Celebrate the Fourth with an Evening at Orchards Park with Kaylee Rutland


This post is compensated by HireInfluence, but all opinions are my own.

The Fourth of July, for me, is all about getting together with people and having fun. I remember Fourths of my childhood, going to see fireworks at home or up in my grandparents’ hometown in Iowa. It was a time when all the cousins got together and in classic 1980s style were largely left to our own devices.

And of course there was the Best Fourth Ever, 15 years ago, when I was working at a newspaper in Massachusetts for the summer. My parents came out and we went to the Esplanade in Boston for the Pops concert and fireworks. Don McLean was the featured performer (“American Pie” plays a part in at least one other childhood Forth memory, with all the cousins piled in the back of a van with no seats singing the song) and it was an amazing experience.

These days the Fourth is a little more low-key. The girl is not a big fan of crowds, loud noises or explosions. We have some people over, shoot off some fireworks that are more about color than noise, and she’s usually in bed before the really loud stuff starts up.

If your family likes the traditional concert and fireworks route for the Fourth, consider heading to Bentonville this year for An Evening at Orchards Park. kaylee rutland

The evening kicks off at 7 p.m. with a concert from 19-year-old contemporary country music singer Kaylee Rutland. A native of Flower Mound, Tex., she got the performing bug in church at age eight when she was given a solo in the Christmas musical.

She says she loves country music because “it’s all about the stories,” and her songs have a genre-crossing feel that will appeal to lovers of lots of different kinds of music and listeners of all ages.

The title song off her 2014 CD “Good Day to Get Gone” is a great summer road trip song.

She’s been named a Country Artist to Watch by Billboard magazine, and while her star is on the rise, she’s also a regular 19-year-old, studying the music business in Nashville and hustling to make her dreams come true. OK, maybe that’s not very normal at 19!

In addition to her concert, there will be a performance by the Arkansas Winds Community Concert Band at 8 p.m. and what’s being billed as the largest fireworks display in Northwest Arkansas at around 9:30. Concessions will be available, or pack a picnic and enjoy an old-fashioned Fourth in Bentonville.

Do you have holiday plans yet? I’d love to know what your family does.

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