The July 4th Blastoff on the grounds of the Victoria Community Center will launch more than just fireworks this year. The event will kick off #DiscoverParksVictoria, a month of activities planned by Victoria’s Parks and Recreation Department in celebration of National Parks and Recreation month.

“We started in January, my team and I, talking about things to do to add new life to our city and community, and it slowly progressed, and we created this monster event,” said Gabby Anglin, recreation coordinator for the parks and recreation department. “It will be fantastic to ... show them the fun services we have and get them excited about playing outside and seeing the parks of Victoria.”

The free Independence Day event will start at 6 p.m. at the community center with a performance by the John Christopher Way Band. Randall King will play at 8 p.m. followed by fireworks about 9:30 p.m. Food, beer and other beverages will be available for purchase, and beer sales will benefit Warrior’s Weekend. No ice chests are allowed.

July 13, the Discover Victoria Parks Field Day will serve as the signature event with a day full of activities for the whole family in Riverside Park. Trucks will pull up to feed the crowd with their particular specialties, and music will entertain all those in attendance. Crossroads residents can participate in a kickball tournament for $50 per team and $15 pay-at-the-plate, or they can take to the sand for volleyball for $20 per team and $10 pay-at-the net. High school girls, mens, womens and coed 4-on-4 leagues are available for the sand volleyball tournament. For $20 per team or $10 per individual, those skilled in the art throwing washers can square off in a tournament, and ultimate Frisbee golf enthusiasts can play in a free tournament. An adventure race, which Anglin called a dumbed-down version of the CBS reality series “The Amazing Race,” will take participants on a journey through Riverside Park for $20 per team, each comprised of a minimum of two and a maximum of five members. For a more leisurely stroll, the free “I Spy” hike will take curious nature lovers down a trail scattered with items to find and a list to check. Those with kayaks and other boats can float down the river with the Coastal Bend Paddlers.

Victoria Quidditch will host a Crossroads Cup Fantasy Tournament as well. The sport is derived from the one played on broomsticks in the “Harry Potter” book series and movies, and those interested can visit victoriaquidditch.org to learn more.

“We as a nation made it into an actual game played in real life,” Anglin said.

For children, a bounce house, face painting, sack races and Hula Hoops will entertain.

“We have something for everyone that day,” Anglin said. “It’s a family field day for all.”

The Digital Scavenger Hunt will take place over the course of eight days and lead people to explore the parks. An image of a painted rock and a clue about where it is hiding in one of Victoria’s parks will be posted on the parks and recreation Instagram site each day, and the explorer who finds it can post a selfie holding the rock and deliver it to the office to redeem a prize.

“We want people to have fun with it, get creative with the way to take pictures,” Anglin said. “We want them to have some interaction with social media, be proud of Victoria and where they live.”

July 7, Pop-Up Parksicles will keep Crossroads residents cool with 400 free popsicles while they play at Hopkins Park from 5 to 7 p.m. Yard games will include Frisbee, ladder golf and washers, and guests also can play with bubbles and sidewalk chalk.

“This is just an evening to come play at the park and enjoy popsicles,” Anglin said. “That’s the goal, to get them out to the park.”

July 10, the parks and recreation department will partner with AeroCrafters for Trivia Night at 7 p.m., and the questions will be parks and recreation-themed. Winners will take home T-shirts and tickets to see the Generals. All ages are invited to attend but the venue is for ages 21 and older after 10 p.m. The next day, July 11, Crossroads residents can kick up their heels to Tejano, country and rock ‘n’ roll music of Grupo Anaya at the Coors Light Street Dance in DeLeon Plaza in downtown Victoria from 7 to 10 p.m.

Sundae Funday at Ethel Lee Tracy Park will mirror Pop-Up Parksicles with yard games from 5 to 7 p.m. July 21. However, ice cream and the splash pad, which will be open during the event, will provide the refreshment.

The Parks and Recreation Night with the Generals, 7:05 p.m. July 24, will recognize the city of Victoria staff members responsible for maintaining the parks that provide Crossroads residents with beautiful outdoor environments for fitness, fun, relaxation and community events. The Generals will play the Brazos Valley Bombers. On July 27, a compilation of stories, photographs and videos collected during the month will wrap up the celebration of Victoria’s parks at the Rock the Park Street Dance. No Chance Band will perform a variety of rock, folk and Texas country music, and SA Lights, a Journey tribute band from San Antonio, will follow.

“We will celebrate the month we had as a community coming together,” Anglin said. “We have a fun July and summer, and we hope people take advantage of the cool new events we are programing for them.”

Elena Anita Watts covers arts, culture and entertainment for the Victoria Advocate.

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"I'm glad to be reporting on the events that bring people in my hometown together for fun, culture, camaraderie and good causes."

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