Courtesy of our partners at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune:
2015 Essence Festival: The Essence Festival features empowerment seminars with nationally known speakers by day at the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Convention Center and concerts by top artists by night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Admission: Weekend passes $169.50-$1,416, VIP seats also available. Many daytime events are free.
Our Lady of the Gulf Crab Festival: The annual festival, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. each day, offers crab races, food, live music, arts and crafts, rides, raffles, and more. Admission: Free. Our Lady of the Gulf Church, 228 S. Beach Blvd., Bay St. Louis, Miss., 228.467.6509.
Maafa Commemoration: The Ashe Cultural Arts Center presents the 15th annual commemorative ceremony honoring victims of the Atlantic slave trade, with African drumming in the park at Congo Square starting at 7 a.m., followed by a procession through Treme and the French Quarter to the riverfront. Family members lost to hurricanes, the levee breaches, and acts of violence will be honored. Shuttles will return participants to Congo Square. Participants are asked to wear white attire. Admission: Free. Louis Armstrong Park, 801 N. Rampart St., 504.569.9070.
Ancient Order of the Krewe of Kolossos Bayou Boat Parade: Participants of all ages are encouraged to paddle out in their canoes, pirogues, kayaks, row boats and rafts (prizes for creative decorations and costumes) to celebrate Independence Day, 5-8 p.m. Entertainment by Pair of Dice Tumblers and Disco Amigos. Al "Carnival Time" Johnson will be king; Mercy Stevenson, queen. The parade takes place on Bayou St. John, near Dumaine and Moss streets. Admission: Free. Bayou Boat Parade Staging Area, Dumaine and Moss streets, 504.905.2830.
Go 4th on the River: The Riverfront Marketing Group presents the 25th annual Independence Day celebration, at 9 p.m., with the Dueling Barges Fireworks extravaganza over the Mississippi River between the Gov. Nichols Street Wharf and the Canal Street Dock. Admission: Free. Moonwalk, 750 Decatur St.
Fourth of July Cruise: The evening offers a buffet of American favorites such as barbecue chicken, pulled pork, baked beans, potato salad, macaroni and cheese, white chocolate bourbon bread pudding and more. There will be live music and themed cocktails. Guests can view the fireworks from the paddlewheeler and, afterward, cruise down the Mississippi River. Boarding begins at 8 p.m.; Go 4th on the River fireworks start at 9. Admission: $129 adults, $69 children ages 6-12, $20 children ages 3-5. Creole Queen at Spanish Plaza, Poydras Street, 504.529.4567.
Independence Day With the Zephyrs: Celebrate the Fourth of July by watching America's pastime as the New Orleans Zephyrs take on the Iowa Cubs, 6 p.m. The celebration includes Baseball Bingo, a mini flag giveaway, fireworks after the game, and a concert by 90 Degrees West after the fireworks. Admission: $6-$12. Zephyr Field, 6000 Airline Drive, Metairie, 504.734.5155.
Fourth of July in Kenner: The Treasure Chest Casino and the City of Kenner present a fireworks show over Lake Pontchartrain at 9 p.m. The show can be viewed from Laketown or from the decks of the Treasure Chest, but patrons must be 21 or older to board the casino. After the fireworks, Unbroken Skies will be playing in the casino's Caribbean Showroom until 1 a.m. Admission: Free. Treasure Chest Casino, 5050 Williams Blvd., Kenner, 504.443.8000.
Independence Day at Boomtown: Food and drink will be available for purchase as crowds gather to watch a fireworks show, at 10:30 p.m., from the Boomtown Casino's parking lot. Boomers Nightclub will be presenting Jeff Cryer's Tribute to Motown, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., but patrons must be 21 or older to enter the casino. Admission: Free. Boomtown Casino and Hotel, 4132 Peters Road, Harvey, 504.366.7711.
Fourth of July on the Lake: The City of Mandeville hosts a holiday celebration with the lakefront open to picnicking (an activity normally prohibited), 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Glass bottles and charcoal grills are banned; only propane grills are allowed. Rick Sampson and Four Unplugged will perform, starting at 5 p.m. Fireworks will be launched from a barge in Lake Pontchartrain at 9 p.m. The Old Mandeville Business Association will be selling food, and the Mandeville ART Collaborative organization will be selling refreshments. Admission: Free. Mandeville Lakefront, Lakeshore Drive and Coffee Street, Mandeville, 985.624.3147.
Madisonville Old-Fashioned 4th of July Celebration: The community celebration, starting at 2 p.m., features a parade through downtown (participants should arrive at the Maritime Museum by 1:30 p.m.), veterans activities, games and contests, a beauty pageant, food, and fireworks over the Tchefuncte River at dusk (about 8:45 p.m.). Picnic baskets and coolers OK. Admission: Free. Madisonville Riverfront, Water Street at Louisiana 22, Madisonville, 985.237.1688.
