July 4th events

Updated 7/3/2014

Celebrate American independence without pants and/or with fireworks.

Freedom From Pants Ride
Provided

FRIDAY

Freedom From Pants Ride VIII

Join the hundreds of patriotic bicyclists who will exercise their right to show skin in the eighth annual Freedom From Pants Ride, where everybody strips down to their skivvies and rides around Minneapolis for a few hours before heading back to Northeast to view the fireworks. What started as a rag-tag group of about seven or eight people has grown into a popular event, drawing more than 200 people last year, according to Catherine Campion, who was among the first-year riders. “After spending all day with our families, it’s nice to let off a little steam,” she said. Besides, “wearing a bra and underwear is no more scandalous than wearing a bikini.” Riders meet at 6 p.m. Friday at a vacant lot behind the White Castle on Central Avenue and ride out at 7 p.m., figuring out the route as they go. If you miss the start, you may just see the riders going past. Feel free to do as many have before you: Take off your pants and join the ride. (6 p.m. Fri. Free. Starts at E. Hennepin Av. & SE. 7th St., Mpls.) Sheila Regan

 

July 4th fireworks

While muskets, gumption and French imperial interests won American independence, fireworks remain the favorite way to celebrate it. The free world’s freest sky will explode a bit less spectacularly this year, though, as Powderhorn Park’s display is on hiatus. But fret not, relishers of freedom, there’s still plenty to ooh and ahh over, including the “Red, White & Boom” festivities near the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis. (10 p.m., 100 6th Av. SE., Mpls., www.minneapolisparks.org.) Veterans Park (Dusk, 6335 Portland Av. S., Richfield) and Aquila Park (Dusk, 3100 Xylon Av. S., St. Louis Park) bring the boom to suburbanites, while Excelsior’s celebration includes an air show (hopefully beforehand). Millennials and Gen-Xers are welcome to attend the Boomer Blast Fireworks Show (10 p.m.) on the St. Croix River in Stillwater. Jay Boller

 

SATURDAY

Little Mekong Night Market

Inspired by the night markets of Southeast Asian cities, Little Mekong Night Market pops up for four Saturday nights this summer in St. Paul’s Little Mekong business and cultural district. It’s part of a new initiative to activate vacant spaces at night, providing a safe gathering space for the community while highlighting the sights, smells and sounds of Asian culture — from live entertainment to an artisan craft market to authentic Asian cuisine. Saturday features performances by Iny Asian Dance Theater, food from Lao Thai Restaurant, home goods from RedGreen Rivers — which works with artisans from the Mekong region of Southeast Asia — and raw fermented foods from Fierce Ferments. (5-10 p.m. Sat. plus July 26, Aug. 16 & Sept. 6. 400 block of W. University Av., St. Paul. www.littlemekong.com.) Jahna Peloquin