Want one last summer weekend adventure? Here are The Sacramento Bee's recommendations for Northern California: Interactive map

The following agencies are closed Friday in observance of Independence Day:

Every Fourth of July animal shelters are inundated with dogs and cats that bolt their homes to flee the boom and flash of fireworks.

Get out the red, white and blue. Here's a list of Fourth of July weekend events to celebrate America's independence.

Almost 40 years after fixing B-26 bombers during the Vietnam War, Cleo Downs was terrified when his neighbors began lighting fireworks in their Elk Grove cul-de-sac.

Placer County law enforcement agencies are ramping up their drunk driving enforcement for the coming holiday weekend with an “Avoid the 7” DUI task force.

You know George Washington and John Hancock as founding fathers. But what about George Washington, successful whiskey distiller? Or John Hancock, fortified wine importer?

Local law enforcement will be out in force over the July 4th weekend to patrol for drunk driving.

What makes one type of fireworks safe for consumers and another a hazard? Is the common sparkler just as dangerous as a Roman candle? You might be surprised.

The prohibition applies to rural areas that are not within the boundaries of an incorporated city or town. It also applies to unincorporated communities such as Penryn, Newcastle, North Auburn, Granite Bay, Meadow Vista, Foresthill, Tahoe City and Kings Beach.

A few changes in the routine promise plenty of holiday fun.

Neighborhood fireworks displays should sizzle – not fizzle. With that in mind, The Sacramento Bee once again assembled a team of flash-and-boom experts to chart points on the axis of spectacle and price.

As imports of illegal fireworks into California increase, fire officials urged Sacramento-area residents Wednesday to only use those certified as “safe and sane” and report “dangerous” fireworks.

The U.S. Forest Service advises people who are attending Fourth of July festivities at Lake Tahoe to keep the following laws and safety information in mind.

Egg hunt, pancake breakfast, live music, clowns, fire department, and arts and crafts. Arrive 30 minutes early. 10 a.m. Carmichael Park. 5750 Grant Ave., Carmichael. Free. 916-485-5322.

To honor their Christian friends at Easter – a celebration of renewal – Muslim leaders in Sacramento will deliver 300 gifts at noon today to the First Covenant Church in Rancho Cordova.

For those who don’t want to sit in a pew to attend Easter Sunday services, there are options along the American River, at Folsom Lake and in the parking lot at the Roseville Galleria.

Vehicle entrance fees go up $3 on Easter Sunday at Sacramento County regional parks.

Retailers rang up a few more sales in the recent holiday shopping season, but at the expense of profit margins. Battered by the recession and stagnant wages, Americans opened their wallets only when there was a deal.

Every year, Erin Huffstetler keeps her Christmas spending below $100 - for a family of four. We look at how she did it last year - for $99.70 - and how she’s already started on Christmas 2014. The fulltime “frugal lifestyle” blogger shares her banking, shopping and thrifting techniques. And actually makes it sound like fun, not a chore.

The future of Sacramento’s downtown, the manner in which the city is governed and the rural landscape of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta – all will be shaped by a variety of decisions and events expected in 2014. Here are some of the key issues expected to play out in Sacramento and the broader region as the new year unfolds.

Before we look ahead to next year, let’s take one last look back at the fiasco that was 2013.

Fenix Drum and Dance Company hosted a celebration of the African American cultural holiday with drumming, lighting of candles, dancing, food and storytelling.

We all know the stereotypical New Year’s Eve partygoer: sparking-wine glass in one hand, noisemaker in mouth, cruising quickly toward a Jan. 1 hangover.

Instead of tossing Christmas trees in the trash, capital-area residents are encouraged to deliver them to designated tree-recycling locations.

The 2013 movie year stacks up better than any since 2009, when "Inglourious Basterds," "The Hurt Locker" "Up in the Air" and "Avatar" were released. This year's films clearly improved on 2012's, especially when you compare the best from both years.

It’s the countdown to 2014 and casino resorts have lined up a particularly enticing array of entertainment and parties.

Christmas spirit comes in home-baked treats.

Christmas Day will be especially star-studded this year in movie theaters.

For Tuesday afternoon’s Christmas pageant at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Sacramento, the key roles in the re-enactment of the Christ child’s birth were taken by performers short on years but long on enthusiasm.

You can opt for a number of menus for New Year’s Eve, including a full three-course dinner (see Page D4) or you can go with a more casual atmosphere and serve lots of appetizer-sized nibbles.

You’re ready to kick off the new year, and you want to do it with a stylishly delicious meal. But you probably don’t have time to master fancy new kitchen skills. Or to shop for a million ingredients.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command keeps an eye to the sky to follow Santa around the world. See where he is this Christmas eve.

More than anyone this Christmas season, Dolph Gotelli can share the meaning of Santa Claus. He understands the secret behind that kindly face and twinkling eyes.

Holiday workers may get a surprise treat.

For Kelly James-Enger, breaking up battles between her two children is a year-round job. But lately, the Downers Grove, Ill., mother has enjoyed a little help from a wide-eyed elf named Michael.

Beyond the filling tucked in a bed of masa, the beloved tamale tempts in a variety of styles, flavors.

Whether the cook on your holiday gift list is interested in reading about family and food in Soviet Russia or the preparation of classic French dishes such as jambon au foin (”leg in hay”), baking pies or making authentic pasta carbonara, this fall has been an excellent season for food and wine books.

Time is running short for holiday preparations, and a quick and easy cookie recipe seems just the ticket.

With all those presents to open, nobody wants to spend Christmas morning in the kitchen. So to keep you with the family, we have some easy dishes to suggest.

Book of Dreams readers have been asked to help purchase a storage shed for donated shoes set to be distributed to those in need.

For those students who can’t make it home for the holidays, the town of Davis can feel pretty lonely around Christmas time. Some senior citizens in Davis might also be missing family as well, and in need of company and a cheery meal.

Not every holiday gift comes from a catalogue or off the retailer’s shelf. From the local craft fair to online Etsy-like websites, there’s no end of homemade gifts to buy. But what if you want something custom - like a hand-stitched quilt, a mid-century coffee table or a pair of agate earrings?

Brick-and-mortar and e-bookstores are crowded with holiday-themed titles. If you’re looking for some stocking-stuffers, consider this sampling.

All-white home decor gets some bling for the season.

Grandmother was right. Save those bows and bags.

The generational aspect of sending holiday cards is not what you'd really expect: Older adults have done away with the ritual -- for a variety of reasons -- while many young people embrace the chance to send cards with baby photos through the mail. Or through e-mail.

The holidays are a great time to pull out the old photos and reminisce, but there’s no need to huddle around a dusty album. There are a variety of ways to get them out in the open by making them part of your holiday decorations.

Neighbors who have hoisted ladders and battled tangled wires now hope total strangers delight in the outcome. Of course, we’re talking about Christmas lighting, which lures us out of our homes to ogle the designs of others.

Gov. Jerry Brown and First Lady Anne Gust-Brown, above, accompanied by their dog Sutter, hang an ornament on the state’s Christmas tree with Angel Valencia-Ceja, 8, of Vallejo, at Thursday night’s lighting ceremony.

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