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How Do You Fourth?
We love a good celebration and while nearly every nook and cranny of the United States will be enjoying the country’s birthday this year, nine communities in particular have big plans for America’s 240th.
Whether you are in Washington DC for the 4th of July or you are on the other side of the country, you can count on being able to see the fireworks from the nation’s capitol. A Capitol Fourth concert, hosted by PBS, has been celebrating America’s birthday with a bang for over three decades and this year looks to be just as grand.
It wouldn’t be a birthday party without music and who better to bring the music than Nashville? Music City’s July 4th: Let Freedom Sing concert offers live music from top bands in the country, fun family activities, ice cream serving contests, and an epic fireworks show. The show will be the longest in Nashville’s history, firing more than 30,000 fireworks to the harmony played by the Nashville Symphony.
With its most impressive musical line-up ever, the 28th Annual Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon will be an event to remember. Over 100 musicians including Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Charmaine Neville and the Stone Foxes will be playing across four stages throughout the holiday weekend, making the nation's premier blues festival. Proceeds also go to support the Oregon Food Bank and its mission to end hunger.
Birthdays don’t have to end after only one day and at Turtle Bay in Honolulu, America’s birthday lasts all weekend. From competing in a four to seven mile Da Hui Paddle Race, to chowing down on Kahlua pork at the Eat the Street event, to swinging your hips to live music, to oohing and awing at the fireworks finale, Honolulu locals and guests are sure to have a memorable 4th.
Preston Minnesota is known for its live reenactment of an 1899 Independence Day celebration. Take part in watermelon and pie eating contests, watch an 1860's baseball game between Rochester Roosters and the Lanesboro Excelsiors, listen to political speeches and glee club performances from back in the day, and cheer on kids competeing in three-legged sack races.
Los Angeles, California
Not only is Los Angeles’ Queen Mary ship haunted, on July 4th it becomes a time machine. Between noon and midnight on the 4th, passengers are invited to explore any decade between 1910 and 2010. Each decade features live music, talented actors, dance lessons, games, and authentic cuisine and activities. Whether you find yourself entranced by one decade or are compelled to stroll through the entire previous century, the Queen Mary has everything you need to celebrate America’s birthday, including a show-stopping fireworks display after sunset.
Looking for an event that has something fun for everyone to do, including the family dachshund? Look no further than the Frisco Freedom Fest in Frisco, Texas. Have kids? They will love the Children’s Expo where they can rock climb, bounce around, ride trains, and fly through the air on zip lines as much as they want. Hungry? Check out the Taste of Frisco event or enter the hot dog eating contest. Like dachshunds? Enter your furry friend in the dachshund races, 15 foot races that time how quickly it takes for your pup to run from your friend to you. Don’t want to be left out of the race? Join the Hotter n’ Firecrackers 5k Run. Want to just sit back and relax? Set up shop in front of the community stage where local bands and entertainers will be playing all day.
Did you know that the United States’ flag has changed 27 times since its first creation in 1777? The Twenty-Seven-Flags Independence Day Celebration in Seattle, Washington will be rich in United States’ flag history and will have an insightful demonstration prepared for the holiday. Since the exhibit will only take a short part of the day, plan to see it in the morning, then head to Gas Works Park for Seattle’s traditional 4th of July celebration. Enjoy live entertainment, a beer garden, local food vendors, family activities, and the nation’s fifth largest fireworks display. If the crowds are overwhelming, skip over to the Seattle Children's Museum for delicious art projects and crafts. Then finish the day at Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival, which takes place at the Center for Wooden Boats and watch the fireworks from a comfy spot on the water.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Maybe BBQ isn’t your thing. How about pancakes? That’s what the 4th of July is all about in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Pancakes on the Plaza serves up fluffy flapjacks, bacon, orange juice, and coffee all day long in celebration of the country’s birth along with live music, a car show, art and craft vendors, and of course, fireworks. Proceeds go to benefit local charities helping people in need.
Before diving into the BBQ, squirt-gun fights and fireworks, put your running shoes on and see if there is a 5k in your area. All over the country, Independence Day marathons and races are being held this year. Kingman, Arizona will be hosting a 4 mile Firecracker Frenzy run to honor the fallen firefighters of the July 5, 1973 Doxol Disaster. Looking for a challenge? Newport, Oregon is hosting the 4th of July Celebration Run, a 10k across the trails of Oregon's beautiful coast. Run past beaches, trees, the city, and the Yaquina Bay Bridge. Kids can join in the kids fun run while you are working off that apple pie and ice cream. Speaking of ice cream, a 4th of July Sundae fun run is being will be held in Louisiana. Maneuver a 3.8 mile track while being doused with sundae ingredients. By the time you reach the end, you'll be a walking ice cream sundae, a.k.a. a dream come true.
What are your plans for this year’s Independence Day? Share them with us in the comments section below.