The entire country comes together on the Fourth of July to honor the independence of our nation. Here are some pretty spectacular places to celebrate the 4th of July.
Washington DC & Arlington, Virginia
Of course the ultimate Independence Day celebration is in the nation’s capitol. There’s a parade at 11:45 a.m. on Constitution Avenue and 7th Street NW. On the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawn there is “A Capitol Fourth,” a free, 90-minute musical extravaganza – gates open at 3 p.m., and the concert begins at 8 p.m. Catch the free Annual Independence Day Organ Concert at the Washington National Cathedral at 11 a.m. The National Archives, home of the original Declaration of Independence, has family-friendly activities from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., including appearances by Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and other historical figures.
This year marks the 200th birthday of the national anthem. If you want to see something really special this July 4th, head to the National Museum of American History to see the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to pen The Star-Spangled Banner. This summer only the original manuscript of the national anthem is on loan from the Maryland Historical Society and will be displayed with the flag at the museum (on display through July 6).
For more information for this year’s events, visit their website.
Towns with Patriotic Names
Sure, there are some truly spectacular celebrations, but nothing captures true Americana and civic pride like watching a parade in a small town. Here are a few celebrations in towns whose forefathers declared their patriotic spirit with unique city names:
Independence, Iowa: The Fourth of July celebration in Independence is so big it takes two days to fit in all the activities. Things kick off at Riverwalk Parks on July 3, 2013, with music, a poker walk, food drive and warrior challenge. The community gathers downtown July 4 for the 153rd Annual Independence Day Parade. For more info visit their website.
Independence, California: Fireworks will mark the grand finale of a busy day of Fourth of July activities in Independence, California. Things kick off with a raising of the American flag, followed by a pancake breakfast, fun run, craft show, parade, pie social, kids games and barbecue. Independence takes its name from a military outpost established on July 4, 1862. For more info visit their website.
Liberty, North Carolina: Founded in 1889, Liberty, North Carolina, loves to celebrate its name with an annual Liberty July Celebration. Held the first Saturday after Independence Day, the festival transforms main street with vendors, food, live music and entertainers throughout the day. Fireworks are held after dark. For more information visit their website. See also
Liberty, Missouri: Liberty will be showing off its patriotic colors July 3-4, 2013, with a parade, beer garden, live music and classic car cruise in its historic square. Fireworks light up the night sky on July 4 over William Jewell College in Liberty. The city was settled in 1822 and the college founded in 1849. See their website for more information.
Liberty Township, Ohio: Established soon after the founding of the State of Ohio in 1803, it wasn’t until after the Revolutionary War that Liberty Township began seeing its first settlers. Today’s residents of Liberty Township plan to celebrate the Fourth of July with its annual 5K Run for Liberty and a parade. See their website for more information.
Other Spectacular Places for the 4th of July
Other communities coming together to for unique events celebrating their patriotism include:
Gatlinburg, Tennessee, prides itself on being the country’s first Independence Day Parade every year. Crowds gather the night of July 3 and the parade begins right after midnight.
One of the country’s oldest celebrations started more than 200 years ago in Southport, North Carolina. Ships anchored in its harbor would shoot off cannons every Fourth of July. The city continues to celebrate with an old-fashioned festival featuring sack races and a watermelon eating contest.
An old fashioned water fight takes place every year on the Fourth of July in Breckenridge, Colorado.
Residents of Alexandria, Virginia, celebrate Independence Day at the home of our country’s first president, George Washington.
Thomas Jefferson’s home is the site of an annual celebration in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The United States Army 2014 Soldier Show
Okay, so it’s not just on the 4th of July – it’s happening all year long – but it is a wonderful way to celebrate independence and those who defend it. See tour dates for when it’s in your area.
Photo of Iwo Jima statue by Lance Cheung, U.S. Department of Agriculture
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