The Fourth of July is just days away. Maybe you have plans to get away and celebrate the most patriotic holiday of the year in a really big way. Most of us, however, will likely take in the activities of the Fourth right in our own hometown. There are some activities that go with Independence Day like a hand goes in a glove. How will you spend your Fourth?
Fireworks: Fireworks displays will be happening all over the nation on the Fourth of July, including in a town near you! Some of the larger, more infamous fireworks spectaculars occur, of course, in America’s biggest cities. Philadelphia, Boston, New York, New Orleans, Chicago and San Francisco all proudly boast some pretty epic fireworks displays for the Fourth; finding which fireworks display you want to attend might be one of the hardest decisions you make.
Blockbuster Movies: Fourth of July and the weekend following it are a traditional time for big blockbuster movie releases, this year being no exception. Some very exciting new movies will be out for your viewing pleasure over the Fourth of July holiday. Look for “Despicable Me 2”, and “The Lone Ranger” for starters.
Museums: Many museums will have open hours on the Fourth of July so if you are lucky enough to live near one, this may be a great time to take in a little Early American history. For example (and my personal fave) the National Museum of American History is open daily and it is filled with all sorts of interesting things such as Dorothy’s Ruby slippers, a piece of Plymouth Rock, a signed baseball from the 1937 All-Star baseball game, a Kermit the Frog puppet–and the list goes on. You may have a cool museum close to your own home that’s also filled with amazing things from the past; don’t miss out on this chance to see a slice of life from another time and place–it’s magical!
Block Party or Barbecue: The Fourth of July is a great time to get the entire neighborhood together for a big Fourth of July celebration. Reconnect with your friends and neighbors with a big patriotic barbecue. Grill up all your favorites and bring all the accoutrements potluck style. Invite a little extra fun into your event and bring out a little bit of your competitive side by conducting a homemade chili contest or a watermelon or hot dog eating contest.
Parades: Many communities have Fourth of July parades and if yours is one of them, you will not want to miss it, as it’s an excellent way to get into a festive and patriotic mood in a hurry. Bring small American Flags to wave while you are on the parade route and don’t forget to dress in your red, white and blue or most patriotic gear.
Display The American Flag: One of the easiest ways to celebrate the Fourth of July is to hang up an American Flag. Take a crash course in flag etiquette, however, as the American Flag must always be handled with appropriate care and respect. Learn the basics of how to hang the flag properly. Never let the flag touch the ground and if it rains or when it gets dark, take the flag inside.
Concerts: Many communities will hold outdoor concerts on the Fourth of July featuring patriotic music or music from a wide variety of other genres. Check your community calendar for upcoming special events for the Fourth and get out and enjoy some great music under the stars.
Patriotic Events and Reenactments: Some communities will have reenactments from the time surrounding the signing of the Declaration of Independence or other important historical events. You may see characterizations of various important historical figures such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. More likely than not, good ol’ Uncle Sam will be out and about on the Fourth of July, too. If you are feeling especially patriotic, this may be the perfect chance for you to adopt one of these unique personas for yourself–they are perfect for any parade or Fourth of July celebration!
Baseball: What’s more American than baseball? There are whole bunches of major league baseball games scheduled on or around the Fourth of July, so if you want to really get into one of the most All-American activities of all time, spend your Fourth at the ballpark. Don’t forget to buy yourself some peanuts and Cracker Jacks!
Family Time: For many of us, myself included, the Fourth of July is about family time. What family traditions do you have that center around this amazing patriotic holiday? My family tradition is to make homemade ice cream. (Yes, in the ice cream freezer with rock salt, lots of ice and all the naughty ingredients!) It’s a fun family tradition that has stuck–in the most delicious possible way. The important thing is to have fun and make memories that you will have for a lifetime.
Whatever you do to celebrate your Independence Day, take a moment to remember our brave founding fathers that set the groundwork for freedom and bravely fought for the liberties we enjoy in our lives today. As American’s, we all have much to appreciate and to be grateful for.