The Fourth of July has arrived, and fireworks displays and other Independence Day festivals are scheduled throughout the area not only today, but also on Saturday.

Bangs residents got a jump on the festivities a week ago, holding the third annual Heart of Texas Freedom Celebration on June 28. But this is the holiday weekend, and a host of scheduled activities will be highlighted by the Lake Brownwood Fireworks Spectacular X2 on Saturday night.

This year’s event will feature the traditional fireworks visible from the lake, but there will also be a second, simultaneous show fired from a peak nearby. According to Emily Crawford, director of tourism at the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce, spectators on the land and on the water will have quite an experience.

Another change to this year’s event is the addition of a boat parade and ski exhibition prior to the fireworks show.

“We invite everyone to join us for the ‘most extreme’ fireworks show in Central Texas on Saturday, July Fifth at Feather Bay Subdivision,” Crawford said.

The land-based viewing will be in the same location as last year, just off Highway 2632 at the Feather Bay Subdivision. Admission is $5 per vehicle. There will be two gates for entry and exit this year. Gates will open at 5 p.m. and the show is expected to begin at dark, around 9:15 p.m.

The main entrance, at the intersection of Highway 2632 and FM 3021, will be for the general public. The second entrance, located north of the main gate on Highway 2632, will be reserved for VIPs and property owners.

On Friday the Fourth, the annual fireworks show is planned in Comanche, Flat Rock Park and Mountain View Lodge at Lake Brownwood, as well as in Rising Star.

Comanche’s Family on the Fourth Celebration and Fireworks is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. today at the Comanche High School Indian Stadium. The Comanche Lions Club will sell hot dogs and drinks. Other concession stands will have event T-shirts for sale. A musical celebration will begin at 7 p.m. and this year, Grammy Award-winning Tommy Allsup, whose historical distinction is that he lost the coin toss to Ritchie Valens for the seat on the small airplane Feb. 3, 1959, that crashed and killed Buddy Holly, Valens and others on board.

Also performing on the Comanche County Medical Center Stage will be Liv’s Dancers and other selected artists. At 9:15, there will be a “Military Salute” to all veterans and active duty military on the track and at 9:30 p.m., one of the largest firework shows in the State of Texas gets under way, organized and executed by the Comanche Kiwanis Club.

Flat Rock Park at Lake Brownwood is staging a fireworks show tonight that should last for at least an hour and a half, organizers have said. There will be a $3 admission to the park, and fireworks should start shooting at about 9:15 p.m.

The Mountain View Lodge show at Lake Brownwood, also tonight, is free and open to the public but attendees need to bring their own chairs. A barbecue stand will be open with sandwiches and other items for sale.

The Rising Star annual Freedom Festival, sponsored by the Rising Star Chamber of Commerce, will start at 4 p.m. today at the city park. At 6 p.m., the Freedom Parade will start at the high school. Events will continue at the park following the parade, and at dark a grand finale fireworks display is planned.

The fun, food and fireworks will continue Saturday.

Sandy Beach will stage its fireworks show at “dark-30,” according to Fran McDuff, who said its presentation will be timed to begin at the conclusion of the display from Feather Bay.

“We decided to do so it won’t conflict,” McDuff said.

The fireworks will be set off from the very point of the beach, away from the area where people are camped for the weekend, ensuring their safety.

“That’s important,” McDuff said, “because we’re 100 percent booked with campers.” Sponsors of the Sandy Beach show are Hughie and Jason Gray of Gray Electric of Clyde, Don and Pat Low of Low Trailer Sales in Brownwood, Troy Wall and Friends, and Larry Welch of Welch Brothers Wrecker Service, along with numerous other contributors.

Earlier Saturday afternoon, the American Legion Post 470 and Ladies American Legion Auxiliary of North Lake Brownwood will host a barbecue and dance. Their traditional barbecue brisket, sausage and chicken dinner is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, followed by a dance, 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at the North Lake American Legion Hall, located at Harbor Point. To get there, take Farm-To-Market Road 2273 to County Road 422, and the hall is on the first road to the right.

Dinner tickets are $8 per plate, and $4 for children younger than 12. The hall is smoke-free. Admission to the dance is $5 and no one younger than 18 will be admitted. Adults 21 and older will be allowed to bring their own coolers and alcoholic beverages to the dance.

At the Brownwood Country Club today and Saturday, Brownwood Bank’s 2-Man Scramble will be under way, and a free fireworks display is scheduled at 9:15 p.m. today. An auction of sports memorabilia is also planned. The event is a benefit for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International.