July 4th is a day of picnics, backyard bar-b-ques and, in a few places, fireworks. But the fireworks aren't welcome everywhere this year. Many communities have cancelled them altogether as the intense drought drags on. In Wichita Falls, the city will put on a public display, but new signs installed just the other day warn people that not only is it illegal for you and I to set them off, we can't even have them in our possession! Hey, you've been warned! So, where can you party hearty over the 4th of July weekend this year? Take a look at our top five ideas!

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    Henrietta City Park

    Down the road in Henrietta, the local fire department will, as they have in the past, be on hand at the local park so folks can shoot their own fireworks! Now that’s a good time! But be aware, the drought conditions could extinguish this plan. Be listening and looking for updates on this one. A ‘final’ decision could come as early as June 20th. We’ll keep you posted!

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    Burkburnett - United Friendship Park Amphitheater

    Our friends in Burkburnett also have a big ‘ol party planned too! Live bands, including Jack Damsel, will play at the United Friendship Park Amphitheater from 7 to 10 pm. There will be food vendors there. Coolers are OK, but please, absolutely NO alcohol! From 6 to 9 pm, there will be kids activities at the girls softball complex and, of course, the ‘rockets red glare’ with fireworks at dusk!

    photo by Mike Hendren
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    Army Concert Tour at Fort Sill - Lawton, OK

    Lawton, OK and more specifically Fort Sill have hit country music pay dirt this year! The community and base will kick off the July 4th weekend starting on July 2nd. U.S. Army Entertainment and Fort Sill’s Family & Morale, Welfare and Recreation 2011 Army Concert Tour is on July 2nd at the Fort Sill Polo Field. This years concert features the very lovely Miranda Lambert, the “Okie from Muskogee” Merle Haggard and Stoney LaRue.. The gates open at 6 pm and the show starts at 6:20 pm. Tickets are available at Stripes stores in Lawton, Duncan, Altus and Wichita Falls, Crutcher’s Western Wear and Mega Cleaners - or online at outhousetickets.com.  Immediately after the concert, the 77th Army Band will play the “1812 Overture” while the fireworks fly! . Then, on Monday, July 4th, the public is welcome to come to Fort Sill as Uncle Sam leads the troops on a march to McNair Hall!

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    "4th In The Falls" At the MPEC

    Plans have changed for the “4th In The Falls” celebration. City officials met this week and decided the drought and risk of wildfires was simply too severe to risk an aerial fireworks show. Wichita County Commissioners have taken the additional step of outright banning the sale and use of fireworks in the unincorporated areas of the county. So, the City of Wichita Falls has decided to postpone the festivities. The concert, activities, fireworks, the whole nine yards, will take place at the MPEC on September 3rd.

    photo by Aaron Galloway
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    Your Own Backyard

    One thing’s for sure, there is no celebration that can compare to the family get together! Friends, neighbors, and family getting together in backyards all over North Texas and Southern Oklahoma for cookouts, fellowship and most importantly, to remember why we have this holiday in the first place: because Thomas Jefferson drafted a document, signed by 56 men, that was, in effect, their death warrant; our nations Declaration of Independence. It took guts, to say the least, to tell King George that we no longer wanted to be ‘the colonies’. We’ve lasted far, far longer than any of those 56 signers could ever have imagined. Please remember that while your eating your hotdogs and hamburgers on July 4th.

    If you do plan on hosting your own Fourth of July festivities this year,  just remember that Fireworks are not allowed within the Wichita Falls city limits. Possession alone carries a hefty fine, not to mention the extreme fire danger that we face, and have already experienced,  this year with an extremely dry season and heavy winds.

    Have fun, but be careful!

    Sean Gallup/Getty Images