Fourth of July fireworks, celebrations

Published 2:20 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2019

For 244 years, the Fourth of July continues to be one of America’s most cherished holidays. The traditions and celebrations surrounding the day have carried on and continued to expand every year. From the history of the signing of the Declaration of Independence to food statistics, it’s understandable if not everyone knows everything about July 4. Here are just a few facts around one of America’s favorite holidays.

The Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually signed on July 4 or even in the month of July at all. So, if you want to impress your family and friends, you can tell them that on July 4 we celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, not the actual signing. The document was signed by John Hancock and Secretary Charles Thomson to be given to military officers and other political committees as well as the other 54 men on Aug. 2.

Famed historian David McCullough actually wrote, “No such scene, with all delegates present, ever occurred at Philadelphia.” July 4 is the day the Declaration was formally dated, finalized and adopted by the Continental Congress, which had officially voted for independence on July 2.

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Fourth of July celebrations weren’t much different than how we celebrate today. In 1776, after hearing the words of the Declaration of Independence, military personnel and civilians in the Bowling Green section of Manhattan tore down a statue of King George III and later melted it into bullets. The King’s coat of arms was used as kindling for a bonfire in Philadelphia.

The July 8, 1777 issue of the Virginia Gazette describes the July 4 celebration in Philadelphia as, “The evening was closed with ringing bells, and at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks, which began and concluded with thirteen rockets on the commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated. Everything was conducted with the greatest order and decorum, and the face of joy and gladness was universal.”

The state of Massachusetts was the first state to recognize Independence Day as a holiday. Massachusetts recognized the official holiday on July 3, 1781 and it was the first state to do so. It was not until June 28, 1879 that Congress decided to start designating federal holidays, with the first four being New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The oldest annual Fourth of July celebration continues to be held in Bristol, Rhode Island. It was 85 years before the Fourth of July was even recognized as a federal holiday, one tradition began that continues to this day. The celebration is actually named “America’s Oldest Fourth of July Celebration,” and has been celebrating Independence Day since 1785.

The celebrations began just two years after the Revolutionary War ended, and 2019 will be its 234th celebration. The town of 23,000 residents begins to celebrate the United States on Flag Day, which is June 14 and celebrates through July 4.

According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, there are around 15,000 Independence Day fireworks celebrations every year. Though pricing varies, most small towns will spend anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000 for a fireworks display. Larger cities will go into the millions to pay for fireworks shows. The Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular averages more than $2 million each year.

Approximately 150 million hot dogs will be consumed on the Fourth of July. That number is reported from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend around $6.7 billion on food and drinks this Independence Day. This includes food and other cookout expenses and averages out to about $73 per person participating in a barbecue, outdoor picnic or cookout.

Locally, there are several locations hosting celebrations to help the community truly experience the Fourth of July.

Hometown Celebration will be held on the Courthouse Square in downtown Pineville on July 3. The schedule includes a golf cart parade with a $100 prize at 6 p.m. and vendors open on the square. The Sandlot will play at Bell Theater at 7 p.m. Street dance will be held at 9 p.m. and fireworks will begin at 10 p.m.

On July 4, there will be an all-day pool party at Pineville City Pool that will feature free admission, pool competitions with prizes, hot dogs, music and the Lil Miss Firecracker competition. The first 100 people will receive a free water bottle.

The City of Middlesboro is hosting a fireworks celebration beginning at dusk on July 4 along U.S. 25E. In case of inclement weather, the fireworks will be held on July 6 in conjunction with the inaugural veteran’s event “Vietnam Welcome Home” in downtown Middlesboro.

Norris Lake will be fireworks celebration central as celebrations begin on July 3 and continue through July 6 at several marina’s across the lake. You can enjoy live entertainment, fireworks, karaoke, food, drinks and much more.

• July 3 – Fireworks at Beach Island Marina at Dark;

• July 4 – Fireworks at Cedar Grove Marina;

• July 5 – Fireworks at Shanghai Resort – Point 10;

• July 6 – Fireworks at Deerfield Resort.

Wherever and however you celebrate this Fourth of July, have a safe and happy one. From everyone here at the Middlesboro Daily News, we hope you celebrate safely and enjoy your 2019 Independence Day.