Let Freedom Ring With Cool Things for Grands and Grandkids to Do

Editor’s Note: These ARE cool things for grands and grandkids to do.

By Maria King

Maria King_GrandMagazineJuly 4th is the quintessential American celebration It has it all; parades, barbecues, lawn games, cold lemonade and of course fireworks. You would be hard pressed to find a better example of a unique American summer event. My July 4th memories are many and wonderful. It seemed like we always had plenty of things to eat and drink and we would no sooner get done lunch and someone was asking to eat dinner. We played great lawn games like horseshoes, bocce and badminton. I loved the games but I always remember that it was dreadfully hot on July 4th and after awhile it was too hot to play any longer. But that meant that everyone got a turn and you had as much fun watching family and friends play as you did playing yourself.

One thing that my very large, loud Italian family always did was play cards. I wondered my entire youth why the men always insisted on playing cards and then within two minutes, they would erupt in yelling and screaming at each other because of a misplayed card or a mistaken pass or fold. When they would play pinochle it was so bad they would even fight with their own partners!(did I mention that the bets were 10 cents?) As a child I was always frightened when someone would suggest cards as I thought, Uh oh, here we go again! It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that the whole point of the game was so they COULD yell. Who knew? For some sick reason, that was when they were having the most fun of all.

So when I think of July 4th, one of my favorite memories is fireworks; both at the card table and in the sky. I have a soft spot for big, noisy, booming things. I guess it’s hereditary. That’s why this week in honor of July 4th I have picked some of my very favorite fireworks shows. They are big and loud and fabulous, just like my family. As always, please use the search box above to find something exceptional in your backyard.  Grab the neighbors, the kids, your “someone special” and the dog (making sure the event is pet friendly of course) and head out to make some lasting memories this week. If you don’t think family outings make an impression on kids, all I can say is I still shudder when someone says, “Who wants to play cards?”

Two Special Mentions This Week: First event on this list is the 150th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. (No it is not my family playing cards again) It is reenacted annually on the anniversary of the battle the first week of July. It is often mistaken, due to this proximity to July 4th on the calendar, as a Revolutionary War battle but it was a Civil War battle. Because this battle is such an important historical event in our history, I included it anyway in this week’s events. If you can get there, I promise it will be well worth the trip.

Second, this week’s photo is courtesy of George, Washington. (not that George Washington, the other one) It features their famous Giant Cherry Pie, decorated by the team known as the Georgettes. It is one of the highlights of this wonderful July 4th hometown event. Thanks for them showing me photos of delicious foods at events, two of my favorite things. And for that, they get a special mention this week!

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Tacoma Freedom Fair and Air Show

Jul 04, 2013

Tacoma’s Waterfront Tacoma, WA98402

Since 1979, features six live entertainment performance areas featuring country, rock, folk, jazz, blues, reggae, Latin, folk, music and dance. Over 100 artists, craft vendors, and commercial exhibitors will join together on the Tacoma waterfront this 4th of July to form a colorful and bustling public market. Over 25 top vendors will be offering up tasty treats from around the world and America, too. The Metro parks Fun Zone will include fun for the entire family including hands on activities and group games that the whole family can enjoy. The Kid’s Art Studio features a spin art section. The Cruz-In Car Show features up to 90 cars and judging will take place throughout the day and the trophy and awards presentation will take place that evening. Plus Dragon Boat races, military displays, rides, kid’s carnival, the airshow will feature thrilling aerobatic performances by top civilian and military pilots and world class jumpers and the Emerald Queen Grand Finale Fireworks Extravaganza at 10pm.
150,000 Attendees

