Sunday, October 1, 2023

2021 Fourth of July Festivities Resume at Colonial Williamsburg

Fireworks behind the Governor’s Palace in Colonial Williamsburg, a beloved local tradition. (WYDaily/Courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)

COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG — Another sign of the country returning to a sense of normalcy after a year in a COVID-19 restricted world are the upcoming commemorations of July 4. This year, Colonial Williamsburg and the City of Williamsburg are celebrating in grand style with special programming, family activities on the Art Museums Lawn and the return of fireworks over the Governor’s Palace.

The festivities begin Saturday, July 3 at 8 p.m. with “A Community Salute to America” on Community Appreciation Day, according to a June 21 news release from Colonial Williamsburg.

During the community salute, United States Air Force Heritage of America Band will perform patriotic favorites during a one-hour concert on the Art Museums Lawn.  The concert will be followed by a special video presentation, produced by the City of Williamsburg, William & Mary, and Colonial Williamsburg, that honors the frontline workers, first responders, and local organizations who rose to action this past year.

Then, on July 4, Thomas Jefferson will read the Declaration of Independence on the Capitol West balcony starting at 9:30 a.m. Prior to the reading, guests are invited to have a casual breakfast with Thomas and Martha Jefferson at King’s Arms Tavern. F or details on the breakfast and other dining and hospitality experiences, visit

Programming continues throughout the day, including a special showing of “Created Equal” that explores Black perspectives on the Declaration of Independence, the revolutions it inspired, and the ongoing struggle for equality and freedom in America. “Created Equal” also will be performed Fridays and Saturdays throughout the month of July.

Starting at 1 p.m., celebrate Chowning’s Tavern’s 80th anniversary at its July 4 Beer Bash with chef- and brewer-attended stations that guide guests through beer pairings and fine cuisine.

Family-friendly activities on the Art Museums Lawn in the afternoon conclude with a live performance by Good Shot Judy at 7 p.m. Fireworks commence at 9:20 p.m. with a grand display above the Governor’s Palace and surrounding areas. Colonial Williamsburg’s July 4 programming schedule and admission ticket information, including a special discount on Good Neighbor Passes, are available at

“After a year when so much had to be cancelled due to the pandemic, I am pleased that the public can join the city and Colonial Williamsburg this July 4 to enjoy fireworks over the Governor’s Palace once again,” Williamsburg City Manager Andrew O. Trivette said. “We’re excited to have this opportunity to welcome people back to Williamsburg.”

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July 4 also marks the final night of “Honor & Reflection,” a contemplative multimedia installation at the ongoing excavation of the historic First Baptist Church’s first permanent location on South Nassau Street in the Historic Area. “Honor and Reflection” opened June 19 as part of Juneteenth programming. It is free and open to the public from 8:30 – 10:30 p.m. Visit to learn more about Juneteenth and the light installation.

As for the most awaited specular of the event, fireworks behind the Governor’s Palace will commence around 9:20 p.m. Sunday evening to commemorate the 245th anniversary of the birth of the nation. Viewing on Palace Green and surrounding areas, including Market Square, the lawn of the Art Museums, and the CW Visitor Center parking areas.

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Visiting guests who stay at one of Colonial Williamsburg’s official hotels receive up to two complimentary Colonial Williamsburg length of stay admission tickets, plus up to $350 in resort outlets savings coupons. Details are available at

As for COVID-19 safety policies, Colonial Williamsburg is still requiring guests who are not fully vaccinated must wear masks indoors and are encouraged to do so outdoors. Visit’s planning calendar for a complete, up-to-date list of open sites and programming.

According to a Colonial Williamsburg statement from the release, “The health and safety of guests and staff is Colonial Williamsburg’s highest priority, and site operations and programming are subject to change to ensure compliance with state COVID-19 guidelines. lists additional guest comfort and safety guidelines to provide the safest experience for guests, the general public and Colonial Williamsburg’s staff.”

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