Your community's 4th of July

Just curious on what others experience on this day. Despite being grumpy that I can’t set off my own fireworks this year (ok, really I don’t want to burn down the neighborhood in this drought) I think my town does a pretty good job. We’re a suburb of Indy and this holiday always reminds me of the fact that we are still a small town in Indiana (and I love that).

We have a parade starting in about an hour. There will be marching bands from some of the surrounding areas… probably the Indy Police Motorcycle drill team, some church groups, a couple of big fire trucks, some third shift TV weather people and such, several politicians, Cub Scout troupes with their bikes decorated in streamers, and probably some area car clubs driving their Corvettes or Jags. All of which will be throwing candy to the kids, who if they have any experience will bring their bags to fill up will loot (my kids used to bring home three full bags of mostly candy, a few pencils, maybe a mini Frisbee or two, and some flyers for a local gymnastics class). People stake out spots along the route the night before… I drove by last night and the entire street was lined with folding chairs and blankets.

Starting yesterday evening we have a mini fair with music running on a few stages. The main one is the gazebo by the courthouse where people will put out blankets and spend the day. Typical fair food… corn dogs, roasted corn on the cob, elephant ears, Italian sausage, some really bad pizza, and some really good (Bella’s). Civil War re-enactors have a camp set up. The Blue Monkey Sideshow will perform on one of the outer stages (typical “freak” acts… tons of fun). There is an area with games for the kids… bouncy houses, bungie trampolines, ring tosses, those types of things. My teens spent several hours there yesterday and probably will again today, and my wife and I will probably join them today. It is the place to go if you are a kid or have kids (and everyone else who likes to have fun)… very social, very safe, and very well run.

Finally, there is the fireworks display. We always leave the festival early so we can get home in time to blow our own stuff up… which won’t happen this year, and haul our chairs, a cooler, and a boom box to the grassy area along with several dozen of our neighbors to get a great view and not have to fight the traffic to get home.

So, how about you… what does your community do for the 4th? (obviously geared to US dopers).

My hometown, where I actually live, has a week-long festival around the Fourth that has lots of activities, a musical, an appearance by the Harrisburg Symphony, and all kinds of other things. And fireworks on the Fourth.

This year, I’m in Philly with my family. They’ve got a concert with acts I’ve actually heard of and might want to see, and what is supposed to be an awesome fireworks show. I’m really excited about it.

Hey, Spud, I didn’t see this when I started my Happy Fourth thread. There are fireworks displays all over the SF Bay Area today, including a big one in San Francisco. We’re driving up north to have a BBQ with family.

Happy Fourth!

The big one around here is at the Washington Monument. :smiley: Some of the smaller ones have been cancelled this year due to the power problems after the storm.

We like watching from this side of the river, which usually grants a better view and is not as crowded. Last time we tried watching from the Air Force Memorial and could hardly see a damn thing because the damp weather and lack of air movement kept all the smoke in one place. It was like watching very colorful cloud-to-cloud lightning!

We’ll probably watch A Capitol Fourth on PBS tonight.

I don’t live anywhere near a town, but the surrounding communities have parades, a regional fair, and fireworks. We were planning to drive to a local church parking lot which provides a good view of one town’s fireworks, but it’s too damn hot to go anywhere. We’ll stay home and feed the chickens watermelon for our Independence Day entertainment.

nothing here. in order to deflect claims of being unpatriotic they are referring to today as July 3 1/2. tomorrow is the 5th.

There was a neighborhood parade today, with refreshments and a raffle afterwards.

Last night was horrible, though, and tonight will be worse. Fireworks are illegal here but of course there are idiots everywhere setting them off, shooting bottle rockets, firing guns, and exploding sticks of dynamite.

Boston. It’s kind of a big deal.

I was flying on a commercial airliner once, at night, and saw a thunderstorm about 20 miles away. The clouds were lighting up from the inside. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

In our city, Topeka, Kansas, there are several neighborhood parades. In the afternoon and evening there is a small festival, with arts and crafts and such, out at the lake, followed, after dark, by a concert and big fireworks display.

