Los Angeles Times

Venezia: Happy Fourth, from Newport, H.B., Vegas, beyond

Weekly I receive promotional emails for events and fun happenings from all over.

And this week there were no shortage of suggestions for the July Fourth holiday.

Sorting through them — from the traditional to the odd — I could see something for everyone.


Newport Dunes

Whether you bring a motor home to camp out in for a few days or just for the Fourth, you might consider Newport Dunes. It's one of my top picks.

It offers a full day and night of family fun.

In addition to the amazing fireworks show, this year a concert by KC and the Sunshine Band will be featured from 7:30 to 9:15 p.m.

Daytime family festivities include water activities, kids' attractions and games, and artisan and merchant booths.

A Food Truck War will allow foodies to vote for their favorite truck.

VIP packages range from $150 per person to $200 for a family of four and include special perks, such as VIP seating, parking and dining.

General concert admission tickets are $25 to $50.

The Dunes charges for parking — $50 for cars, $5 for bicycles — if you don't buy one of the VIP packages.

For more information, and to buy purchase tickets, visit http://www.newportdunes.com/event/4th-of-july-newport-beach.


Surf City parade

Of course, as far as Fourth of July parades go, Huntington Beach does it like no other city. The 110th Huntington Beach Parade starts at 10 a.m. and goes until noon.

As you can imagine, it's crazy crowded, so getting there really early to get a decent viewing spot is a good idea.

I see by the site, http://www.hb4thofjuly.org, that the parade has an interesting history.

It started in 1904, when Huntington Beach commemorated the arrival of the first electric passenger train linking the area with Long Beach and Los Angeles.

In 2004 the parade held its centennial celebration, and the city brought the fireworks show back to the beach, moving it from Huntington Beach High School. The show drew more than 150,000 onlookers and continued to grow.

The 2014 fireworks, a 23-minute spectacular with 1,300 rounds of fireworks, 500 of them during the finale in the last 40 seconds of the show, is expected to attract more than 300,000 people, according to the website.


Queen Mary celebration

Another July Fourth promotion that's unique takes place in Long Beach.

"Celebrate an All-American Fourth of July aboard the Queen Mary. Choose your favorite era of Independence to salute or stroll from decade to decade with the entire ship as your playground," touts the website, http://www.queenmary.com/events/july-fourth.

I found this interesting because on the decks and in the salons of the ship, entertainment reflects eras from the 1910s to the 2010s.

For example, in the Britannia Salon, from 1 to 9 p.m., a 1960s "Back to the Beach Bash" featuring Abbey Road Beatles Tribute and an Elvis Presley Tribute is planned.

In the Queens Salon, from noon to 11:30 p.m., the 1970s will come alive with Studio 54 featuring Disco Kings & Special Guests.

The evening culminates in a fireworks extravaganza.

Hotel rates start at $149 per person per night and include festivities.

General admission tickets are $39.99, and the VIP package is $59.99.


Make the Silver State trek

Heading to Las Vegas?

There's nothing like seeing the Vegas strip light up on July Fourth. Fireworks launch from as far south as Mandalay Bay to the Stratosphere.

The recently opened LINQ outdoor mall, which is between the Flamingo and The Quad, will host fireworks for the first time.

The big attraction here is the new High Roller Ferris wheel. At 550 feet, High Roller is the world's largest Ferris wheel.

Buy a ticket July Fourth for $49.95 per person and get a free drink. Between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. you'll have an amazing view of fireworks from every hotel on the strip. Visit http://www.caesars.com/thelinq/high-roller.html/?promoCode=firework.


P.S., I Fourth you

If you're looking for a quieter Fourth, one of my favorite spots in Palm Springs is the Parker Hotel.

July Fourth rates range from $99 to $429 for a villa. It's a pet-friendly hotel with great ambience, pools and spa.

It's a cool retro hotel with a fascinating pedigree.

The Parker started as California's first Holiday Inn in 1959.

In 1961, Gene Autry bought it to house his baseball team, the California Angels, during spring training, and kept a residence there even as others owned the hotel.

Among them were Merv Griffin, who in 1998 changed the name to Merv Griffin's Resort Hotel and Givenchy Spa.


Bay Area flavor

But the wildest thing to cross my desk this weekend is a suggestion for those heading to San Francisco for the holiday weekend: Drag Me Along Tours.

For $20, drag queen and tour guide Countess Lola Montez, also known as San Francisco resident Rick Shelton, will take you on a historical 2-mile walking tour of the city for 2 1/2 hours.

Yes, there's something for everyone this Fourth of July!

BARBARA VENEZIA, whose column appears Fridays, lives in Newport Beach. She can be reached at bvontv1@gmail.com.

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