July 4th around the Country
July 4th, 1776. The Declaration of Independence, a document announcing our independence from England had just been signed by 56 courageous men. Afterwards, they all headed over to Thomas Jefferson's for a big party. They patted each other on the back around the grill, tossed back a couple of cold ales and threw the old football around. Meanwhile that crazy nut John Hancock nearly burned his wig off lighting firecrackers.
Well, not quite.
Even though the Declaration had been signed, things were far from settled. The Revolutionary War was still going on, and wouldn’t end for another seven years. Fourth of July celebrations didn't become a “thing” until after the War of 1812, and ever since it's been the United States' favorite summer party.
There are numerous Independence Day celebrations around the country each year, from small town parades to over-the-top festivities. If you’re interested in doing some summer sight-seeing, here are some of the more famous annual events around the country, along with some ideas on how you can have the same party at home.
The World-Famous Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest. An annual 4th event for 42 years, thousands flock to Coney Island to watch the contest in person. Why let Nathan have all the fun though? Hold your own hot dog eating contest. Invite your friends and family, make up some rules, and have the cameras and antacid at the ready.
Music City, USA. Nashville, Tennessee boasts that they have one of the most incredible fireworks show in the country. They also have free live music—this year the headliner is Martina McBride. The home version: crank up the country music at your cookout. Serve ‘Stand by Your Man Burgers’ and ‘Deviled Eggs that Went Down To Georgia.’ If you want a taste of the real thing, Nashville's music and fireworks show will be streamed live on their website.
National Tom Sawyer Days. You have to admit, nothing sounds more like good, clean, wholesome American fun like a frog-jumping contest in Hannibal, Missouri. Other activities during this 3 day event include the National Fence Painting Contest, a Tom and Becky contest, as well as fireworks. For your own home version, party like it's 1876! Take a picnic lunch out to your favorite watering hole and go fishing and swimming. Make sure before you go to read—or re-read—The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Or watch one of the numerous movies that have been made. Or, for a special treat, listen to an old time radio version.
Niagara Falls. Is the cheesy “Honeymoon Capital of the World” really on this list? Why not!--there is a firework and light show every night, and 20 minutes away at Old Fort Niagara re-enactors recreate the French and Indian War July 3rd to July 5th. If you want to try it at home, throw a wet and wild outdoor party during the day. Fill the squirt guns and water balloons. Play water hose limbo and jump rope. Then later, focus on a little romance. Watch Marilyn Monroe in Niagara, or spend the evening listening to a recording of the Falls.
Whether you decide to make a cross-country trek or stay at home this 4th, remember to stay safe and wear sunscreen.
Happy Independence Day!