Because of parking issues at the lake there is an excellent shuttle service from the closest mall. So it’s easy to get to and from the activities.

DC. Rather than braving the madness on the mall, I watched the big display from a local neighborhood park with a decent enough view. It was fun- a very diverse and neighborhoody crowd, and it seemed to bridge some of the divides that gentrification brings in to a community. Everyone, from hipsters to families, likes fireworks.

I was surprised by how many illegal fireworks were being set off. There were large airborne fireworks everywhere, for hours and hours, in dense areas with old houses. In CA, they do a pretty good job of keeping tabs on illegal fireworks, but in DC there seems to be minimal enforcement.

My city usually has a festival and fireworks on the 2nd, but everything was canceled this year because of the power outage. They’re considering rescheduling it for Labor Day.

I can only speak for my tiny corner of California, but there have been illegal fireworks going off in my 'hood all week. I just heard what sounded like a M80 going off, followed by a string of small firecrackers. I hope these people have all their fingers tomorrow.

I think it depends on what you’re shooting off, and if anyone complains about it. If you’ve just got firecrackers and the occasional M80 in the street, they probably don’t care. If you’re shooting stuff into the sky that can land in a patch of dry grass, they care a lot. Police and firefighters don’t have time to deal with the piddly stuff; they prefer to save their time for the serious stuff.

This is what I had to deal with last night. I skipped the concerts in favor of the fireworks, which were spectacular. But the crowds and idiotic behavior were a bit much to deal with. I think I’m going to watch big fireworks displays on TV next year.

My small neighborhood goes a little crazy for 4th of July. They have a 5K, neighborhood softball tournament and a carnival on the days leading up to the 4th, and then a parade (complete with a lot of the streets pitching in to make floats) and fireworks on the actual 4th of July.

I was part of the festivities! We have a 5k run that starts at 8 in the morning, followed by a baby parade, a regular parade, fireworks in the evening, and a blood drive that goes on all day. Since I volunteer with the fire department, I got to ride on the fire engine and wave to everybody (during the parade)!

We can’t buy firecrackers in this area, because they are dangerous and somebody might get hurt. So all my neighbors shoot off their guns. At least, I think I heard more gunshots than usual right around the fourth.

My little town has the usual - parade, a beer & brats tent downtown, flags, bunting, etc. But the one thing that sets us apart - or maybe marks us as part of the Melting Pot concept - is the guy who plays Uncle Sam each year.

Ernst was born in what is now Poland, but it might have been Germany at one point. He was a German soldier during WW2 - not sure if he volunteered or was conscripted, though. He was captured, and shipped to a POW camp in mid-Michigan, and spent the duration of the war there. After, for whatever reason, he elected to stay here in the States. Maybe his family was wiped out, or his town was bombed flat, or he didn’t want to go back to a place that was under the thumbs of the Russians. Regardless… he started a business and a family here, and from what I can see, did well. I know his daughter and son-in-law, and I’ve met Ernst a couple of times. He seems to love being the living example of the US every year.

They had a crappy parade and I mean crappy, because if there’s one thing my town can’t do it’s have a parade with bands and floats. All you get are trucks from businesses driven down the road. After about 15 vehicles the parade is done. That was it. No outdoor flames allowed due to the drought. You can however chase the fire trucks to the latest cigarette caused wild fire.

Various neighborhoods have local parades and block parties. Our neighborhood doesn’t, but the city had a parade and there are fireworks at the fairgrounds. We just set off a bunch in the street in front of our house. Several other neighbors did, too.

We live in a bedroom community that happens to have the biggest fireworks show in the county; in several counties around, in fact. Even though the show is less than a mile from our house, geography prevents us from walking and trees prevent us from rubbernecking… and the traffic is intolerable. So we’ve been driving ten miles north to a small town that puts on a very respectable show over its football field. We can sit literally on the sidelines and watch the show directly above us.