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Once a week we’ll tell you the upcoming daily celebrations & the articles you may have missed.
The entire country comes together on the Fourth of July to celebrate Independence Day.
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!
National Independence Day Parade
There’s a parade at 11:45 a.m. on Constitution Avenue NW between 7th and 17th streets. There are fife and drum corps, and military servicemen and women marching to the cheers of the crowd.
There are amazing floats and carloads of VIPs waving to the crowds.
See our article with Tips to Enjoying the Independence Day Parade with Your Family. (It’s the wait times before and after that really get you. There’s even an app for your phone that tells you where to find the closest public restroom.)
Great Organ at the National Cathedral in Washington DC
Catch the free Annual Independence Day Organ Concert at the Washington National Cathedral at 11 a.m.
The National Archives & Declaration of Independence
Visit the National Archives, home of the original Declaration of Independence:
- 8 – 9:30 am First 1,000 guests arriving for the Reading Ceremony will receive a special July 4th Celebration T-shirt for FREE.
- 10–11 am Declaration of Independence Reading Ceremony
- 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Inside, kids party like it’s 1776. Meet John and Abigail Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Ned Hector, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington and collect their autographs. There’s a scavenger hunt, story time with stories of the patriotic past.
- 11:45 a.m. Watch the National Independence Day Parade go past.
Free ‘A Capitol Fourth‘ Concert
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.
2019 is hosted once again by John Stamos. Hear Carole King alongside the Broadway cast of her show Beautiful with Vanessa Carlton. There is a 50th anniversary tribute to Sesame Street with all the beloved characters, and a performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture by the National Symphony Orchestra.
The grande finale of the evening is the fireworks over the National Mall.
Looking for a great spot to view the fireworks?
If you’re not attending the “A Capitol Fourth” concert, see this article with 14 Great Spots to Watch the Fourth of July Fireworks in Washington DC from the pros who know, Destination DC.
Other Spectacular Places for the 4th of July
Here are some very unique Independence Day events that you’ll want to visit this year, or put them on your bucket list.
Gatlinburg prides itself on being the country’s first Independence Day Parade every year. Crowds gather the night of July 3 and the parade begins one minute after midnight. (See our tips on Adding Your Glow.)
Stretching more than a mile, the parade route begins at Baskins Creek Bypass on East Parkway, turning south onto Parkway at traffic light #3 and traveling the length of downtown to traffic light #10 at Ski Mountain Road.
Around 80,000 people come every year to see the parade, so make sure you find your spot early. See our Independence Day Parade Tips to make the waiting part of the fun.
Then on July 4th the Pigeon Forge Patriot Festival happens at Patriot Park. All events are free. Picnics are not permitted but there are many wonderful vendors. At 2 pm the Kids Karnival starts with family friendly activities and games. At 4 pm is Free Fallin’, A Tribute To Tom Petty, and their Veteran’s Tribute. At 8:30 is Marty Stuart.
The grande finale – you guessed it – a massive 20 minute fireworks display in downtown Gatlinburg. The best viewing is at the area around traffic lights #3 and #5.
Southport, North Carolina
One of the country’s oldest celebrations started more than 200 years ago in Southport. They first celebrated the nation’s independence in 1792 as the “Festival of Free Men”. 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.
11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. is the Shine & Show classic cars at Waterfront Park Area. At 2 pm is the Freedom Flotilla with types of boats, especially sailboats.
Parade begins at 11:00 a.m. and features Miss North Carolina’s first appearance.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers 911 Never Forget Memorial Mobile Exhibit will be open for tours during the festival.
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:
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 with music, a poker walk, food drive, youth volleyball tournament and the Wapsi Warrior Challenge.
Then on July 4th, the community gathers downtown at 9 am for the Independence Day Parade.
At 10:45 the festivities begin at the Riverwalk Parks with the reading of the Declaration of Independence. There’s a Kid’s Funzone and lots of music all day.
The day ends with fireworks over the Wapsipinicon River.
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.
It is on July 13th, 2019
The festival transforms main street with vendors, food, live music and entertainers on 3 different stages throughout the day.
There is a kid’s parade at 2 pm, and a FREE kids zone and crafts from 3 – 7 pm.
Fireworks are at 9:30 pm. For more information visit their website.
Liberty will be showing off its patriotic colors July 3 from 6 – 10 pm at the Fountain Bluff Sports Complex. There’s a beer garden, live music and FREE activities for kids.
At 7:30 is their veteran’s celebration. A pyro-musical fireworks show is at 10 pm. See their website for more information.
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Once a week we'll tell you the upcoming daily celebrations & the articles you may have missed.