1. Fort Worth's Fourth
The nice thing about this Fourth fest along the Trinity River in Fort Worth is all the freebies — including admission, water shows, tubing and fun stuff for the kids, such as pony rides, face painting, zip lines and bounce houses. Poo Live Crew and Downtown Fever, along with local winners of a battle of the bands will perform. Gates open at 2 p.m., the F-16 flyover is at 8 p.m., and the fireworks are scheduled to start at 10 p.m. Parking is $10-$20. If you want the VIP experience, passes which include parking will cost you $50-$60 at fortworthfourth.com. The festival will be at Panther Island Pavilion, 395 Purcey St., Fort Worth.
2. Lone Stars & Stripes Fireworks Celebration
If you can't cram enough fireworks shows into your weekend, pencil in this event Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie will have fireworks set to music each night along with horse racing for the adults and activities such as bounce houses and a petting zoo for the kids. General admission is $3-$5, and parking is $10-$20. Members of the military will get free general admission. The gates open at 3 p.m. and the first race is at 5 p.m. each day. The racetrack is at 1000 Lone Star Parkway, Grand Prairie. 972-263-7223; www.lonestarpark.com.
3. M.A.D.E. Festival
For the fifth year, Stage West Theatre will host this indoor community festival dedicated to music, arts, drinks and eats — the definition behind M.A.D.E. Local artists will show their wares, from pottery and tapestries to horned frog art and stained glass. Add live music, craft beer samples (from Martin House and Collective Brewing, among others) and food samples (Stir Crazy Baked Goods, Panther City BBQ, Gus's Fried Chicken and more) to the mix and you've got air-conditioned heaven. It's noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is pay-what-you-can (suggested $10 per person) with all proceeds benefiting Stage West. The theater is at 821 W. Vickery Blvd., Fort Worth. 817-784-9378; stagewest.org
4. 8th annual Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Competition
Every other day of the year, Curly's is known for its cool, creamy frozen custard, but on the Fourth of July, it goes to the hot dogs. The timed contest will have three divisions: junior — 10 and younger; youth — 11 to 15 years old; and grand masters — 17 and older. Winners get gift cards, trophies and VIP Rangers tickets. Registration will be 10-11:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 4. The competition starts at noon. Get more details at www.curlysfrozencustard.com. Curly's Frozen Custard is at 4017 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, 817-763-8700.
5. Viridian Stars & Stripes Spectacular
This master plan community built around Lake Viridian in Arlington will have its Fourth of July celebration beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday with rock climbing, zip lining and adult bounce houses. Kids get their own fun, too, including a giant slide. Food trucks will include In-N-Out Burger, Cousins Maine Lobster and Pokey O's. Live music will be by Shotgun Rider, the Shane Bell Band and 7th Row 2nd Seat. The fireworks show is scheduled to begin at 9:40 p.m. Lawn chairs and blankets are recommended. Set your GPS for 1001 Viridian Park Lane, Arlington.
6. Josh Ward
This bearded Houston native, who has spent years paying his dues at rodeos and clubs around Texas, recently scored a featured song on the Netflix series "The Ranch," starring Debra Winger and Sam Elliott. This event in the Fort Worth Stockyards will put him on par with some of the biggest names in country music. It's a recording session for his own entry in the "Live at Billy Bob's" series. Tickets are $12 general admission, $18 reserved seating. Doors open early, at 6 p.m., but the show starts at 10:30 p.m. Friday. Billy Bob's is at 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth. 817-624-7117; billybobstexas.com
7. Levitt weekend concerts
This funky little summer music series in downtown Arlington can withstand the heat if you can. This weekend it features North Texas faves the O's on Friday, West Texas singer Radney Foster on Saturday and Paul Thorn and the Blind Boys of Alabama on Sunday. The concerts start at 8 p.m. each night. It's first come, first served lawn seating. Bring along lawn chairs or blankets, coolers and picnic baskets. Concessions include beer and wine. The Levitt Pavilion in Founders Plaza is at 100 W. Abram St. Street parking is usually available nearby. The Levitt will host Arlington's Fourth of July celebration, featuring fireworks, the Roomsounds and the Chris Watson Band, on July 3. For more details, call 817-543-4301 or visit levittpavilionarlington.org.
8. Lone Star Murder Mystery
"Fallen Angel" is for people who like a meal with their Wild West murder mystery. Billy Bob's 81 Club gets the turn-of-the-century treatment and the audience gets dinner theater with a buffet and a chance to figure out "who done it" in Lagniappe Productions' comedic performance that features bank robbery, blackmail and flying "bullets." Doors open at 7, and the show will begin at 8 p.m. Saturday. The show runs through Aug. 25. Tickets are $60. The club is at 2520 Rodeo Plaza, Fort Worth. 817-624-7117; billybobstexas.com
9. 2018 Tour de Fort Worth
How much do you love your bike? Enough to ride 21 miles or more for 21 days with only a rest day here and there? The Fit Fort Worth initiative organizes each day's ride for this free community event, including the opening one at 8 a.m. Sunday. It will begin and end at Joe T. Garcia's, 2201 N. Commerce St., Fort Worth. And there'll be food afterward. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price is scheduled to ride. Track your miles during the Tour for prizes. Get a printable waiver and see maps of all the rides, Sunday through July 22, at fitworth.org.
10. ArlingtonCon 2018
The Arlington Public Library's kid-friendly comic "con" has a lot going for it. No. 1: It's free. No. 2: something called "Trek to Tranqueople: A Star Trek Inspired Rock Opera." We're so there. Also on the schedule: cosplay contests for kids and adults, 3D modeling demos, panels and discussions about topics such as origami, women in comics, voice acting and "random fandom." For a schedule, go here. The convention is 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday at the E.H. Hereford University Center at the University of Texas at Arlington. It's at 300 W. First St.