Though summer officially made its 2009 debut more than a week ago, nothing encapsulates the season more that the 4th of July. As synonymous as the fourth is with fireworks, it’s also known for another reason to celebrate— sales! Set the tone for a day and night of fourth festivities by starting out on upper Thames Street where you’ll find more than two dozen unique shops and some familiar names as well. Get in the patriotic mood by picking up a CD of American classics at the Music Box (160 Thames Street). Maybe a little bit of blues from The Robert Cray Band or all-American doo-wop courtesy of The Temptations— both appear later this summer at the Newport Yachting Center’s 12th Annual Nantucket Nectars Sunset Music Series. Just a few storefronts down, you can toast New England’s favorite incarnation of red, white and blue with Red Sox and Patriots collectibles at Your Sports Memorabilia Store (170 Thames). Peruse the shop chock full of famed Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins and New York Giants gear and the John Hancock of other sports greats. The sun is supposed to cooperate this weekend (it’s New England- no promises…), and you’ll want to look fine at First, Second, or any of Newport County’s sprawling beaches, so stop into Beach Party (135 Swinburne Row, Brick Market Place) across the street, celebrating its 21st year in business. Mother-daughter team Kathy and Sylvia will help you find the perfect suit for summer with favorite brands including Jantzen, Nautica, Anne Cole and Miraclesuit (insider’s tip: select bikinis are on sale for $29.99, and you can expect a “buy one, second suit half-price” sale the last two weeks of July). If all this shopping has you craving you a cold one, pop on by the outdoor bar at The Barking Crab (151 Swinburne Row) just steps from Beach Party for a locally brewed Newport Storm Summer Ale— you’ve earned it!