Events Guide: Plan Your Fourth of July Holiday

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Fireworks behind the Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg (Photo courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)
Fireworks behind the Governor’s Palace in Colonial Williamsburg (Photo courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)

Bust out your stars and stripes, put on your red, white and blue, and get ready to celebrate Independence Day in the Historic Triangle.

This year Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown will be hosting patriotic events throughout the day, including parades, concerts, auctions, historical readings and, most importantly, fireworks.

As you’re planning your Fourth of July festivities, you may also want to check out our parking guide and weather report.

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg will kick off Saturday with a Salute to the States, which will take place behind the Courthouse at 10 a.m. A reading of the Declaration of Independence on the Courthouse steps follows at 11 a.m., a Colonial Auction at Market Square is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., a performance of the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums is set for 8:15 p.m. and a tribute to the Armed Forces is slated for 9:10 p.m.

The fireworks will begin at 9:20 p.m. and visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs to better enjoy the show. Guests who are interested in a more exclusive experience can purchase a special ticket that will guarantee reserved front row seating for the show, in addition to access to an extensive buffet and special activities for children. Tickets are $85 for ages 13 and up, $55 for ages 6 to 12 and free for children under 6.

There will also be a Colonial Faire taking place all day at three different locations around Palace Green and Market Square. These attractions will feature a variety of 18th-century games, including three-legged races, tug of war, sack races, trap ball and tomahawk throwing. Admission wristbands are available for purchase for $8 each, and adults accompanying their children get in free.

Yorktown

There will be several events taking place in Yorktown this weekend, beginning with the Independence Day 8K Run and 5K Walk at 8 a.m. Saturday. Both races will depart from York High and loop through the historic Yorktown battlefield. Registration is $32.50 for the 8K and $27.50 for the 5K. Participants can sign up here.

There will also be several events taking place along Riverwalk Landing throughout the day of the 4th, including a patriotic parade at 9 a.m., the Sounds of Liberty bell ringing ceremony at 7 p.m. and a performance by the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command Brass Band at 8 p.m.

The fireworks display over the York River is the main event of the evening, and will begin at 9:15 p.m. Event planners are advising people to arrive by 6 p.m. to avoid heavy traffic and parking issues.

Additionally, on both Saturday and Sunday the Yorktown Victory Center will be hosting a Liberty Celebration at which visitors can witness and take part in artillery drills and military exercises. There will also be patriotic sing-alongs, featuring Carson Hudson of The Old Cigar Box Band at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. each day. Residents of York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg can get in free with proof of residency.

Busch Gardens

Star Spangled Nights at Busch Gardens is back for a second year, just in time for Independence Day. This Friday, Saturday and Sunday the park will be decked out in red, white and blue and offering patriotic-themed food, music and merchandise to accompany their nightly fireworks show. Guests can also purchase a $20 ticket online or at the park to watch the show from aboard a Rhine River Cruise.

Other Events Around Town

St. Bede will be hosting a Masterwork Concert this Friday featuring patriotic folk tunes and sing-alongs to get music lovers in the spirit for 4th of July. Organist Michael Steven Lianos will be performing popular compositions from well-known American composers like John Philip Sousa and Aaron Copland. This free concert will begin at 7 p.m.

Yankee Candle Village will be launching its Homefront Girl collection, a line of patriotically themed candles created by military wife Gaby Juergens. Juergens will be conducting a meet and greet at Yankee Candle from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday to coincide with the launch. One dollar from each candle sold will go to support Home for Our Troops, an organization that provides special adapted homes for injured veterans.

AleWerks is having a Pig Pickin’ Party to celebrate the Fourth of July, complete with roasted pig and all the fixings. This free event will feature live music by Thewokoutz and a wide selection of all-American craft brews. The party will begin at noon and take place in the newly renovated Biergarten.

Body By D is hosting a 4th of July-inspired Family Day on Saturday that will include hot dogs and hamburgers, a lip-sync battle and appearances by local firefighters and public servants. The main event will be three themed wrestling matches that are being held in conjunction with the gym’s new Primetime Wrestling Alliance. The fun begins at 3 p.m. and this event is free and open to the public.