Monday, June 28, 2010

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Hamburgers

Ah, the 4th of July—a proud celebration of our independence from the tyranny of British rule. But perhaps more importantly, it’s a chance to celebrate our freedom from heinous British food. So stand up, fellow Americans! Say “no!” to mushy peas and claim your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of hamburgers!

This Independence Day, Austin is offering plenty of opportunities to take advantage of some of our nation’s most patriotic dishes—hamburgers, hot dogs, and good ol’ Texas BBQ. And of course it wouldn't be America's birthday without plenty of raucous music and ambitious fireworks displays.

Freedom isn’t free, but here’s some stuff that is:
  • Free burgers and hot dogs at Ego’s first ever Fourth of July Water and Fireworks Party. Just make sure you wait 30 minutes before getting back in the kiddie pool.
  • Free red, white, and blueberry milkshakes from Mighty Fine Burgers between 2pm and 6pm on July 4 at all three Austin locations.
  • Free BBQ samples at the second annual Brew-B-Que at Buda City Park from 11am to 11pm on July 4. Admission to the event is $15, but you get to judge the Back Yard BBQ contest, which will include such Austin BBQ legends as The County Line and Artz Rib House.
  • Free concert and fireworks show from the Austin Symphony outside the Long Center on Auditorium Shores. If you bring your dog, make sure to cover his ears before the Texas National Guard Salute Battery fires their Howitzer cannons during the 1812 Overture. The Austin Symphony Orchestra will begin performing at 8:30 p.m. and the fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m., ending at 10:00 p.m. Make sure you get there early because it gets crazy packed. Also, be sure to disguise your alcohol well because it's not allowed.
  • Free concert and 4th of July celebration at Seaholm Power Plant, benefiting Anthropos Arts, a non-profit that aims to enhance music education in Austin. My favorite Austin band, T Bird and the Breaks, is headlining. If you see T Bird and you are able to refrain from dancing, you probably don't have a pulse. The event starts at 4pm with plenty of libations, BBQ, and Tex Mex and lasts until the fireworks are done.
Meat-free, but not dollars-free:
  • Can you still be considered a true red-blooded American without stuffing yourself full of red meat? You bet your buns you can! If you so chews, show off your iron stomach at “The Final Bun-tier: Fourth Annual Veggie Hot Dog Eating Contest.” This July 4 event runs from 1pm to 4pm at The Tiniest Bar in Texas. Sign up to enter here. If you don’t want to compete, $5 gets you a Tofurky dog, free Nada Moo ice cream, and some truly tasty entertainment.
Pricey, but worth it:
  • Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic is a decades-old tradition in Texas, and this year it will take place at the newly renovated Backyard at Bee Cave. Tickets are $55 each, but in addition to seeing The Man himself perform, you'll get an earful of 22 other musical acts, including Asleep at the Wheel and Los Lonely Boys. Doors at 11am, show at noon.
Happy birthday, America!

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