Best 4th of July festivities…if Hurricane Arthur doesn’t ruin it

Fireworks at the nation's capitol

WASHINGTON, July 3, 2014 — It is time to celebrate the birth of our independent country. It is a celebration that every American looks forward to each year, but this year an uninvited guest may ruin the party along the east coast.

Hurricane Arthur became a category 1 hurricane overnight and is expected to become a category 2 by Friday morning according to the Weather Center.

Arthur is expected to pass over the Outer Banks on Friday morning and many of North Carolina activities have already been cancelled.

Areas south of North Carolina should be cleared out before the July 4th celebrations.

Washington D.C. and New York should clear by the time of the fireworks and at this time, the National Mall and Macy’s fireworks displays are still scheduled to take place.

Boston will need to keep an eye on the storm effecting plans.

Fireworks can still happen in the rain but if the organizers believe that people will not come out to see them, they will reschedule.

Here are some of the biggest and best July 4th celebrations from around the country.


Washington D.C.

The nation’s capital is truly a spectacular place to spend Independence Day. It is hard to beat the monuments of the city as a patriotic backdrop for July 4th activities.

The celebration in this city is an all day event. The day begins with D.C.’s Independence day parade which features military bands and dignitaries at noon down Constitution Ave.

The Smithsonian’s annual folklife festival takes place on the mall between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and features music, dance, crafts and demonstrations. This year the theme is: China: Tradition and the Art of Living and Kenya at the Smithsonian.

The National Archives are open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with a re-enactment of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the opportunity to see the actual documents which are at the center of the national celebration.

The celebration ends with A Capitol Fourth Concert on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol from 8:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. This concert is a patriotic tradition and features the national symphony as well as popular artists. The concert is free and open to the public.

After the concert the fireworks are launched over the Washington Monument.


New York

The king of pyrotechnic displays is the Macy’s fireworks.

For many New Yorkers, it just wouldn’t be the 4th of July without the Macy’s show, which was first presented in 1976 to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial.

This year the fireworks will return to the East River. Fireworks will be set off from the Brooklyn Bridge and from the water below on barges.

Some of the best places to view the fireworks this year are:

  • The Brooklyn Heights Promenade
  • The elevated section of the FDR Drive in lower Manhattan by the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park from Pier 1 to 6
  • The South Street Seaport, where you can also enjoy the USO Show Troupe

The show starts at 9:00 p.m. but in order to grab a good spot one should plan to be in place at 5:00 p.m. Bring a picnic and a blanket for an enjoyable wait.

Another way to celebrate is to head to Coney Island for the day.

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest starts at noon and will be broadcast live on ESPN.

Take a break from sunbathing to enjoy Coney Island’s “sideshows” which include sword swallowers and a bearded lady. The show is 45 minutes long and runs between 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Spend the rest of the daylight hours enjoying Coney Island’s amusement park and boardwalk.

The fireworks start at dusk, around 9:00 p.m.



Freedom Fest at the Navy Pier Rooftop is the place to be in Chicago this July 4th.

Freedom Fest will include a BBQ and a full bar along with a D.J. to keep the whole family entertained while awaiting the fireworks, but this party is not for free. General admission tickets are $52 with many of the specialty packages already sold out.

Some other places to celebrate in the Chicago area with a lower price tag are still an option in the Chicagoland area.

Six Flags Great America will have live bands, live entertainment and dance parties along with the thrilling rides to enjoy the day and of course, fireworks at night.

Brookfield Zoo will celebrate Independence Day with music and entertainment as well as special children’s activities. The event is from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $14.95 for adults.

Cantigny Park in Wheaton will be celebrating with a free festival from noon until 4:00 p.m. The Navy Bang Great Lakes will be performing and there will be activities for all ages including inflatables and crafts.


Los Angeles

There are more festivals and fairs in the Los Angeles area than can even be listed but here are some of the major ones.

The largest fireworks show in Southern California is AmericaFest at the Rose Bowl.

The festival begins at 2 pm outside the stadium in area H. At 7 pm there will be live motorcycle stunts and special entertainment.

The fireworks will start at 9 pm. Tickets are still available for about $17, but you can see the Rose Bowl fireworks from the free concert at Levitt Pavilion’s free concert.

Grand Park in the L.A. convention center will celebrate with a four block long party starting at 4 pm. Parking is $10 but the event is absolutely free.

The fireworks will be set off from the rooftop at 9 pm.

You can watch Steve Martin perform along with Edie Brickell and the Steep Canon Rangers at the Hollywood Bowl on July 4th. As if that is not enough reason to go, the L.A. Philharmonic and the U.S. Air Force Band will be there as well. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets range anywhere from $17 to $266.

Celebrating on the Queen Mary this year will be a great time and a chance to relive the past. Through decade themed entertainment, the celebration will travel from the 1910s through current day. There will be a vintage fair with carnival games, flappers, British invasion bands, and discos.

The party will run from noon until 11 pm on July 4th, with fireworks at 9 pm.

Tickets are required and will cost $45 for adults and $25 for children the day of the event.


If a large celebration is not what you are looking for, almost every community has some local fairs and fireworks. Look at the local government’s homepage for locations of these community events.

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  • Sam Sung

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