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Firing up July 4 celebrations with a mouse

If you're looking for something to do on Independence Day, the Internet can be your path to Old Glory, apple pies, barbecues and fireworks.

    If you're looking for something to do on Independence Day, the Internet can be your path to Old Glory, apple pies, barbecues and fireworks.

    While many Americans may plan to spend their Fourth of July as far as possible from a computer, a trip down the information superhighway may save a little time and provide some valuable tips.

    A good place to start for Independence Day information is with the portal sites and city guides. Yahoo, for instance, has put together a 4th of July page that includes links to travel information, Independence Day Web sites and cookout ideas. In addition to local events, CitySearch has put together a list of patriotic movies and an interactive quiz to test your patriotic knowledge.

    Netscape's entertainment guide has a list of local celebrations in nearly 60 cities and metropolitan areas.

    If you are looking to do your celebrating out of town, a number of sites can help you plan your trip. SmarTraveler, for instance, offers real-time traffic advisories and road conditions for 15 metropolitan areas nationwide. Rand McNally provides road construction reports for highways in all 50 states. And MapQuest offers point-to-point directions anywhere in the nation.

    Once you've found the perfect place to celebrate the Fourth, you'll probably want to plan your celebration. AltaVista offers tips on the "perfect hamburger," the "right beer" and the Independence Day dress code.

    Because nothing is more American than apple pie, the Go Network has a ranked list of apple pie recipes from sites across the Web. And you can email invitations to friends and family and monitor their responses via Evite.com.

    If you still aren't sure what might make for good Independence Day fare, Webvan and HomeGrocer.com offer ready-made shopping lists and recipes for such favorites as fried chicken. Last-minute shoppers can also turn to online convenience stores such as Kozmo.com and Urbanfetch.com.

    If you want to express your independence and set off some fireworks of your own, Dimock's Pyro Page has a list of online fireworks stores and catalogs--and government regulations concerning their sale.

    And if you get a chance to break away from the holiday fervor, you can read what started it all at the Declaration of Independence site maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration.