Don't wait till the last minute to nail down your plans for next weekend. Here's a heads-up on some can't-miss Independence Day events.

WINSLOW HOMER -- Opens July 3. Through Feb. 20. Oil paintings, watercolors, drawings and prints depicting scenes of Americana by the distinguished artist. National Gallery of Art, East Building, Fourth Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Free. 202-737-4215.

DECLARATION DAYS -- July 3-4, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. A two-day celebration of the nation's 229th birthday featuring children's activities, colonial music and performances. Includes a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence at 10 a.m. on July 4th. National Archives, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free. 202-501-5000.

INDEPENDENCE EVE BASH -- July 3, 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Hiball Events sponsors a party with music from Fighting Gravity and DJ Pat Premier, plus drink specials and more. Clarendon Ballroom, 3185 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. $10. 703-469-2244.

RED, WHITE AND BLUE CELEBRATION -- July 4, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. At the home of the first president: 18th-century music, a wreath laying by the Sons of the American Revolution, a performance by the National Concert Band of America and birthday cake. Mount Vernon, southern end of George Washington Parkway, Mount Vernon. $11, seniors $10.50, children 6-11 $5, 5 and younger free. 703-780-2000.

FOURTH OF JAZZ AND FIREWORKS -- July 4, 2:30-9 p.m. Smooth Jazz 105.9 sponsors a night of jazz, with headliners Pieces of a Dream and a fireworks finale. Six Flags, 13710 Central Ave., Largo. $28.99-$38.99. 301-249-1500.

ANNAPOLIS JULY 4TH PARADE -- July 4 at 6 p.m. An old-fashioned patriotic parade, followed by a concert by the U.S. Naval Academy Band at 8 p.m. and waterfront fireworks at 9:15 p.m. West Street and Amos Garrett Boulevard, Annapolis. Free. 410-263-1183.

7TH ANNUAL PATRIOT CRUISE -- July 4 at 7 p.m. A boat ride on the Cherry Blossom up the Potomac River from Alexandria to the District, ending in time to see the fireworks on the National Mall. Entertainment from Jim Morris and the Big Bamboo Band, and Randy Lee Ashcraft and the Saltwater Cowboys, plus full bar and buffet. Cameron Street Pier, 5 Cameron St., Alexandria. $89. 703-801-3154.

A CAPITOL FOURTH -- July 4 at 8 p.m. The 25th-anniversary concert, broadcast on PBS, features Barry Bostwick, Gloria Estefan and the Beach Boys, plus the National Symphony Orchestra and more, leading up to the fireworks display on the National Mall. West lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Free. 202-467-4600.