We hold these truths to be self-evident: Kicking it how you want to kick it over this holiday weekend is your inalienable right, and if you want your weekend inflected by ways of art, history, music or whatever, well, there shall be choices abundant. That's how we broke down the following events, which run between July 3 and 5 or thereabouts and are low-to-no-cost and family-friendly.
July 4: Summers aren't complete around here without fireworks, the "1812 Overture" and the Colorado Springs Philharmonic in Memorial Park, an almost-annual fixture since 1973. Patriotic tunes start at 7:30 (and the fireworks at dusk), but come at noon for family activities and vendors. Free. Memorial Park, 1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave., bit.ly/1e48bGB.
July 4: The Green Box Arts Festival, the annual week-long event in Green Mountain Falls, kicks off with a performance from Kyle Dillingham & Horseshoe Road. Enjoy the band's "heartland acoustic" set at 7:30. (Dillingham will play a solo set the following morning.) Come early to scope out the art installations that now dot the town, including "Four Orbits" by Charles O. Perry and "Back to Kansas" by Spencer Finch. Return later for dance performances from the renowned KEIGWIN + COMPANY. Free. Green Box Workshop, 6990 Lake St., Green Mountain Falls, greenboxarts.com.
July 5: Tradition continues as the Philharm heads west and joins the Ute Pass Symphony Guild for more red-white-and-blue sounds, as well as music from the American songbook. Kickoff is 5:30. Free. Woodland Park Middle School, 600 E. Kelly Road, Woodland Park, symphonyabovetheclouds.org.
July 3: It's First Friday, and you can find a full rundown of participating galleries with information on shows and other activities here.
July 3-5: For its 11th year, the Pikes Peak Art & Music Festival is shaking things up. "This is a re-thought festival," says Pikes Peak Arts Council director Nora Hardin via email. The fest will be entirely fenced in, so sangria and Bristol beer can be bought and quaffed while patrons peruse jury-vetted art vendors; get information from a variety of community organizations; and enjoy live music. Entrance for kids 16 and under is free, and adults can purchase a weekend wristband for just $5. America the Beautiful Park, 126 Cimino Drive, pikespeakartfest.com.
July 3-4: The U.S. Independence Day Grand Prix track cycling competition will bring competitors from all over the world, along with two-time Olympic silver medalist and seven-time world champion Sarah Hammer. Races start at 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day and cost $10 for adults, and $5 for kids under 12 (available at the gate). Olympic Training Center Velodrome, 250 S. Union Blvd., bit.ly/1eHQwW9.
July 4: See how people lived back in the day with tours of Rock Ledge Ranch's historic grounds and the Orchard House. Historical figures will be on hand, including General Palmer, Teddy Roosevelt and Katharine Lee Bates. Hands-on activities, watermelon-seed-spitting competitions and a carnival round out the mix. Entry runs $4 to $8 per person with discounts for active military with ID. Kids under 6 are free. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, 3105 Gateway Road, bit.ly/1LCu23b.
July 3-4: Honor the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War with a two-day celebration in the Tri-Lakes area. A 7 p.m. barn dance on the 3rd starts the festivities, which continue the next day with an early morning fun run, pancake breakfast and street fair, followed by a parade and music festival in downtown Monument. Free. trilakes4thofjuly.com.
July 4: Probably the only way to truly beat the heat, this high-altitude celebration in Cripple Creek promises food vendors, a beer garden and opportunities to see the sights and play specials at the casinos. Apparently an annual tradition dating back to 1900, this one bills itself as "fun and relaxing." Festivities start at noon, with fireworks scheduled for approximately 9:30 p.m. Free. City Park, located at First Street between Masonic and Bennett avenues, Cripple Creek, bit.ly/1LvdbCm.
July 4: Downtown Manitou Springs, roughly 9 p.m.: on.fb.me/1KdobUK.