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On Monday, pay your respects to our fallen military personnel at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Courtesy Greenwood Funeral Homes

Along with boating, camping, and swimming while soaking up the sun, summer in ’Murica includes four four-day weekends because why not remember history while school is out and drink about it? Here are some serious and some fun ways to take advantage of the extra time off and a bit about why we’re commemorating these dates as a nation.

 

 Memorial Day 

Originally called Remembrance Day, Memorial Day was created to commemorate those who died serving the army in the Civil War. Initially, gatherings and picnics were held for a specific purpose: to bring former enemies together to mend a broken country. Today, this holiday honors and remembers all men and women who died serving in the U.S. military.

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You can show your respects to the fallen by visiting Mount Olivet Cemetery (2301 N Sylvania Av, Fort Worth, 817-831-0511), the first perpetual care cemetery in the South, founded in 1907, for the 95th annual Fort Worth Memorial Day Service 10am-11am Mon near the center of the grounds. Speakers and special guests include master of ceremonies Lt. Col. Jungus Jordan (USAF retired), WWII Iwo Jima survivor Don Graves, Col. Alan Duckworth (USAF), and Capt. Beaur Hufstetler (Commanding Officer, NAS JRB Fort Worth), plus city councilmember Jeannette Martinez and County Judge Tim O’Hare. If it rains, the service will be moved indoors. There is no cost to attend.

Enjoy great views of the city at the Memorial Day Rooftop Social.
Courtesy TheRooftopGuide.com

Later that afternoon, head to RTB, the rooftop bar at The Sinclair (512 Main St, Fort Worth, 682-231-8214) for the Memorial Day Weekend Rooftop Social 3pm-10pm Mon. There will be “backyard bites,” cocktails, music, and, as always, a great view of downtown. As Tres Agaves is the sponsor, you can expect specials on interesting drinks crafted with reposado and anejo tequilas aged in bourbon and whiskey barrels. About those bites, they will be from in-house restaurant Wicked Butcher, so you know they will be on point. Tickets are $25 per person at Resy.com.

 

Art, culture, music, and food await at the Soul of Sycamore festival.
Courtesy M66graphics & Media

 Juneteenth 

It took nearly two and a half years for the news of their emancipation to reach all enslaved people in the United States, with Texans being some of the last to know. In celebration of when Texas slaves learned they were free, Juneteenth is now an official national holiday thanks to the efforts of Fort Worth’s own Dr. Opal Lee. President Joe Biden signed into law a bill to make it so.

Catch up with Opal at the Juneteenth Family Reunion Festival at Panther Island Pavilion (395 Purcey St, Fort Worth, 817-335-2491) 1pm-11pm Sat-Sun, Jun 15-16. R&B stylists Tamia and DVSN with Ghost-Note, The Musical Doc, Yaba Buluku Boyzm, and many more will perform. Along with the live music, there will be arts and crafts, cultural activations, food vendors, a kids’ zone, and rides, plus fireworks at the end of each night. Admission is $40 for adults and $10 for kids, plus VIP packages starting at $125. For tickets or to read about other related events, visit JuneteenthFamilyReunionFestival.com.

You can also celebrate at the seventh annual Soul of Sycamore Juneteenth Culture, Art & Music Fest at Sycamore Park (2525 E Rosedale St, Fort Worth, 817-392-7650) noon-6pm Sat, Jun 15. This community gathering includes cultural demonstrations, dance performances, educational events, live music, a parade, and theatrical productions with the goal of “reflecting on the holiday significance while fostering community spirit.” While food and drinks will be available for purchase, attending is free.

Denton is down to commemorate Juneteenth with two big concerts. At Juneteenth with TK Soul, the namesake artist will perform with special guests Ahyonz featuring Kenya C and Urban Mystic at Denton Civic Center (321 E McKinney St, Denton, 940-349-7275) 7pm Sat, Jun 15. Tickets start at $35 on Eventbrite.com.

Then on Wed, Jun 19, Rubber Gloves (411 E Sycamore St, Denton, 940-594-2207) hosts Angelic Vortex’s third annual Juneteenth Celebration 4pm-9pm. Afro Chris, Call Me Xandri, Curl the Band, Deep Cut, and Zeke Forever will perform, plus there’ll be an artisan market, art show, and food vendors. Admission is $10 at the door only.

