Fourth of July-three words that mean three things: Parades, Fireworks and Cherry Pie. With star-spangled activities from dusk ‘til dawn, the fourth is a pretty busy day for me, traditionally beginning with my favorite activity- The Hairpin Run in Fish Creek, WI. At the 5k, family rivalries are challenged and old friends are greeted before devouring a donut with red and blue sprinkles (a coffee too of course!).
Next is the parade, an Independence Day classic! Though most of the state’s 4th parades seem to take place in Northeast Wisconsin, they’re a perfect opportunity to thank veterans, wave our flags, and collect a little candy. Those of you who are ‘too old for parades’ probably are just a step ahead of me; grilling hotdogs, swimming, or seeing who can spit their watermelon seeds the furthest.
Daytime celebrations may vary but dusk brings the quintessential Independence Day activity-fireworks. From intimate backyard displays to giant, citywide spectaculars set to music (like Madison’s Rhythm and Booms show) there are plenty of Wisconsin Fireworks Shows to explore. In fact there are over 101 fireworks displays in Wisconsin on July 4th alone! According to Forbes Fourth of July by the Numbers, forty-two percent of Americans will watch at least one fireworks show this year and over $60 million will be spent on fireworks for Red, White, and Blue celebrations.
As part of that forty-two percent I’d say I’m not only a fireworks admirer, but also a critic! Each year blankets are laid out on the grass beneath the dark sky before the display begins above the bay. Every firework is then given a 1-10 rating. It’s been a tradition since I was young and I have to admit I’ll always be partial to the shimmering, glitter fireworks that hang for extra seconds in the sky J
Its ironic (I’d never thought about it until writing this post) but we shoot off fireworks to celebrate America’s birthday even though they’re traditionally a Chinese invention that have been around since the 12th century! Apparently though, fireworks have been part of the fourth even before the Declaration of Independence was signed. In a letter to his wife Abigail, president John Adams envisioned fireworks “illuminating the sky from the first independence day and forever more”. I certainly think he’d be blown away to see the pyrotechnical spectacle modern fireworks displays have become today!
With fireworks and parades, one piece of my Fourth of July memory remains-that homemade slice of Door CountyCherry Pie, with ice cream of course! (What else would you expect from a WI girl?). Nothing beats a sweet piece of pie with rich ice cream to beat the usually hot Wisconsin summer weather.
While I’d strongly recommend including a piece of cherry pie in your own festivities this July 4th, fireworks are an accessible, astounding, and certainly wallet friendly way for everyone to say Happy Fourth! All you need is your eyes, a clear night, and maybe a blanket!
Oh! And don’t forget to wear your Red, White, and Blue!