The Fourth of July is America's best holiday.
The Fourth is parades and red, white and blue bunting draped from everything that will hold it.
The Fourth is picnics and bands and hot dogs. But, most of all, the Fourth is fireworks.
Who can deny the uniquely American pleasure of consuming a hot dog and a cold drink, basking in a rocket's red glare while bombs are bursting in air?
These are the nearby places on the Pacific Rim where you can do just that:
* The city of Burbank plans its annual Fourth of July Celebration at the Starlight Bowl, 1246 Lockheed View Drive, featuring the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, the Danbury Band and children's entertainers Bobbo and Kookee. Gates open for picnicking at 6 p.m., with entertainment starting at 7. The annual fireworks show begins about 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 for box seats, $7 to $10 for reserved seats, $5 for seniors and children 12 and younger, $5 for space on the grass. Call (818) 953-9572.
* The Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce's 20th annual Fourth of July extravaganza starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Pierce College Stadium, 6201 Winnetka Ave. Scheduled entertainment includes country-Western music by the Doo Wah Riders, the Rock Around the Clock show with Bobby Cochran and the Rhythm Rockers, the Great American Dancers, the Li-Ning Gymnastics Team and the Ted Barba Skydivers.
The fireworks display begins about 9:20 p.m. Also, KZLA-FM broadcasts live from the stadium with D.J. Shawn Parr as master of ceremonies. Entertainment includes games, prizes and refreshments. Tickets are $9 in advance, or $12 at the gate; for children or seniors, $7 advance and $10 at the gate. Parking on campus will be an additional $5. Call the chamber's Fourth of July hot line, (818) 703-7859.
* Six Flags Magic Mountain's Fourth of July Weekend fireworks show, "Celebrate America," begins at 9:30 p.m. each night from July 1 to 4 with lasers and special-effects displays at the Mystic Lake section of the park. Following that, patriotic music and fireworks will be visible all over the park. Magic Mountain's regular fireworks display, Batman Nights Fireworks and Laser Extravaganza, resume July 5 and run nightly through Sept. 5.
The park is located on Magic Mountain Parkway, Golden State Freeway near Valencia, and also features more than 100 rides, shows and attractions. Admission is $29 general, $15 children under 4 feet tall, $18 people 55 and older, free for children 2 and younger, $5 parking. Call (818) 367-5965 or (805) 255-4111.
* The Hollywood Bowl's 22nd annual Fourth of July Fireworks show, "America the Beautiful," starts at 7:30 p.m. July 2, 3 and 4, and features the Broadway and screen star Patti LuPone with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in a tribute to songwriter Irving Berlin. Sousa marches, including Stars and Stripes Forever, accompany the fireworks finale. Tickets are $3 to $55. Parking near the bowl is expensive ($9 to $12) and very limited. Concert-goers can park for free in lots on Ventura or Barham boulevards and take a shuttle bus to the bowl for $2 round-trip or take the Bowlbus from stops in Sherman Oaks or Canoga Park for $4 round-trip. Call (213) 850-2000.
* Pop recording artists The Captain and Tennille headline the 16th annual Fourth of July Extravaganza at the North Campus of Cal State Northridge, sponsored by Chatsworth, Granada Hills and Northridge chambers of commerce. Other entertainment includes the country band Gary Hartman & the Weed in the Road Gang and the New Age artists The Freeway Philharmonic. Activities also include games and kiddie rides along with roaming clowns and street performers. Entertainment starts at 4:30 p.m. The fireworks show begins promptly at 9. Tickets are $12 general, $7 children and seniors. Parking is $3. Call (818) 341-2428.
* The Conejo Recreation and Park District has a varied program of Fourth of July events planned at various locations throughout the day. The day starts with a free morning nature walk at 7 a.m. in Wildwood Park and an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. in the Borchard Community Center, 190 Reino Road, Newbury Park. The breakfast is $3 general and $2 seniors and children.
A home run derby at 8:30 a.m. in Borchard Park ($2) will be followed by a home run derby for seniors at 9 a.m. at the Conejo Community Center, Dover and Hendrix avenues ($2). (In a home run derby, each batter takes a swing at a baseball and tries to hit the ball as far as possible. There is no baserunning and only home runs count as scores.)
Pools at the Thousand Oaks High School, 2323 N. Moorpark Road, and Newbury Park High School, 456 N. Reino Road, will open from noon to 4 p.m. for a free family swim.
A free holiday concert featuring the Conejo Concert Band starts at 5 p.m. in Conejo Community Park. And the fireworks show, from behind The Oaks shopping mall, starts at 9 p.m. KNJO-FM will broadcast music to accompany the pyrotechnic display. Call (805) 499-4355.