Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, a day for family and fireworks. While many people travel for the holiday, there is plenty of fun to be had here at home.
“Williamsburg is a natural location to hold outstanding July 4th events, drawing guests from all over the state and from out of town,” said Adam Steely, of Williamsburg’s Economic Development Authority chairman .
From hot air balloons to kettle corn and historical reenactments, there’s something fun for everyone throughout the Historic Triangle.
Bill Schermerhorn, creative director for signature events at Colonial Williamsburg, said special events are planned throughout the day.
“We look forward to a full day of what I call pomp and pageantry, patriotism and fun,” he said.
There will be a reading of the Declaration of Independence at 9:30 a.m. at the Colonial Capital, followed by a Salute to the States honoring the 13 original colonies at Market Square at 10 a.m.
The festivities will conclude with the Lights of Freedom fireworks display above the Governor’s Palace.
“What I really strove for with the pyrotechnical design team is that they’re not all firing from one place in the sky, but actually on three levels,” Schermerhorn said. “So you have a little more excitement, a little more variety.”
EDA’s All American July 4th
The Williamsburg Economic Development Authority will host a celebration, an All American American July 4th, from noon to 4 p.m. on the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum’s lawn.
There will be tethered hot air balloon rides, an egg toss competition, popcorn and soft drinks for a nickel, a children’s coloring tent and live music from Uncle Jake and the 18 Wheel Gang.
“I’d like to see hot air balloons become an annual part of Williamsburg’s July 4th festivities,” Steely said.
Kiwanis Fourth of July Ice Cream Social
The Kiwanis Club of Williamsburg will host a Fourth of July Ice Cream Social Thursday. Gary Ripple, an organizer of the event and club member, said there will be affordably-priced hot dogs, cake, ice cream and free music by the Michael Clark Band.
“I’m excited about the fact that a large number of volunteers will come together to present a family-oriented experience for local people, not tourists, primarily who don’t normally get the opportunity to come to Colonial Williamsburg and enjoy an afternoon like this,” Ripple said.
Proceeds from the event will benefit Latisha's House, Grove Christian Outreach, Literacy for Life and One Child Center for Autism, according to Ripple.
The social will be 4-7 p.m. in the front yard of the Christopher Wren Building, 111 Jamestown Road. Advance tickets are $8 and can be purchased until the end of business Wednesday at any area Chesapeake Bank or through a club member. Tickets will get you admission to the social and $10 worth of food.
“We’re looking forward to a good day, lots of people in town and some fun family activities in Yorktown,” said Kevin Ritchie, event planner for York County tourism and development.
The first activity of the day will be the Yorktown Independence Day 8K and 5K from 8-10 a.m. at Yorktown High School.
Over on Water Street, the annual parade with music from the U.S. Coast Guard Training Center Ceremonial Band steps off at 9 a.m.
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will hold a “Liberty Celebration” from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. There, visitors can enjoy music, interpretive programs, military drills and artillery demonstrations. They will also learn about the challenges that faced our nation’s founders.
Before fireworks, enjoy the “Sounds of Liberty Bell Ringing Ceremony,” which starts at 7 p.m. on the Riverwalk Landing Stage, followed by a live Jazz concert by Connie Ironmonger at 8 p.m.
Finally, the day’s celebration ends with a fireworks display at 9:15 p.m. over the York River.
“It’s a spectacular display over the York River. It’s probably my favorite part of the day,” Ritchie said.
Chippokes Plantation State Park
Kevin Koons, chief ranger of visitor experience, said the park will have programming on the Fourth of July, including a childrens’ fishing tournament, but the most exciting programming will be Saturday and Sunday.
To celebrate its 400th anniversary, the park will hold “Prelude to Yorktown,” and Koons said the park will work with the 7th Virginia Reenactment Militia to recreate battles that occurred on or near the plantation.
“In between the battles, the reenactors will be showcasing their drill, they’ll be showing different weapons demonstrations including the 3-pound canon and flintlock musket,” Koon said.
“Our staff here will also be running programming in period dress.”
Watch fireworks at the world’s most beautiful theme park at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.
Enjoy the show with a view at Busch Gardens’ special all-you-can-eat buffet serving items ranging from steak and ribs to mac and cheese and ice cream bars — or on one of the park’s river cruises. Both options are available online and require an extra ticket.
Heymann can be reached by phone at 757-298-5828 or on Twitter at @HeymannAmelia.