Friday, July 3, 2009

July Fourth, American Independence Day: Fireworks, Barbecue and a Freedom Swim

"Chill, grill and thrill this Independence Day weekend"
Herald Tribune (Sarasota, Florida) (July 3, 2009)

"America turns 233 years old Saturday.

"And that means it's time to get ready for family gatherings, barbecues, parades and fireworks.

"With everyone looking for cheap thrills, Independence Day offers a brief reprieve from all the talk about the economy, unemployment and bailouts.

"The holiday also offers plenty of inexpensive family-friendly activities, especially along the Gulf Coast, where passionate displays of patriotism are tradition.

"Here's a list of Fourth of July activities that won't strain your wallet, to help you commemorate our country's independence:..."

I likes that phrases, "won't strain your wallet," and the word "inexpensive family-friendly activities," but then I've got a teenage son and daughter, another daughter who's back for the summer because this makes a good base of operations for her job, and yet another daughter back because she's preparing for her wedding.

"Inexpensive" takes on a special glow under those circumstances.

This article, although an excellent summary of events, lost a bit of its luster when I found that it focused on specific activities and events in the Sarasota, Florida, area.

Leading with "Sarasota Reds Baseball & Fireworks Night" and a "...Parade of Boats", it went on to touch on the virtues of an all-you-can-eat restaurant, a 5k run, and something called the "Freedom Swim". And, of course, several Fourth of July parades and celebrations, and a July Fourth block party.

There's quite a bit more, all about Sarasota area celebrations. A fine resource for folks living there, and a sort of inspiration for others in America: showing what to look for in their own area.

The U.S. Census Bureau has something of more general interest for Americans:

"The Fourth of July 2008"
Facts for features, U.S. Census Bureau (May 5, 2008)

The year-old press release says that there were around 2,500,000 Americans in 1776, and about 304,000,000 in 2008. And upwards of 74,000,000 of us had been at a barbecue during the previous year. That's a bit more than 24 percent: almost one in four.

And, as the Census Bureau said, "It's probably safe to assume a lot of these events took place on Independence Day."

Barbecues on July Fourth have become something of an American tradition. But even without the grills, many Americans pay special attention to Independence Day.

"Fourth of July goes global"
CNN (July 3, 2009)

"Hot dogs? Check. Fireworks? Check. Big Ben? Wait a minute...

"There may not be international landmarks at your neighbor's Fourth of July barbecue, but for Americans living abroad, they're the perfect backdrop when celebrating independence.

"To global Yanks, it's just as important -- if not more so -- to throw an Independence Day party that feels just like home.

"From Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Rome, Italy, Fourth of July soirees are happening on Saturday in nearly every corner of the world...."

Wednesday, July 1, was Canada Day, and Canadians celebrate with, among other things, fireworks. Then, three days later, around 15,000 or 20,000 people show up for the Canada Dry Festival of Fire: "an extensive fireworks display". (More at Canada Dry Festival of Fire,

Across the Atlantic, American Independence Day celebrations happen in London and Rome. Australia sees celebrations of the Forth, too: but it's winter there, this time of year.

There's more in the article about America's Independence Day as celebrated in other places. By focusing on a handful of examples, it shows how Americans traveling through or staying in other countries celebrate July Fourth.

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