Monday, June 30, 2008

Best Fourth of July Celebrations

From the Atlantic to the Pacific, everything is just terrific on the Fouth of July, with parades, food festivals, concerts, backyard barbecues and fireworks. Lots and lots of fireworks. It's hard to call this green travels, because fireworks come in all colors, especially red, white and blue.

Simply, this is America’s annual birthday party, celebrating the day in 1776 when 13 scrappy colonies declared their independence from the world’s then-superpower.

Here are three of the best --

New York City -- The Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks is the nation’s largest, with more than 120,000 bursts of shape and color and movement reaching as high as 1,000 feet into the air, all of it timed to a riveting soundtrack. There also are live performances from top Broadway show stars and pop favorites, this year including country music star Kenny Chesney. The fireworks begin at 9 p.m., launched from barges in the East River. The event is televised nationally on NBC.

Washington, D. C. -- It’s an all-day Fourth of July festival in the Nation's Capital, starting before noon with America’s National Independence Day Parade along Constitution Avenue, past national monuments including the Washington Monument. Many of the bands are in Revolutionary Era dress, marching to the beat of fifes and drums. After the parade, a National Folklife Festival on the Mall celebrates many of the cultures of the U.S. A. The party finishes in the evening at the Capitol Building, with a musical celebration by the National Symphony Orchestra, and fireworks that light up the sky. This concert and fireworks party is broadcast by PBS.

New Orleans -- This city is filled with music year-round, and a New Orleans July Fourth celebration has a touch of Mardi Gras. The music starts before noon with concerts and events at various spots around the riverfront, from the French Market and to the Riverwalk Marketplace. At 7:30, there’s a concert by the New Orleans Concert Band overlooking the Mississippi River, followed by a Dueling Barges Fireworks Display.