America shuts down or rather lights up on July 4, its Independence Day. Each city and most small towns celebrate in their own way through parades, and often, with fireworks in the evening. Many yanks take the entire week off and its an excuse to party all week long. If you’re in the states, how will you spend America’s 236th birthday?
New York City and Las Vegas often tops the list for best fireworks showings but other raves include firework displays and celebrations in Lake Tahoe, Ca., Washington DC, Disneyworld, Nashville, Tenn. In DC, Tom Bergeron hosts. Phillip Phillips, Josh Turner and Kool and the Gang perform.
Macy’s does their July 4 Fireworks Spectacular and Boston Pops does their big hurrah with Jennifer Hudson and the Boston Pops. The day after July 4, the festivities continue in many areas around the country.
Philadelphia’s free party runs from June 25 through July 4, making the City of Brotherly Love home to the longest Independence Day party. The Wawa Welcome America celebration (Wawa is a mid-Atlantic chain of stores) includes concerts, festivals, educational exhibits and movies. Fireworks shows are scheduled on Saturday, June 30 and Wednesday, July 4.
The Philly 4th of July Jam and Grand Finale Fireworks will include a concert with The Roots, Queen Latifah and others. It will be followed by fireworks over the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
In Boston, as noted above, the Boston Pops will have an event, sponsored by Liberty Mutual, will draw a half-million spectators who pack Boston’s Charles River Esplanade.
The patriotic program features fireworks that are shot over the Charles River and choreographed to burst as the “1812 Overture” and other bombastic tunes are played by the orchestra. The show, produced by Pyro Spectaculars, “epitomizes the concept of sky art,” says Souza.
In the nation’s capital, there’s a parade featuring marching bands, floats, military units and VIPs with a concert at 9:45 p.m. which includes fireworks being launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool….stunning visually, they light up the sky over the Washington Monument.
In Chicago, Navy Pier sets the stage for fireworks and shows. There’s also a festival in Barrington, a picnic in Plainfield and fireworks in Rockford and Evanston. (all suburbs and surrounding areas of Chicago). The major event, however, is Navy Pier’s show. The pier, built in 1914, extends 3,300 feet along the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan.
In the Pacific Northwest, Seattle’s Family 4th at Lake Union event is where people head for Independence Day celebrations. Funk, blues and soul groups perform during the day and a spectacular 21-minute fireworks show lights up the night. The event’s claim to fame is its high-flying bursts of pyrotechnics: that soar 1,000 feet over Lake Union. Fired from barges, the show includes high aerial shells and ground-level barrages of fountains, comets and 5,000 mini-bursts that take place in the span of seconds.
San Francisco also does a spectacular job with its salute to the holiday with its annual Fireworks Extravaganza. The 30-minute show caps a day that includes hot dogs, picnics in the park, cruises on San Francisco Bay and other festivities. Starting in the afternoon, rock bands kick off and entertain at Pier 39.
In Lake Tahoe, the annual display, which dates to 1981, is fired from barges on the lake and requires the efforts of 12 licensed operators and Pyro Spectaculars crew members to set it all in motion.
If you’re not in a major city in the states, there are many places to take in smaller firework displays in smaller towns throughout the country. Or if you don’t happen to be in a place where fireworks are going off, be sure to attend a local barbecue to toast in America’s 236th birthday.