For the Fourth of July!
From Purple Mountains Majesty to Shining Sea
by Mark Burns
At first glance, Independence Day's Wednesday appearance seems awkward and inconvenient. In fact, it is a blessing in disguise for the insatiable patriot, for with fireworks and fanfare to be found at either end and the middle of the holiday week, you've the chance to party till you're red, white and blue.
You might even use our proud nation's 225th birthday as an excuse to take the whole week off - or at least a couple extra days - and check out this year's font of fanfare. We've got it ranging from purple mountains' majesty right out to shining sea. Unless otherwise noted, all events (listed alphabetically by county and town) happen on July 4
Anne Arundel County
Get back to your patriotic roots in this hot spot of independence.
Start celebrating midday at Historic Annapolis Foundation's Red, White and Blue Ice Cream Social. This old-fashioned Independence Day celebration features period kids' games and patriotic music by members of the Monumental City Fife and Drum Corps at the home of a signer of the Declaration of Independence (3-6pm @ William Paca House, 186 Prince George St.; $: 410/267-7619 www.annapolis.org).
Come early evening, Annapolis' parade kicks off on St. John's Street. From there it heads down College Avenue, clockwise on Church Circle, down Main, left on Randall, right on King George, through U.S. Naval Academy's Gate 1 and around the perimeter of The Yard, ending at Holloway Road. Prime spots for watching the march are on the Governor's Mansion side of College Avenue and Church Circle plus all along Main street (6:30pm).
At parade's end, the music picks up in a concert by the Naval Academy Band, set up at the north corner of Farragut Field on Academy grounds. They play straight on till dusk and the fireworks barrage. The best spot for viewing the pyrotechnics is right there at Farragut Field; boaters get a great view from Annapolis' harbor area. Landlubbing alternatives are Dewey Field and Hospital Point at the Academy or any street-end parks facing Spa Creek (music 8pm; fireworks 9:15pm).
Good fun is also found at Charles Carroll House - yet another home to a Declaration of Independence signer - which hosts its own Fourth affair. Baritone Jerome Barry joins performers from the Levine School of Music and pianist Jeffrey Chappell in a gala concert featuring patriotic, Broadway, classical and jazz music. When singing's done, gather in the Carroll gardens to watch the downtown fireworks (music 8pm @ Charles Carroll House, 107 Duke of Gloucester St.; $55 w/discounts; rsvp: 410/269-1737).
Driving downtown is ill-advised if not impossible; free shuttles will take you in from ample parking at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. For more specifics on Annapolis' July 4 celebration, log on to www.ci.annapolis.md.us.
Miss the first wave? Annapolis' second rush of patriotism comes July 7 and 8 during U.S. Naval Academy's John Paul Jones Days. Starting with a formal wreath-laying on the naval hero's crypt, the weekend continues with special tours of the Academy, living history, Revolutionary War period music and more (9-3 Sa; noon-3 Su: 410/263-6933).
Proclaim your love of country in the company of professional patriots at MeadeFest 2001, where Fort Meade celebrates Independence Day the Army way in three days of continuous fun.
Opening July 2 is the MeadeFest carnival, bristling with classic games and rides. It stays running through the Fourth; insatiable carnie fans can ride all night for $9.95 on July 3 (4-11pm M, 4-midnight Tu, noon-11 W).
The early bird gets the patriotic rush at the sixth annual MeadeFest 5K Fun Run/Walk & Bike on July 4 (8am; rsvp to 301/677-3716). Once you've dried off the sweat, you can check out defenders' wheels at the 7th Annual Military Vehicle, Auto and Truck Show (11-4). As twilight nears, the 389th U.S. Army Band strikes up a concert of patriotic tunes to get you ready for the fireworks finale (music 8pm; fireworks 9:30pm @ McGlachlin Field: 301/677-6111).
Galesville's well-rounded small-town Fourth kicks off with a classic parade and ends with the requisite bang.
By daylight, Galesville's volunteer fire department leads off the parade with lights flashing and sirens blaring. In the engine's wake flow patriotic floats plus lawnmowers, antique cars, horses and bikes dolled up in red, white and blue. Everybody's welcome to join in the march, which runs a loop into town on Main Street and back to the start via East and West Benning Roads (parade gathers 6pm; judging 6:30pm; starts 7pm @ Anchors Way: 410/867-8930). As night falls, flip open your lawn chair and settle in along the West River waterfront for the fireworks show (9:30pm: 410/867-2648).
Parking is $5/car on the athletic field at Anchors Way and Main Street. Main closes to traffic starting 6pm for the parade.
Herrington on the Bay lights night skies earliest of all this year with its July 1 fireworks spectacle. Once again this year, Herrington is laying in heavy ammo early in hopes of outshining its rival Rod 'n' Reel, which shows it stuff July 3. For the best Bayside view as Herrington renews the annual race for Cal-Arundel bragging rights by blasting the night sky (301/855-8435)Party the night away at Surfside South's splashy pool party (7-11; $10) with 25th Hour Band .
Severna Park stirs up an early day street party at its 27th annual July 4th Parade and Festival.
