From Big Cities to Small Town Main Streets, America to Celebrate July 4 in Record Style

John Haughey
By John Haughey
July 3, 2024US News
From Big Cities to Small Town Main Streets, America to Celebrate July 4 in Record Style
The U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument during the Independence Day fireworks display along the National Mall in Washington on July 4, 2023. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Americans are projected to travel in record numbers, spend more than ever, and endure searing temperatures and violent thunderstorms in many areas when they commemorate the nation’s 248th Independence Day on Thursday.

Heat and storms aside, they will, nevertheless, celebrate.

From Boston’s Harborfest to San Diego’s Big Bay Boom, from Seattle’s Seafair to Miami’s Celebration in Peacock Park, on small town Main Streets and in neighborhood backyards between, there will be patriots on parade, grills blazing, music in the air, and fire in the sky on July 4.

The red, white, and blue festivities will range from the traditional, such as Philadelphia’s Fourth of July Jam—“the largest free concert in America”—to the quirky, including “Best Tail Wag” in Bryson Creek, North Carolina.

There will be rodeos—the Cody (Wyoming) Stampede—muskets and cannon in historic reenactments in places like Put-In-Bay, Ohio, a full slate of Major League Baseball games on tap, and, of course barbecues where, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, more than 150 million hot dogs nationwide will be consumed.

But Joey Chestnut won’t be eating any, at least not competitively. For the first time in 19 years, the 16-time champion won’t be woofing down dogs—he ate 62 in 10 minutes in 2023—in the annual July 4 Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York.

Mr. Chestnut was banned from defending his title after signing a sponsorship deal with Impossible Foods, a rival brand that sells plant-based hot dogs.

There should be no such controversy to digest, however, at the July 4 World Famous Key Lime Pie Eating World Championship in Key West, Florida.

WalletHub’s annual ranking of “best and worst places for 4th of July celebrations” cites Los Angeles, New York City, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, as the top five places to enjoy July 4 festivities.

But for a less urban, more Main Street USA perspective, American Flags, Inc., based in West Bay Shore, New York, offers the 20 Best Small Town Fourth of July Celebrations where “quaint and quirky” festivities in Flagstaff, Arizona; Lambertville, New Jersey; Homer, Alaska; Virginia City, Nevada; Bristol, Rhode Island; and Washington, Georgia, are among those highlighted.

More than 11,000 people will officially become Americans on July 4 in 195 naturalization ceremonies between June 28 and July 5 with many symbolically scheduled for July 4, according to the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service.

Citizens will take the oath on July 4 from Misawa Air Base, Japan, to Mesa, Arizona, to Des Moines, Iowa, to Sturbridge, Massachusetts, to Apopka, Florida.

NTD Photo
Fireworks erupt over the Washington Monument during the Independence Day fireworks display along the National Mall in Washington on July 4, 2023. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Record Hitting The Road

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Independence Day Data Center, 87 percent of American consumers plan to celebrate the Fourth of July in 2024 and will spend an average of $90.42 each on food items.

NRF estimates Americans will spend a record $9.4 billion just on food to be eaten on July 4, with 66 percent eating in barbecues and cookouts, 44 percent saying they plan to attend fireworks/community celebrations, 13 percent going to parades, and 12 percent looking forward to getting away from it all for a four-day weekend vacation.

Another 31 percent of NRF respondents said they would buy “patriotic items” to decorate homes or wear on July 4.

The American Pyrotechnics Association projected in late June that Americans would spend $2.4 billion during “fireworks season,” which peaks in the days before July 4, nearly $100 million more than last year.

The average cost of fireworks is down between 5 and 10 percent this year compared to last year, the association said, attributing the decline to lower ocean shipping rates.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, only Massachusetts bans all fireworks use by private citizens, meaning the only legal public fireworks displays must be sanctioned and supervised by state or local officials.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates “more people than ever will be taking to the highways” this July 4th weekend, with 60.6 million traveling by car and 5.74 million flying to destinations.

That’s up from 57.8 million who traveled by car in 2023 and above the pre-pandemic 55.3 million who traveled via car over the July 4th holiday period in 2019, AAA estimates.

“With summer vacations in full swing and the flexibility of remote work, more Americans are taking extended trips around Independence Day,” AAA Senior Vice President Paula Twidale said in a statement. “We anticipate this July 4th week will be the busiest ever.”

The AAA notes that gas prices are slightly lower nationwide this year than last, when the national average was $3.56 a gallon. That average this year was $3,50 a gallon as of June 27, it said.

AccuWeather forecasts“storms for some, hot as a firecracker for others” across much of the Lower 48 states on July 4.

California’s Central Valley will see highs between 100 and 110 degrees. Sacramento, California, projects it could top its July 4 record of 107 degrees.

Southern California, Nevada, and Arizona desert high temperatures could top 115 degrees. Las Vegas could come within a couple degrees of its hottest-ever Independence Day, with temps topping 112 degrees.

AccuWeather also forecasts the South will “bake,” with parts of Texas and Oklahoma set to reach into the low 100s and temperatures in Atlanta expected to reach the mid-90s.

Thunderstorms bulling up the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys could bring late-afternoon and evening relief—but potentially spawn tornadoes—in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, it warns, while storms could disrupt fireworks displays in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and New York City that evening.

From The Epoch Times