America’s Freedom Festival and Stadium of Fire

Jul 04, 2013

Downtown Provo, UT84604

Join us on July 4 for the Grand Parade – the largest of its kind in the state of Utah – highlighting freedom through bands, professionally crafted floats, giant helium balloons and local and national performers. Entries will be given the unique challenge to promote patriotism among the spectators, through music, displays, dance, and other creative and meaningful expression. The parade will follow the same route that it has in previous years. It begins at 960 N. University Ave. and proceeds south to 100 S. and then turns east to 200 E. From there it turns north to Center St. and then turns east and ends at 900 E. Fireworks show known as Stadium of Fire is held at 8pm at the BYU Lavell Edwards Stadium in front of over 50,000 people.
300,000 Attendees

Big Bay Boom

Jul 04, 2013

Spanish Landing Park San Diego, CA92071

Since 2000. The Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show is back promising another spectacular display over San DiegoBay. Fireworks will be discharged simultaneously from barges placed strategically around the Bay off ShelterIsland, HarborIsland, Embarcadero North, SeaportVillage, Embarcadero South Marina Park, Coronado Ferry Landing and Imperial Beach. Listen to the simulcast on 105.7 The Walrus FM radio. The impeccably choreographed display will last approximately 17 minutes. Come to the waterfront to watch the show and the Port of San Diego strongly encourages carpooling or taking the San Diego Trolley. Stay tuned for more information about free shuttle and parking locations.
850,000 Attendees

Fourth of July Celebration at the PIER

Jul 04, 2013

Pier 39 San Francisco, CA94133

Grab your stars and stripes and celebrate the 4th of July at PIER 39! Witness the skies burst with red, white and blue as PIER 39 celebrates Independence Day! Spend the day rocking out at PIER 39 to the beats of our patriotic entertainment lineup: 2pm: Mobility, The Air Force Band, takes the stage 6pm: Dance to your favorite 80s band, Tainted Love 9:30pm: Look to the sky as The City of San Francisco presents a spectacular fireworks display over San Francisco Bay, followed by a mix of the hottest tracks by DJ Scotty Fox 10pm: Enjoy post-fireworks savings at participating merchants until 11pm 4th of July at PIER 39 is proudly sponsored by Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, Coca-Cola, Verizon, Crystal Geyser ALPINE SPRING WATER and Telemundo 48.
200,000 Attendees

Boston Pops 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular

Jul 04, 2013

Hatch Memorial Shell on the Charles River Esplanade Boston, MA02114

Since 1974, annual 4th of July on the Esplanade with musical entertainment and a spectacular display of fireworks over the river choreographed to an artfully scored musical program.

Red, White and Boom

Jul 03, 2013

Downtown Columbus, OH43215

Since 1981. Featuring a parade, entertainment, sports activities, family fun, food and music. At night come and enjoy the largest fireworks display in Ohio lasting almost a full half hour. The best views will be at BicentennialPark, along Long St., Nationwide Blvd., Washington Blvd. and GenoaPark. Spots will be taken quickly so it will be in your best interest to arrive early.
500,000 Attendees

Baltimore’s Fourth of July Celebration

Jul 04, 2013

Harborplace Amphitheater Baltimore, MD21202

Since 1980, concerts throughout, an antique vehicle rally, street performers and fireworks over the beautiful InnerHarbor area. The celebratory night concludes with a spectacular fireworks display at 9:30pm. The holiday fireworks can be viewed from several locations in downtown and beyond, including Federal Hill, Fell’s Point and Rash Field.
100,000 Attendees

Macy’s Fireworks Celebration

Jul 04, 2013

East River at 23rd Street New York, NY10005

Since 1978, visible from New Jersey as well as New York this is one spectacular display of sights and sounds that celebrates our Nation’s birthday. Takes place along the East River between 23rd and 42nd Street.
1,000,000 Attendees

