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Let Freedom Ring -- in your ears 

As tends to be the practice of this publication on the eve of any party-intensive holiday, we would like to take this opportunity to bully

As tends to be the practice of this publication on the eve of any party-intensive holiday, we would like to take this opportunity to bully you into following our recommendations for a good time. In the past, we've given you plans for a perfectly ridiculous St. Patty's Day and laid the pavement for a marathon New Year's Eve (complete with both bluegrass and bull riding) so there's really nothing stopping us from pushing you in the direction of a Fourth of July weekend so explosively awesome that you'll have no problem using puns as corny as "explosively awesome."

Given that the holiday only rarely falls on a Friday, thus making for a three-day weekend, we'll outline the entire three days for you. Sound fair? Good.

We would recommend you make the most of your Thursday evening (this is after you light off some firecrackers in the middle of your office, "just to get everyone in the holiday spirit") to Sisters and get an early start on the first-ever Central Oregon Blues and Crawfish Festival. The party rocks through Saturday, but why not hit it up early and catch a set by John Lee Hooker Jr. while gorging yourself on several pounds of crustaceans to get the weekend started in style. If you're neither a blues nor a crawfish enthusiast, yet want to stay in Sisters, skip over to Angeline's for a return performance by multi-instrumental master Tony Furtado.

Then, wake up on Friday and lead your neighborhood in the Pledge of Allegiance before spray-painting your body red, white and blue and hopping on your equally nationalistic Huffy and heading downtown for the Pet Parade and all sorts of other family friendly goodness.

The night will likely find you haphazardly watching the top of Pilot Butte explode with fireworks then shaking your head at the inevitable and moderately sized brush fire that ensues. Do that if you want, but we recommend hitting up the Silver Moon for a free hip-hop-meets-rock-addled-jazz-fusion show by the Empty Space Orchestra. It's your choice, celebrate your freedom to watch high-powered explosions, or celebrate your right to get down.

Saturday morning will likely be spent sweeping up all the spent fireworks off your driveway from your gunpowder loving neighbors and/or lamenting the fact that said fireworks burned down your house. Either way, leave town for Elk Lake where another first-ever festie is going down in the Moon Mountain Music Festival, organized and headlined with two sets on each Saturday and Sunday by none other than the Moon Mountain Ramblers. You can also have some high-altitude fun with other local acts like Taarka, Blackstrap, Leif James, the Mostest as well as a late-night dance party authored by the Grove. The festival is affordable ($20/day at the gate, $15/day in advance) and knowing the Ramblers' following, should make for a more friendly, less firework intensive weekend than you might find in your aforementioned embattled neighborhood.

If you decide to descend back to 3,700 feet and have some extra cash left in the Independence Day Celebration Fund, drag your tired bones to the Les Schwab Amphitheater for a set by the legendary bluesman and Viagra spokesman, B.B. King. There's a good chance this could be the last time you see the King here in Central Oregon, so keep that in mind before you go home to "rest." You know who didn't have time to rest? Umm, let's see, how about Ben Franklin, George Washington, Christopher Columbus...ever heard of 'em?

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