Take in a star-spangled procession as a bike brigade, Civil War reenactors, equestrian units, clowns and antique cars parade through town from St. Martin's-in-the-Field Episcopal Church and Our Shepherd Lutheran Church to the party spot at Park Plaza. Paraders all gather around this year's theme, The Spirit of Severna Park.
At parade's end begins the spirited festival. Rock out to the local acoustic band Paul Hunter's Found plus scale a climbing wall, get your face painted, enjoy live entertainment and more. (Parade 10am; festival 10-1: 410/647-3900).
Denizens of Shady Side get a midday jump on celebratory patriotism with their annual parade and party. Taking off from the town post office, the parade of floats, local celebs, politicians, marchers, cyclists and decorated cars meanders down Muddy Creek Road and wraps up at the Kiwanis Club on Snug Harbor Road (starts 10am).
Not far from the march's finish is where the party starts. Shady Side's olde-style Fourth features live music by the Bay Winds Concert Band - patriotic favorites and show tunes - plus a flag-raising by local boy scouts and baking contest judged by state and county politicians. Come ready to picnic if you like; burgers, dogs and drinks are there to buy (drop off baked entries by noon; begins 12:30pm; flag-raising 1pm @ Capt. Salem Avery House Museum: 301/261-5546).
Rod 'n' Reel takes center stage for Fourth of July revelry in the Twin Beaches, hosting the five-day Family Day on the Bay celebration. Each day find live music, a moon bounce, clowns, face painting and volleyball.
Shooting off on July 3 is Rod 'n' Reel's perennially huge display aggrandized in the annual competition to outdo its Rose Haven rival, Herrington on the Bay. In the effort, fireworks are launched simultaneously from the harbor's twin jetties and are choreographed to recorded music. The Chesapeake Beach boardwalk offers great views, as does the planked way of North Beach (dusk: 301/855-8351).
Solomons rolls out a midway at the Optimist Club of Lusby's annual Fourth of July Carnival, a week-long festival featuring rides, games and food. (5-10pm ThSuMTu, 5-midnight F, noon-midnight SaW @ the field across from Calvert Marine Museum; Free thru July 3, $5/car July 4: 410/326-2588).
Come Independence Day, the tiny isle warms up for firecracking with live music at the Riverwalk gazebo, including big band tunes nearer dusk. It's all prelude to the pretty pyrotechnics to be shot off near the Patuxent waterfront. Stake out a spot on Our Lady Star of the Sea's front lawn for the best view, though any spot along the Riverwalk is prime viewing (music starts 4pm, big band 7-8pm, fireworks dusk @ Solomons Island: 888/580-3856). Ride free shuttles in from parking at the Navy recreation center, just across Route 4 from the town.
For a fresh perspective, watch from the water aboard Calvert Marine Museum's Wm. B. Tennison. Sodas, chips and dip are served whilst you enjoy fireworks with the scenic island town as a backdrop (board & leave 8:15pm @ the museum; $20 w/discounts, rsvp: 410/326-2042 x41).
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra gets a slight head start with its annual Star-Spangled Spectacular. On July 3 and 4, lend your ears to an all-American concert of Sousa marches and other patriotic favorites capped by Tchaikovsky's
"1812 Overture" and copious fireworks. Rain date July 5. (8pm @ Oregon Ridge Park. $14 w/discounts plus $5/parking: 410/783-8000).
The big show lights up Baltimore July 4 as fireworks mimic the rockets' red glare of Francis Scott Key's inspiration. Swing by the Inner Harbor to first glimpse the public art exhibit Fish Out of Water plus find an antique car show and live entertainment. Music at the amphitheater includes the Zim Zemeral Orchestra with Dixieland and St. Veronica's Steel Youth Steel Orchestra (car show noon-5; music noon-9:30).
Once night falls, you'll find the best spot on the Inner Harbor Promenade, though you'll also find good views waterside at Federal Hill, Canton and Fell's Point (fireworks 9:30pm @ Inner Harbor: 888/Baltimore). To see things from an historical perspective, climb aboard Maryland Historical Society's Minnie V. for a cruise with Key July 3 or fireworks cruise July 4 (6pm Tu; 7pm W from Harborplace; $25 w/discounts Tu, $50 W; rsvp: 410/685-3750 x321 www.mdhs.org). Even the Baltimore Museum of Industry has a party, serving up summer foods, gaming, live music and more for the family (6-9:30pm @ Federal
Hill; $50 w/discounts; rsvp: 410/727-4808).
This town's Fourth is a test of loyalty between city and sport.
Bowie's official city celebration lights up the landscape of Allen Pond Park. Here you'll find rides, live entertainment and heaps of food in a day of celebration for the whole family. Revelry reaches a climax with a flag ceremony and singing of the national anthem followed by a finale of fireworks (3:30-10:30pm; fireworks 9:15pm: 301/262-6200).
