Whether it’s the Macy’s fireworks extravaganza in New York City, a small town parade, or a backyard BBQ, July 4th is all about the red, white and blue. These unique July 4th celebrations around the country offer something a little different for your celebration. Check them out. You may want to book a trip to one of these for 2020!
Get a Jump on the Celebration in Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Nestled in the lovely Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg, Tennessee lays claim to being the first Independence Day celebration of the year. How do they do it? They start the July 4th parade at midnight. Paying tribute to the brave men and women of the military, a hundred thousand people stay up to enjoy this late-night event. Marching bands, floats and balloons parade through the streets and kick-off the big USA birthday bash. This year’s Grand Marshal for the Midnight Parade is Kellie Jolly Harper, head coach of the Lady Volunteers basketball team from the University of Tennessee. www.gatlinburg.com/event
The Queen Mary joins in the Celebration in Long Beach, California
July 4th may be all about celebrating our independence from England but on the British-built Queen Mary in Long Beach, California all is forgiven. This year Cunard Line’s namesake Queen Elizabeth will greet the Queen Mary in the harbor for a “Royal Rendezvous” marking the third time the sister ships have reunited since 1967.
Experience a red, white, and blue celebration on board the Queen Mary with live entertainment, family-friendly games, arts & crafts and special historic tours of the ship. It’s all topped off with a fireworks spectacular against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. www.queenmary.com
Join America’s Small Town Fourth of July City, Seward, Nebraska
Designated by Congress as “America’s Small Town 4th of July City”, Seward, Nebraska has hosted an old-fashioned family celebration every July 4th since 1868. Located 20 minutes west of the capital city of Lincoln in the Blue River Valley, Seward is home to about 6,000 people. But on the 4th of July, the town is filled with upwards of 40,000 visitors who arrive to witness parades, track and field events, parachutists, a wild west shootout, and much more like the annual apple pie eating and bubblegum contests. There’s also a walking tour of “Small Town USA.” This year the celebration includes the dedication of the new National Guard Museum. What’s really cool about the events is that most of them are planned and carried out by the youth of the community. If you’re looking for a small town Americana experience, Seward is the place. www.julyfourthseward.com
Watch the Big Bay Boom in San Diego, California
San Diego is all about the Navy with bases on Coronado Island as well as in the city proper. It would stand to reason that a city with a big military presence would need to do July 4th in a big way – and San Diego does not disappoint. Coronado hosts events throughout the day including a two-hour parade, a concert in Spreckels Park and fireworks over Glorietta Bay.
The sky lights up even more at the epic 20-minute Big Bay Boom fireworks display over San Diego Bay. The largest display of its kind in the region, Big Bay Boom attracts more than 850,000 visitors to San Diego’s waterfront. Fireworks are launched simultaneously from four barges placed around the bay and choreographed to music broadcast live on the local radio station. The Big Bay Boom fireworks display is so large that it can be seen throughout downtown San Diego, neighboring Coronado, Point Loma, and many communities throughout the city. Great viewing spots are all along the bayfront or aboard a harbor cruise. www.sandiego.org/explore/events
Wherever and however you celebrate, we wish you a Happy 4th of July!