the whole family and includes carnival activities and arts & crafts vendors. For more information visit el-cerrito.org.
Ring your own Liberty Bell:
Annual Petaluma Bell Ringing CeremonyPetaluma Historical Museum, 20 4th St, Petaluma, CA
Wednesday, July 4, 10:30am
In 1963, John F. Kennedy hoped to start a 4th of July tradition that involved the simultaneous ringing of bells in communities across the country. In Petaluma, this ritual is reenacted each year on the steps of the Petaluma Historical Museum. Ring the bell yourself and join the community for cookies and lemonade afterwards. Let freedom ring! For more information visit petalumamuseum.com.
SF Mime Troup: The Last Election
Dolores Park, 566 Dolores St, San Francisco, CA
Wednesday, July 4, 1:30pm
These mimes are far from traditional, and are not afraid to talk -- especially about controversial subjects. The Last Election reinterprets the 19th century melodrama The Poor of New York, and tells the modern story of corporate greed and the so-called plight of America's "1 percent." Join the 99% for this free performance in the park. For more information visit sfmt.org.
Anti-AmeriKKKan Unity Day: Hip-Hop 4th of July
The Holdout, 2313 San Pablo Ave, Oakland CA
Wednesday, July 4, 12pm
If you would like to start a revolution on the 4th of July, join the local Occupy movement for a "hip-hop takeover." This alternative celebration will include live graffiti, a breakdancing competition, art exhibits and an open microphone. Bring your stencils, some demo CDs and an activist spirit. For more information visit hellaoccupyoakland.org.
Travel back in time:
Santa Cruz Old Fashioned Independence Day 1912 Celebration
Wilder Ranch State Park, 1401 Coast Rd., Santa Cruz, CA
Wednesday, July 4, 11am - 4pm
Celebrate the 4th of July as you would have 100 years ago. As if Santa Cruz was not quirky enough, this free, old-fashioned celebration includes a family parade, games, children's crafts, live big-band music, living history demonstrations, historic speeches and a flag raising ceremony. For more information visit thatsmypark.org.
Oakland Pardee Patriotic Picnic
Pardee Home Museum, 672 11th St, Oakland, CA
Wednesday, July 4, 12 - 4pm
Visit the preserved home of former Oakland governor George Pardee and get lost in East Bay history. For $15 or less you can enjoy this 1912-themed event with a costumed patriotic picnic in the renovated gardens and live piano music in the historic halls. For more information visit pardeehome.org.
Watch the tanks roll in:
Vintage Military & WWII Sherman Tank Parade
Downtown Novato, Redwood Blvd & Grant Ave, Novato, CA
Wednesday, July 4, 7am
If you see tanks charging through downtown Novato on the 4th of July, have no fear: these restored military vehicles are from the Joe Garbarino World War II Military Vehicle Museum and are a main feature of the annual parade that starts in the city's Old Town district. Just be sure to mind the "tank X-ing" signs! For more information visit novatoparade.com.
Honor ironic facial hair:
Albany Beard & Mustache Contest & July 4th Celebration
Memorial park, 1331 Portland Ave, Albany, CA
Wednesday, July 4, 12 - 4pm
Although our founding fathers are notably clean-shaven (at least in their official portraits), they would most certainly support our right to grow exceptional facial hair. If you concur, Albany's Beard & Mustache contest is for you. Even if you can't grow it yourself, arrive with your best natural or crafted facial hair and wear it with pride. For more information visit albanyca.org.
Boycott the bourgeoisie:
St. Helena Fireworks Show for Cheapskates
Louis M. Martini Winery, 254 South Saint Helena Highway, St. Helena, CA
Wednesday, July 4, 9:30pm
All you need is a clear view of the St. Helena sky and a radio for a spectacular light show on the 4th of July. Even if you didn't pay the $110 for the upscale winery event, you can still view the fireworks for free and listen to the broadcast of the musical accompaniment on 88.1FM. Heck, you can even bring your own wine -- bottled or boxed -- if you want to feel fancy. For more information visit louismartini.com.