Meanwhile, keepers of the national pastime are counting down the innings as the Bowie Baysox take on the Norwich Navigators. Get a head start on the evening game at the Fourth of July Bash, serving up all-you-can-eat burgers and hot dogs, rotisserie chicken and more; includes game admission (6-8pm; $26 w/discounts; rsvp: 301/805-6000). Stick around after the last out to see the stadium rocked red with fireworks (game time 6:35pm; $8 general w/discounts: 301/805-6000 www.baysox.com).
Six Flags America, where you can play all day, heats up the holiday with its annual Fourth of Jazz celebration, to be vanquished at 9pm by thousands of big blasts. The music starts at 4, with legendary jazz greats AJQ; DC's native son Jaared; bassist David Dyson; and the four-man Marcus Johnson Project. The music ends at 8, and by 9 the sky lights up with fireworks. (4pm & 9pm; Free w/$ park admission @ Paradise Island Water Park, Six Flags, 13710 Central Ave.: 301/249-1500).
There is simply no grander place to be for the Fourth than our nation's capital. The city, itself an American icon, is full of enough fervent celebration to make Joe America blush bright with national pride. Where better to mark 225 years?
Celebrate the diversity that makes a nation great at the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife. Now through July 1 and continuing July 4 through July 8, you can experience another's culture through song, storytelling, crafts, demos, celebrations, workshops and much more. This year's highlights are New York City, Bermuda and the masters of the building arts. (11-5:30pm; dance parties 5:30-9pm @ National Mall, between 10th and 14th Streets. Free: 202/357-2700 www.si.edu/folklife).
Revisit the lives of our nation's original patriots in the "Lighting Freedom's Flame" Liberty on the Mall reenactment. Some 300 to 400 Revolutionary War reenactors are expected to participate in encampments on June 30 and July 1. Find camp tours, cooking demos, a surgeon's tent and field hospital, various craft demos and recruiting/mustering. (10-5 Sa; 10-4 Su @ National Mall, between 4th and 7th Streets: www.liberty-on-the-mall.org).
Naturally, July 4 is the day things really get going. First up is the 2001 National Independence Day Parade, making a bee-line along Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th streets. Marching are over 60 units including celebs, floats, marching bands, giant helium balloons, mascots and more (11:45am).
Music surrounds visitors all day long, though the biggest concert arrives in the form of A Capitol Fourth 2001. National Symphony Orchestra performs tunes to stir your patriotism with Barry Bostwick, Luther Vandross, The Irish Tenors and The Pointer Sisters in this 20th annual 90-minute concert (8pm @ West Lawn, U.S. Capitol).
Finally, the granddaddy of grand finales lights up D.C.'s night. Find a spot downtown where you can see the Washington Monument without any heads or trees obstructing the view, and you're golden. Great views outside the city are found in the greenspace along George Washington Parkway in Virginia; arrive very early and be ready to park in shoulders or median to grab a spot (9:10pm @ Washington Monument Grounds).
For more details on the above D.C. events, go to www.nps.gov/nama.
Amber Waves of Grain: Antietam
Be roused by a belated symphonic tribute at Maryland Symphony Orchestra's 16th Annual Salute to Independence. Set on the infamous ground of Antietam National Battlefield, the July 7 performance features light classical and patriotic music punctuated by the live cannon fire of the Maryland Army National Guard. Topping it off is a fireworks spectacular. Come ready to picnic; bring a flashlight. (7:30pm @ Sharpsburg. Free: 301/797-4000 www.mdsymphony.com).
Purple Mountains' Majesty: Deep Creek Lake
Thrill to fireworks careening over mountain tops and placid water at Garrett County's Deep Creek Lake Fireworks Celebration. Picnic at the public shores of Western Maryland's favorite watering hole before being awestruck by the scenic beauty of fireworks in the mountains. You'll find the best views in the McHenry Cove area by car or boat. Rain date July 5. (9:30pm @ McHenry: 301/387-4386).
Fruited Plain: Mt. Airy
Celebrate early in laid back style at Berrywine Plantations' Red, White and Blueberry Wines Family Weekend. On June 30 and July 1, frolic by the vineyards at an old-fashioned family picnic while enjoying the music of Sousa and colonial fifes and drums. You can also taste the title wines plus take winery tours and get recipe hints (10-6 Sa, noon-6 Su @ Mt. Airy: 800/514-8735).
Shining Sea: Ocean City
Ocean City is awash in celebration at both ends for the Fourth, with Jamboree in the Park to the north and more concerts with fireworks to the south.
At Northside Park is Jamboree in the Park, a day of carnival games, kids' fun, live music, piles of food, mini train rides, moon bounce and more. Old-fashioned picnic games abound, including tug-of-war, sack races, three-legged races, an obstacle course and pie-eating contests. Over 80 crafters offer wares. Seven bands wow the crowds before yielding to a fireworks spectacle off the park's west side (starts 11am; fireworks 9:30pm).
Down south, enjoy the Boardwalk at the North Division Street beach. The 229th Maryland Army National Guard Band caps a day of three concerts and plays to a dazzling fireworks finale, where the fireworks explode o'er open ocean (music 4pm; fireworks 9:30pm: 800/oc ocean www.ococean.com).
Parking is limited; shuttles can bring you in from the new Ocean City Park & Ride by mainland US 50 ($1).