The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. Not because I’m some super patriot (hint: I’m not), but because I miss the how of it. All of the practices and events that go into a proper Independence Day celebrate in a small town in a state most Americans can’t find on a map.
It starts on the 3rd…
Burlington and other towns host their Independence day festivities the day prior. So we head to BTV for the lakefront fireworks. They always have fireworks shot off from a barge in the bay on Lake Champlain. At the Waterfront there’s live music, vendors and food. We usually skip that part, preferring to just snag a good viewing spot on the hill (or if we are lucky a friend’s boat at the docks).
On the 4th…
An early starts means ideal sitting locations. It’s become more of an issue as more and more people leave their blankets out overnight to snag spots for the next day. We often joke that we should just set out ours on our way back from the Burlington fireworks. We snag our spots, leaving plenty of room for our friends who will join us, in the shade by the cemetery. We make sure to get up to the road so the kids (grown and now the next generation) can snag candy. It’s our spot. Where we’ve watched the parade for years.
Then comes the fun run. A mile run downhill just before the parade. We cheer on all participants, especially our friends. After all, half the fun of the 4th is seeing literally the entire town.
Then comes the main event. The parade. Every year our parade has a different theme and varying levels of floats. Usually some military gear, lots of first responder vehicles, a cat on a bicycle with his human, horses, tractors, bands (generally NOT marching), and everything a small town America parade needs. After the parade we all, ALL, everyone watching the parade, walks down the street to the park for the food, merchants and activities. There will fun and games, and live music and events throughout the day until the fireworks in the evening.
We usually walk around a bit, say hi to folks we haven’t seen in a while then head home for our own barbecue and some pool time. It seems the 4th is always very hot. In the evening we head back to the park for fireworks. More visiting with the rest of the town and fireworks. They aren’t the biggest fireworks. But I”m pretty sure they are the best. Our small town raises money all year for the Fire Dept to set them off on the 4th. The thing about Fireworks in my home town is this: the sound. We are in a valley surrounded by mountains. The sound of the fireworks echoes off the mountains like rolling thunder. If you are lucky you can also see parts of the next towns over shows over the mountain tops as well.
Fireworks without the rolling thunder of mountain echos just doesn’t cut it.