Family Fun Fest: American Legion Post 185 and the Ladies Auxiliary host a Fourth of July party with food and drink, music, a water slide, children's games and activities, helicopter tours, and raffles. Applications will be available for new members and transferees. Children younger than 12 must be accompanied by a parent. Admission: Free. American Legion Post 185, 1680 St. Ann Place, Slidell, 985.643.9317.
Slidell Heritage Festival: The 18th annual festival, 4-11 p.m., features music, fireworks (about 9), art, robots, games, food and more. Entertainers for 2015 include The Soulman Live with Mike "Soulman" Baptiste, Amanda Shaw, and The Chee Weez. Admission: $8, free for children 12 or younger with an adult. Heritage Park, 1701 Bayou Lane, Slidell, 415.710.7347.
St. Bernard Salutes America: The annual Independence Day event, 6-10:30 p.m., features food, music by The Jeff Davis Project and At Fault, fireworks (about 9), face painting, a hot dog-eating contest, and more. Admission: Free. Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center, 8245 W. Judge Perez Drive, Chalmette, 504.473.7238.
Fourth of July in Venice: The Lighthouse Lodge hosts a party with food, drinks, crafts, water slides, face painting, airbrush tattoos, children's activities, music by The Remixers, fireworks at dusk, and more, 4:30-8:30 p.m. Admission: Free; food and drinks for sale. Lighthouse Lodge, 42256 Louisiana 23, Venice, 504.534.2522.
Celebrate AmericaL Hammond's Fourth of July party features a parade, pie and costume contests, a jambalaya cook-off, food, music, a silent auction and more, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. A 5K race, at 8:30 a.m. (registration opens at 8:15), precedes the festival. The race starts at Cate Square. Admission: Free, but 5K registration is $20.Downtown Hammond, SW Railroad Avenue.
Houma Independence Day Celebration: The celebration, 3-9:30 p.m., features music, food, fireworks (at 9), children's activities, and more. There also will be a commemoration at Veterans Park at 11 a.m., and a parade on Main Street at 1 p.m. Admission: Free. Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center, 346 Civic Center Drive, Houma, 985.850.4657.
Let Freedom Ring Festival: The annual Fourth of July festival, 8 a.m.-9 p.m., will feature music, an auction, a military display, children's activities, and a fireworks show (at 9). Sponsors include Veterans of the Vietnam War Inc., the Lorio Foundation, and the City of Thibodaux. Admission: Free. Peltier Park, 151 Peltier Park Drive, Thibodaux, 985.446.5237.
Fourth of July Spectacular: The USS Kidd Veterans Museum hosts an Independence Day celebration with crafts; children's activities; food and drink; a hot dog-eating contest; a pie baking contest; and music by Big River Express, Rosie and the Swingin' Riveters, Quiana Lynell and the Lush Life, and Werewolf, 2-10 p.m. The festival culminates in the "Fireworks on the Mississippi" show at 9 p.m. Earlier in the day, there will be a Passing of the Flag Ceremony (9 a.m.) and a flag demonstration (10 a.m.). Admission: Free. USS Kidd, 305 S. River Road, Baton Rouge, 225.342.1942.
Independence Day Concert: The Baton Rouge Concert Band presents a program of patriotic music on the steps of the Capitol, 7:30 p.m. Presented by the Union Pacific Foundation. Admission: Free. Louisiana State Capitol, 900 N. Third St., Baton Rouge.
Fireworks at L'Auberge: The L'Auberge Casino hosts a family-friendly fireworks viewing party on the lawn, with a Food Truck Roundup selling refreshments, 7-10 p.m. The fireworks are set for 9:30 p.m. Organic Radio performs at the L'Auberge Promenade, 8 p.m.-midnight. There are additional events and specials inside the casino, but patrons must be 21 or older to enter. Admission to lawn: Free.L'Auberge Casino and Hotel, 777 L'Auberge Ave., Baton Rouge, 866.261.7777.
New Iberia Fourth of July Parade: The annual Independence Day celebration, 6-8 p.m., will be followed by an honor guard ceremony and a program of patriotic music. Admission: Free. Bouligny Plaza, 102 W. Main St., New Iberia, 337.344.9397.
Celebration on the Cane: The Fourth of July celebration will feature music by The LaCour Trio and Bluesiana Red, starting at 3:30 p.m., and a fireworks show at 9. Bring lawn chairs and blankets; no ice chests allowed. Entertainment is hosted by Natchitoches Main Street, and the fireworks are courtesy of the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce. Admission: Free. Cane River Green Market, 700 Second St., Natchitoches, 800.259.1714.
Eunice Fourth of July Celebration: One of the state's largest fireworks displays is set for 9 p.m. Eunice Recreation Complex, 461 Sittig St., Eunice, 337.457.7389.
Fireworks on the River: The annual Independence Day celebration features live music, food, and children's activities, starting at 6:30 p.m., with a fireworks show at 9. Ice chests permitted, but no bottles. Admission: Free. Nall Park, 562 Front St., Krotz Springs, 337.566.2322.