As the Fourth of July approaches, Independence Day celebrations will be taking place throughout the United States. This year will be no different for McAllen and Edinburg as they will both celebrate the 4th of July in their own way.

The City of Edinburg will celebrate Independence Day with the 4th Annual Texas Cook ‘Em High Steaks. The festivities will take place on Saturday at the Edinburg Municipal Park located on 714 Raul Longoria. The event is free to the public and will feature live music and concerts all day; parking will be $10 per vehicle. Michael Salgado, La Sombra Reunion and Texas Heat, and other local bands will play throughout the day’s events. Children will be able to enjoy the day with a Fun Kids Area that will have free children’s activities including face painting, dance contest and pony rides.

The Texas Cook ‘Em High Steaks competition, Edinburg’s largest cook-off will take place and will feature categories in steak, chicken, ribs and brisket. Over $15,000 in prize money will be awarded.

The celebration will end with a grand fireworks display at 9:15 p.m. Families are encouraged to bring blankets, lawn chairs to enjoy the day’s festivities.

The City of McAllen will celebrate with the 81st annual celebration filled with family fun, music and a fireworks show that has made this a successful celebration every year.

The festivities will begin with the Patriotic program and parade at 8:30 a.m. that will begin at Jackson and Main Street in downtown McAllen and will end at Archer Park. This year’s parade theme is “Saluting Everyday Heroes.” The keynote address will be given by James A. McNair, American Legion Department of Texas Commander. Richard Krauss, superintendent of recreation for the city of McAllen said they kicked off the McFun 2009 Superhero Summer Recreation Programs and they wanted to keep the same theme for Independence Day.

“We are saluting all heroes — a soldier, a family member, a member of the community,” he said. “A lot of people are every day heroes and we will honor and recognize them.”

The parade will feature dignitaries, a number of floats, antique cars, and marching groups. Krauss said they are expecting an estimated crowd of 25,000 to attend. Following the parade, Archer Park will have food, refreshment booths, games, arts and crafts and music for visitors to enjoy. Deborah Case Dance Studio will perform. In the afternoon, a Kiddie Carnival will begin from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Municipal Park.

Other activities include the 31st Annual Aquafest Water Show that will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Municipal Swimming Pool. Gus & Goldie will make a special appearance and swimming contest, splash contests and other audience participation games will take place.

“We are planning many audience participation swimming games that will allow the whole family to enjoy the day,” Krauss said.

The festivities will continue with at Archer Park with live music with a Town Band Performance. They will perform several patriotic songs before Mayor Richard Cortezaddresses the crowd.

The “Concert in the Sky” will end the 4th of July celebration beginning at 9 p.m. “The fireworks display is coordinated with music,” Krauss said. Onlookers will be able to enjoy the 30-minute show choreographed with patriotic music. The music for the firework concert will be broadcast on 107.9 KVLY, Mix FM.