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Holiday: Make plans for Independence Day 

FRIDAY, JULY 4

There are a lot of places to see fireworks on the 4th of July, from your own backyard to a variety of fests and parties happening in and around the Q.C. There are also other events that stray from the typical and fly on or splish and splash into their own unique way of celebrating. I can't name all that's going on and I'm not even going to try, but here are some recommendations. See our Festivals/Events listings in our Happenings section for more information.

BREAKFAST CLUB'S "LIVING IN AMERICA" PARTY. Hosted by 107.9 The Link's Brent "Bandy" O'Brien, this party features DJ Jody, who will dish out a heavy load of retro '80s videos to get folks out on the dance floor. You can also drink-up with $1 PBR & Pabst Light beers, $2 Import Beers and $3 Mixed Drinks. Breakfast Club, 225 N. Caldwell St. 704-374-1982. www.that80sclub.com.

NIGHTS OF FIRE. The Carolina Skytower at Carowinds is launching a pyro-musical fireworks show from its tip-top, with more than 1,000 shells to paint the sky with a rainbow of colors. Free with park admission. 10 p.m. Carowinds, 14523 Carowinds Blvd. 704-588-2600. www.carowinds.com.

RED ROCKS, WHITEWATER & BLUEGRASS CELEBRATION. Insert splish-splash reference here. Yeah, here goes. If you want something a little different and you're the outdoorsy type, you can experience kayaking in class III/IV whitewater, climb a rock spire or just chill out, eat, listen to music from Dry Fork Ramblers and Moonshine Racers and watch the fireworks at 9:15 p.m. What to do with the wee ones? Bring 'em along -- the center will have activities for them. Free with $5 parking fee. 3 p.m. U.S. National Whitewater Center, 820 Hawfield Road. 704-391-3900. www.usnwc.org.

RED, WHITE & BOOM. In its third year, Family Fun Fest offers a series of games (tug of war, sac races, bushel basket, etc.), food, music and more. Better yet, watch seeds fly in a watermelon-eating contest before the main event -- a colorful firework display. Free. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Memorial Stadium, 310 N. Kings Drive. 704-332-2227. www.charlottecentercity.org.

WBT KNIGHTS SKYSHOW 2008. A sporty way to celebrate, this event offers a night of baseball (Charlotte Knights vs. Durham Bulls), hot dogs and fireworks that are synchronized to a patriotic soundtrack played live inside Knights Stadium. Children can enjoy their own play area with a rock-climbing wall, live jugglers and more. $7-$12. 6 p.m. Knights Stadium, 2280 Deerfield Drive, Fort Mill., S.C. 803-548-8050.

WEATHERING PROGRAM: RED, WHITE, AND BLUE IN RAPTORS TOO. R Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" has nothing on this soaring way to celebrate Independence Day. Not only can you see the red, white and blue raptors, but you can have your picture taken with an eagle as well. Free with regular admission. 11 a.m., 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. Carolina Raptor Center, 6000 Sample Road. Huntersville. 704-875-6521. www.carolinaraptorcenter.org.

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