Fourth of July, Santa Fe Style | - June 28, 2012

"Festivities kick off at the 37th Annual Pancakes on the Plaza, sponsored by United Way, from 7 a.m. to noon"

As America's oldest capital city, Santa Fe knows how to celebrate the country's birthday in style. From an old-fashioned, community pancake breakfast on the Plaza to a fireworks show that lights up the sky, the city fires things up for the nation's patriotic party on the Fourth of July.

Festivities kick off at the 37th Annual Pancakes on the Plaza, sponsored by United Way, from 7 a.m. to noon. The pancake lines may be long, but you'll be entertained by live music, dance and other performances on the Plaza Bandstand. There's also a Silent Auction (in a tent on the west side of The Plaza), an Arts and Crafts Show on Palace and Lincoln avenues and a Car Show on Lincoln Avenue featuring cool and vintage cars.

This is the place to catch up with old friends, meet new ones, wear your patriotic t-shirt and feast on a breakfast of homemade pancakes with bacon or sausage, orange juice and coffee. After more than 30 years, it's a Santa Fe tradition. Click here for more info.

The fun continues from 10 a.m., to noon at Regal Santa Fe Stadium 14, when Regal Cinema and Blu 102.9 host the Summer Movie Express, a $1 movie series that runs throughout the summer at 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The Fourth of July features screenings of "The Adventures of Tin Tin" and "Puss in Boots" and admission is just $1.

There's a party aboard the Santa Fe Southern Railway's  Fourth of July BBQ and Fireworks Train, which makes a run out to Lamy for a catered barbecue dinner and live music.  On the return trip, the train stops so that passengers can admire Santa Fe's fireworks show, which begins around dusk. Click here for more info.

The brilliant display of fireworks is shot from the campus of Santa Fe High, where crowds gather to enjoy the show. But you can watch from other spots around the city, too.  Then it's on to local clubs for some live music and dancing, including The Cowgirl, where, from 8 to 11 p.m., the Colorado Springs-based five-piece band Broken Spoke will play a range of acoustic folk and roots music as well as Americana, with songs influenced by Johnny Cash, Steve Earle and Wilco.The gig is free.

If you'd prefer to escape the reveling crowds and noisy fireworks, head out to the Santa Fe Opera for a performance of Puccini's "Tosca" at 8: 30 p.m. and watch the drama unfold onstage as you relax beneath the stars.

Or take in a flamenco show by the famed Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company at 8 p.m. at The Lodge at Santa Fe. Celebrating their fifth anniversary summer season, the group performs one of the world's best-loved dance and music forms with a contemporary take.

For more Fourth of July events, check the calendar.

However you spend your Fourth of July, be sure it's a safe one. Wildfires are burning all around us, and the region is incredibly dry. Please don't light any fireworks, and if you grill, take precautions, especially if conditions are windy. Have a Happy Fourth of July!