ONEOK Freedomfest

Jul 04, 2013

River West Festival Park Tulsa, OK74107

Since 1976, Celebrate America’s Independence with your family and friends at Tulsa’s annual July 4th celebration. Tulsa’s much-anticipated FreedomFest includes endless entertainment, a variety of activities and tasty concessions. A Tulsa tradition, FreedomFest is known for featuring one of Oklahoma’s largest free fireworks displays and live music on three entertainment locations along the Arkansas River. Join the crowds at Tulsa’s River Parks and line the banks of the Arkansas River with lawn chairs and picnic baskets and wait for the show start. Arrive early to Tulsa FreedomFest to enjoy inflatables for the kids, face painting, beverage and food vendors, old- fashioned family picnics and a bicycle parade. Past activity epicenters include RiverWestFestivalPark, VeteransPark and Elwood’s Cafe. At nightfall, turn your gaze skyward and be amazed as hundreds of fireworks choreographed to patriotic music are launched from the 21st Street Bridge.
100,000 Attendees

4th of July

Jul 04, 2013

George Park George, WA98824

Since 1959. What more appropriate place to spend July 4th than a place named George, Washington! This long standing event in George, Washington attracts 20 times the city’s population. Also features “cherry bomb” run, long parade, V.F.W. color party band, floats, flag raising, breakfast by senior club, concessions, stage show, concluding with spectacular fireworks. Also featuring the Giant Cherry Pie, really a cobbler because it has decorations on the top, not a full crust, but still delicious. It feeds approximately 1800 people.
6,000 Attendees

National Independence Day Celebration: A Capitol Fourth

Jul 04, 2013

Downtown Washington, DC20599

Independence day parade down Constitution Avenue, free entertainment at the Sylvan Theatre on the WashingtonMonument grounds, National Symphony Orchestra concert and a spectacular fireworks display over the National Mall. Takes place on Constitution Avenue, 7th to 17th Streets NW.
500,000 Attendees

Fourth of July Parade, Concert and Fireworks

Jul 04, 2013

Downtown Philadelphia, PA19121

High-stepping flag wavers and baton twirlers, marching bands, colorful floats and military regiments take part in this exciting parade. A concert is held after dark followed by fireworks. These events cap off the 10 day Welcome America Festival. parade takes place at 11am in historic old city Philadelphia before the festivities on the Parkway.
200,000 Attendees

Gettysburg Anniversary Battle Reenactment

Jul 04, 2013 – Jul 07, 2013

Reading Farm Gettysburg, PA17325

Since 1864. The Gettysburg National Civil War Battle Reenactment is an all-day family event. The gates open at 8:30 a.m., each day will include two exciting battles, field demonstrations, live mortar fire demonstrations, two activities tents with continuous living history programs, and a living history village with all-day activities. Visitors are invited to shop in the very impressive “Sutler Row” where they will discover period-style clothing and wares or walk through the military camps to experience 1860′s military life and talk to these living historians. General admission tickets and general admission tickets with grandstand seating are both available. The grandstand seating normally sells out in advance so call early for reservations.

Central PA 4th Fest

Jul 04, 2013

Right behind Beaver Stadium State College, PA16803

An annual Fourth of July Festival with lots of entertainment for all ages, music, storytelling, children activities and crafts including a parade in the afternoon. There are plenty of food vendors throughout the day and the best is saved for last. A fantastic display of fireworks choreographed and perfectly synchronized to music.
200,000 Attendees

Austin Symphony July 4th Concert and Fireworks

Jul 04, 2013

Long Center for the Performing Arts Austin, TX78704

On July 4th, more than 100,000 people gather at AuditoriumShores for the largest Independence Day celebration in Austin. The Austin Symphony will be under the apt baton of ASO Music DirectorPeterBay. The Austin Symphony July 4th Concert and Fireworks features patriotic music and the ever-popular 1812 Overture—the latter punctuated by 75-millimeter Howitzer cannons, courtesy of Texas National Guard Salute Battery, and spectacular fireworks over Lady Bird Lake.
100,000 Attendees

 Maria can be reached directly at eventsblog@eventcrazy.com or @eventcrazy on Twitter

or visit her website at www.eventcrazy.com
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