Spark It Up

Boom! Bang! Ooh! Ahh! Yes, it's the Fourth of July, the time of year when the corn is knee-high and everyone's a pyromaniac. And there's no shortage of free activities for those low on cash after stocking up on toys like bottle rockets, sparklers, and firecrackers that will be scaring the hell out of the neighborhood dogs for weeks to come.

While apple pie might be the treat that comes to mind for an Independence Day dessert, the Oreo cookie is scheming to change that. The first "Milk's Favorite Jingle" contest will take place at the July 4 America's Birthday Bash at Bayfront Park (301 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami). It appears Oreo is looking to jazz up its jingle -- the one about how well the black-teeth-causing cookie goes with ice-cold milk -- and big "DAWG!" Randy Jackson has been roped into hosting the finale event in LA this September. Groups of two to four people are invited to come out to the park between 4:00 and 8:00 and sing their rendition for contest judge and Latin Grammy winner Jorge Moreno. (Maybe someone could sing about soy milk to support the lactose intolerant community.) For more information, visit www.oreo.com.

But if you're not up for singing in front of a bunch of strangers, you can get down with Akon, Pitbull, and Pretty Ricky, presented by Power 96, or bust out your salsa moves to Miles Peña and King Bongo presented by Salsa 98.3. There will be plenty of activities for the whole family, and you can end the day by watching the fireworks over Biscayne Bay. Admission is free. Call 305-358-7550, or visit www.bayfrontparkmiami.com.

Just up Biscayne Boulevard, Miami's Upper Eastside is hosting its eighth annual Fourth of July Celebration from 4:00 to 9:00 at the American Legion Harvey Seeds Post 29 (6445 NE Seventh Ave., Miami). In addition to the obligatory fireworks, there will be music and rides for the youngsters. Be sure to bring an extra stomach: The Boy Scouts will be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers at 4:30, and the Legion's famous barbecue ribs and chicken dinner begins at 6:45. Admission is free. Call 305-757-5773.

Maybe a relaxing, old-fashioned picnic at the Barnacle Historic State Park (3485 Main Hwy., Coconut Grove) is more your speed. From 11:00 a.m to 3:30 p.m., the whole family can enjoy lawn games, kite-making and knot-tying demonstrations, and live music. Pack your own picnic, or snack on hot dogs, popcorn, and drinks. Admission is one dollar, free for children under six. Call 305-442-6866.

If you plan to spend the holiday on the other end of the causeways, the City of Miami Beach is hosting its own patriotic celebration. The Miami Symphony Orchestra will perform all of the red, white, and blue favorites, and Mayor David Dermer's oration of "A Lincoln Portrait" will welcome the USA's newest citizens following a children's naturalization ceremony. Come out to the beach at 72nd Street (right behind the bandshell) from 7:00 to 9:00 for music and fireworks. Admission is free. Call 305-671-7400, or visit www.miamibeachfl.gov. All events take place Monday, July 4. For more Fourth of July festivities, please visit our online listings.

 
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