The Mall turns 35; celebrating Independence Day; First Fridays

To put the Downtown Mall’s 35th birthday celebration in perspective, consider this: Fred Savage, who played Kevin in the coming-of-age TV show "The Wonder Years" was born early this month 35 years ago. Celebrate the Mall’s birthday all weekend, with "performances, cake, musicians, games, dancing, a Kid’s Carnival (!)" and more. Sounds like a "Wonder Years" episode. Happy birthday, Mall; happy birthday, Fred Savage.

Included under the banner of that celebration—the Mall one—are Fridays After Five and Finally Fridays, two nearly identical music events that today continue the second week of their peaceful co-existence. Tonight The Main Street Arena hosts the country act Sweetwater, and the Pavilion hosts Southern rockers Down ‘Til Now.

Why leave the mall? Mostly confined between those two venues are today’s First Fridays. Plenty of excitement to be had there: The Garage hosts prints by Jason Kachadourian, which look great; Chroma, McGuffey and most local galleries have new shows up. On your walk, pick up this week’s C-VILLE and flip to the Galleries page for complete listings.

It’s Independence Day Weekend, so remember—wear gloves while shooting off firecrackers (actually, don’t), have a glass of water for every beer you enjoy and apply lots of sunscreen. How to celebrate? The Newsplex hosts fireworks and fun Monday night at McIntire Park, though there’s free parking at Charlottesville High School. Best bang for your buck (it’s free) is up at Monticello, where Muhtar Kent, CEO of America’s most recognizable brand, Coca-Cola, presides over the Naturalization Ceremony, wherein noncitizens become Americans.

Two great, glum Richmond bands play at the Tea Bazaar on Friday night, and I’ll let their darkly enjoyable music speak for itself:

White Laces’ "Motorik Twilight"

Diamond Center’ "Caraway"

What are you up to this weekend?