Angelic Vortex will help ring in Juneteenth at Rubber Gloves.
Courtesy Angelic Vortex

 

Independence Day

Known colloquially as the 4th of July, Independence Day is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the Declaration of Independence, ratified by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, establishing the United States of America. (I think you already all about this one, but thanks anyway, Wikipedia.)

Fort Worth’s Fourth, featuring one of the largest fireworks displays in North Texas, will once again take place along the Trinity River at Panther Island Pavilion (395 Purcey St, 817-698-0700) on Thu, Jul 4. General Admission is free. In the coming weeks, check FortWorthsFourth.com for more information about activities and times for 2024.

Fort Worth’s Fourth at Panther Island is always a throwdown.
Courtesy City of Fort Worth

You can also see part of the Fort Worth’s Fourth fireworks atop the Worthington Renaissance Hotel (200 Main St, Fort Worth, 817-870-1000) at the Rooftop Cinema Club’s Independence Day Party, where you will also see a screening of  — you guessed it  — Independence Day, the 1996 summer blockbuster starring Will Smith, Bill Pullman, and a cast of other beloved American actors in which the world must be saved from an alien attack over a July 4th weekend. Doors open at 5:40pm for food, games, and live music, then the movie screens 7:40pm-10:05pm. Tickets for the Movie+Party Combo are $65 and grant you access to the rooftop party, a catered barbecue meal, a soft drink, and a guaranteed seat for the film. Tickets are on sale until noon Thu, Jun 29, at RooftopCinimaClub.com.

Watch Independence Day on Independence Day and see Will Smith save the planet. Again.
Courtesy 20th Century Fox

The City of Haslet has a new location for its annual Independence Day Celebration 6pm Fri, Jun 30. It’s at Haslet Community Park (301 1st St, Haslet, 817-439-5931). There’ll be activities, live music, vendors, and fireworks at dark. You are welcome to bring blankets, chairs, bug spray (!), and drinks/snacks but no alcohol, glass containers, or pets. There is no cost to attend, and parking is free in the event lot accessed from Hwy 156.

 

 Labor Day 

The Department of Labor says the first Monday in September celebrates American workers’ social and economic achievements. Labor Day is rooted in the late 19th century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize workers’ many contributions to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being. On June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making it official nationwide. Me? I’m a workaholic myself, so this marks my last pool day before I take a deep dive into fall’s looming Best Of season here at the Weekly. Sigh. It’s also your last chance to get away before school starts.

It turns out that the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma hosts an annual Labor Day Festival at the Historic Tvshka Homma Capitol Grounds (Council House Rd, Tushkahoma, OK), which is just right up yonder. This weekend-long gathering is a decades-long tradition for the Choctaw people, who gather to celebrate culture, faith, and family through gourd dancing performances, live music, princess pageants, and more. The musical entertainment Sat-Sun, Aug 31-Sep 1, includes Rodney Atkins, Casting Crowns, Mark Chestnutt, The Close, Jason Crabb, Gold City, and Joey Green. There is no cost to attend unless you’d like to lease a spot to park an RV. For more info, visit LaborDay.ChoctawNation.com.

The Labor Day Festival at the Historic Choctaw Capitol Grounds in Oklahoma includes an annual princess pageant.
Courtesy Choctaw Nation

And, finally, Labor Day Weekend is also when rock and metal fans migrate to Oklahoma for the annual Rocklahoma festival Fri-Sun, Aug 30-Sep 1, at the Rockin Red Dirt Ranch (1421 W 450 Rd, Pryor, OK, right outside Tulsa). Hosted by podcaster Eddie Trunk, this event features 43 bands, including Avenged Sevenfold with Evanescence and Halestorm on Friday, Disturbed with A Day to Remember and Skillet on Saturday, and Slipknot with Lamb of God and Mastodon on Sunday. Weekend passes start at $208.99 at Rocklahoma.com.

If you’re a fan of music and travel, consider seeing some of your favorite local bands at their out-of-town shows this season. Read about a few in the Hear Some Cross-Country Sounds This Summer article here.

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