Friday, October 7, 2022

Colonial Williamsburg celebrates July 4 with fireworks, educational programs, new concert series

(Courtesy of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)

WILLIAMSBURG — Fireworks will once again light up the night sky over Colonial Williamsburg’s Governor’s Palace on July 4 at 9:30 p.m. — the culminating event of the foundation’s celebration of freedom that began with free admission on June 19 in honor of Juneteenth and ends with a weekend of patriotic programming planned throughout the Historic Area from July 1-4.

“Celebrating Independence Day in Williamsburg, where the groundwork of American democracy was laid, reminds us why this holiday matters,” said Cliff Fleet, president and CEO of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “Our nation has been striving to achieve a more perfect union since its inception. On this day, we celebrate our progress, acknowledge the work ahead, and commit ourselves to achieving our nation’s aspirations as embodied in the Declaration of Independence.”

Programming exploring the historic context of American Independence — including audiences with Thomas Jefferson and other members of the founding generation, readings of the Declaration of Independence, militia marches and theatrical performances — will be offered throughout the July 4 weekend.

Evenings in the Historic Area will feature a new four-part concert series leading up to the signature fireworks display on the evening of July 4 sponsored by the City of Williamsburg.

“As the birthplace of so many of this nation’s fundamental concepts, Williamsburg is the perfect backdrop for a fantastic fireworks demonstration in our celebration of the Fourth of July,” Mayor Douglas Pons said. “Year after year, we are thrilled to welcome people from near and far to Williamsburg for this spectacular event.”

Colonial Williamsburg’s full July 4 programming schedule and admission ticket information are available at colonialwilliamsburg.org/july4.

New Concert Series

Making its debut this year is the free Colonial Williamsburg American Music Concert Series, produced in partnership with the City of Williamsburg.

Guests are invited to bring chairs, blankets and food to enjoy a wide variety of American music featured each night of the July 4 weekend:

July 1-3

In addition to the concerts leading up to July 4, guests can enjoy the cressets lit every evening from July 1-4 on Duke of Gloucester Street and participate in 18th-century merrymaking at Chowning’s Tavern beginning at 8 p.m. on July 1-3 with free entry and food and drinks available for purchase.

On July 2 and 3 beginning at 12:30 p.m. on the South Lawn of the Colonial Capitol, prospective recruits to the Continental Army can participate in a march and military review that is open to the public.

On July 3 from 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., the City of Williamsburg, William & Mary, and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation are hosting a Community Appreciation Day on the lawn of the Art Museums featuring family-friendly lawn games, large canvases and art materials for a community art project, and free sno-balls and ice cream from Sno-to-Go. Explore additional Colonial Williamsburg programming on the foundation’s website at colonialwilliamsburg.org/events-calendar.

July 4 and Fireworks

Highlights of July 4 programming include:

  • 9:30 a.m. — Thomas Jefferson reads the Declaration of Independence from the Capitol West balcony.
  • 10:30 a.m. — Salute to the States, a musket volley set to the pomp and pageantry of the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums in Market Square.
  • 11 a.m. — Shields Tavern Independence Day Buffet offered until 5 p.m.
  • Noon — a noon reading of The Declaration of Independence on the steps of the Colonial Courthouse.
  • 4 p.m. — a special performance of “Created Equal” which explores Black perspectives on equality and freedom in America on the Charlton Stage (requires Colonial Williamsburg admission).
  • 7 p.m. — music and entertainment on the Art Museums Lawn followed by a free, live performance by Good Shot Judy presented by CultureFix and the City of Williamsburg.
  • 8 p.m. — Lights of Freedom, featuring the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums.
  • 9:30 p.m. — Fireworks display above the Governor’s Palace; fireworks last approximately 20 minutes and can be seen from Palace Green, Market Square and the eastern side of the Lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

Colonial Williamsburg does not offer a rain date for the July 4 fireworks. In the case of unfavorable weather conditions, communication on the status of the fireworks will be posted on the foundation’s social media channels. To opt in for weather-related July 4 information via text message, please text FIREWORKS to 226787.

For additional information about parking, buses, dining, restrooms and more visit the July 4 FAQ page at colonialwilliamsburg.org/july4faq/.

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