07/04/2012 07:14 am ET Updated Sep 03, 2012

Summer Festivals Offer Thrills Gratis (PHOTOS)

You've been planning this July 4th since well before Memorial Day -- the barbecue, the fireworks, maybe a community parade -- but what about the rest of the summer?

There are plenty of free festivals and events taking place across the country this July and August that are well worth a spot on your busy social calendar. We may not have been able to include every event we found (here's to you, Grainger County Tomato Festival), but we tried to pick a mix of unique fests in popular summer destinations.

From the country's oldest free Shakespeare festival to a Jerry Garcia tribute day, from rock concerts on the beach to movies under the stars, mark your calendars for the best free summer entertainment the U.S. has to offer.