Celebrate! Best Independence Day Traditions
By: Rosanna Scott
Do you love a big birthday party? If so, then join the fun this 4th of July as more than 280 million celebrate America’s birthday. The goal of many will be to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of their own backyard party. Most Americans agree that they enjoy spending the day with family and friends. So whether you’re planning to celebrate with five or 500, here are some trusted traditions to make your birthday bash a success.
Hometown parades and festivals are a popular start to the day. “It’s an opportunity to relax and celebrate our freedom with family, friends and neighbors,” says Joyce Reiff, mother of two in Savannah, Georgia.“Everyone is happy, waving flags and enjoying the sounds and sights.” Gathering the candy thrown from the floats is always a favorite with the kids.
Picnics and barbeques bring people together. With a menu of watermelon, corn on the cob, hamburgers or hot dogs, apple pie and ice cream you have the recipe for success—get grilling and picnic recipe ideas in our Summer Guide. Make sure you can enjoy the party too. Keep the menu simple and ask the guests to prepare side dishes to lessen the load and add creativity. For the kids, you may want to try some summer crafts and printables.
Fun in the Sun
Whether your boating, swimming, fishing, surfing or just lying in the sand – a day spent on the water can be a great way to lull away the hours. And, to accommodate your family’s desire for food, many public beaches have built in barbeques. Just don’t forget to pack your sunblock and other sun safety items along with the barbeque sauce. Sophie J. Balk, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Environmental Health says, "There is really no such thing as a safe tan - all tans cause skin damage." And, if you’re going swimming, get tips on choosing the right venue, making it safe and having fun.
Red, White and Boom
In Boston, New York City, Washington D.C. and cities around the nation, fireworks are a grand finale to the day. “After a day spent pool side, our family walks together to a nearby park to watch the fireworks,” says Jennie Rose, soon-to-be mom in Minneapolis, Minnesota. “Recognizing our nation’s independence is a great way for our family to end the day!”
A Day Away
Taking a mini-vacation over the holiday is appealing to many families. “We spend the weekend camping,” says Cindy Cech, mother of four in Vaughnsville, Ohio. “We spend time swimming, playing and enjoying campfire food. It’s a time for us to get away and celebrate our family.” Find out how to choose the right campsite, plus get craft and game ideas in our Camping Guide.
Whether you’re planning a getaway for this summer or planning for a future vacation, consider these patriotic points to educate and entertain your family.
- Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia: Stroll the streets of an 18th century town come to life. Visit with historical actors and learn first hand how a diverse group of people came together to form the United States of America. On the 4th of July, historical actors read the Declaration of Independence, perform the fifes and drums and display colonial style fireworks in a special ceremony.
- Washington, D.C.: Discover must-see historical treasures and world-class attractions such as memorials, monuments and museums. Specially designed programs and tours will guide you and your family through the nation’s capital.
- On the 4th of July, set against the background of some of the nation’s most prominent monuments, the red, white and blue carpet is rolled out with parades, tributes, concerts and more. The day ends with spectacular fireworks on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capital.
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: It’s here in the City of Brotherly Love that you’ll find the Liberty Bell - one of America’s most prominent symbols of independence. Visit on the 4th of July and experience concerts, programs and patriotic presentations.