4th Of July

Gizelle Newman, 2, of Pottstown waves to parade participants.Pottstown celebrates the Fourth of July with a parade down High St.  Photo by Jeremy Drey  7/4/2014 (Photo By Jeremy Drey/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)
MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images/MediaNews Group/Getty Images

July 4th Celebration Ideas For the Whole Family

It's coming in hot.

You can almost hear the fireworks just thinking about the 4th of July. Add in the smell of burgers on the grill and the sound of kids running through sprinklers and you’ve got the makings of a great Independence Day. But, come to think of it, when is July 4th weekend this year anyhow?

When is 4th of July Weekend 2021?

This year the 4th of July holiday weekend lands on the first weekend of July with the actual observation of Independence Day landing on a Sunday.

What is the history of 4th of July?

Dust off your high school history book, it’s time to take a step back in time. The 4th of July, or Independence Day, traces its roots to the 18th century when on July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted to become independent of Great Britain. Two short days later, Thomas Jefferson had whipped up the Declaration of Independence which the 13 colonies adopted.

You might be surprised to learn that even though people annually celebrated this event with fireworks and parties, it didn’t become a federal holiday until 1941. From that point on, the day of or before or after if it's a weekend, has been observed as federal holiday.

MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images/MediaNews Group/Getty Images

Ways to Celebrate July 4th

Right off the top of your head, you can probably think of a handful of ways you’d like to celebrate the 4th of July (how about by sleeping in to start with?). But if you need some help coming up with the rest of the weekend’s plans, here are some ideas.

Host a Cookout

It’s hot outside and no one wants to be sweating over the oven on July 4th. Instead, invite some friends over for a backyard barbecue. Best of all, if you make it potluck, you’ll only be responsible for the main dish. Burgers, anyone?

Watch a Small Town Parade

Nothing feels more Americana like a small town 4th of July parade. And while this might seem like a thing of the past, you’d be surprised to discover how many happen each year in tiny towns across the country. Check your local publications for news on where you can see one in action.

Have a Cannonball Contest

Hey, it’s sort of in keeping with the concept of “rockets red glare,” right? Hit up your neighborhood pool and get some friendly competition going for who can make the biggest splash.

Host a Beach Bonfire

If you live by the ocean and your beach allows it, hosting a bonfire can be a singularly special event. Just make sure you get the proper permitting before starting a fire so that your inferno is in full compliance of local rules.

Watch A Fireworks Show

Community rules on fireworks vary from county to county, but many places now hold professional fireworks displays. That means you can save yourself some cash buying a bunch of Roman candles and instead set up some lawn chairs and enjoy the show.

Break Out The Bunting

Feel free to embrace your patriotism and go full red, white, and blue this year for 4th of July. Whether its flags, banners, or window bunting, get the whole family involved in decorating your house for the holiday.

Whatever you do, do it with friends and share the fun of this federal holiday weekend in style.