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Americans Face Heat and Rain to Celebrate Fourth of July, with Some Events Delayed

by Ryan Lee
4 comments
Fourth of July celebrations

Despite scorching heat and heavy rain, revelers across the United States courageously joined Fourth of July festivities on Tuesday, commemorating the nation’s founding through parades, firework displays, and hot dog eating contests. This celebration comes at a time of lingering political divisions and concerns about the future of the country.

In Boston, people braved the raindrops to secure a coveted spot on the grassy oval in front of the Hatch Shell along the Charles River for the traditional Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. Typically, hundreds of thousands of partygoers line both sides of the river to witness the magnificent fireworks following a concert.

Another long-standing event, Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest in the Coney Island section of New York City, attracted a crowd of competitive eating enthusiasts.

However, inclement weather played a role in several events across the country. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race, a popular 10-kilometer run in humid summer weather, was cut short due to possible thunderstorms. In Yankton, South Dakota, a fireworks show was postponed until Wednesday night due to lightning. Similarly, the Omaha Symphony’s Independence Day Celebration in Nebraska, including a concert and fireworks, was also rescheduled for Wednesday night.

New Orleans residents, weary from days of heat and humidity, welcomed the rain and slightly cooler conditions. The General Roy S. Kelley fireboat provided a patriotic water show, spraying red, white, and blue streams of water into the air.

Unfortunately, weather-related cancellations also affected fireworks celebrations in Colorado towns and suburbs like Estes Park, Golden, and Highlands Ranch due to thunderstorm alerts. Denver International Airport experienced significant disruptions, with approximately 290 flights delayed and 171 cancelled, one of the highest numbers of affected flights in the country, according to Flight Aware.

President Joe Biden hosted a barbecue for military families at the White House, which was adorned with red, white, and blue decorations, including large U.S. flags draped over the columns facing the South Lawn. Biden expressed his gratitude to the gathered crowd and emphasized the importance of working towards national unity.

Meanwhile, Vice President Kamala Harris visited a Los Angeles fire station in her home state of California, paying tribute to the first responders who selflessly risk their lives for their communities.

Despite the varying views on patriotism among Americans, many embraced the holiday with a sense of whimsy and community. In Mark Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, the Fourth of July coincided with National Tom Sawyer Days, featuring activities like fence-painting and frog-jumping contests. Altoona, Iowa, celebrated its own “CORNival” to mark America’s birthday and the 100th anniversary of the first acre of commercial hybrid seed corn, with colorful 6-foot-high fiberglass corn cob statues displayed throughout the town.

In Joppatowne, Maryland, people lined up at a Sheetz gas station to fill up their tanks at $1.776 per gallon, a price chosen to commemorate the year the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, held its annual Independence Day midnight parade early Tuesday, but this year was marked by the passing of parade creator George Hawkins.

Running events were also a prominent feature of many celebrations. In Lexington, Kentucky, approximately 2,000 participants ran through the city’s downtown area. Stephanie Thurman, one of the runners, shared that participating in races had been on her bucket list, and she was thrilled to finally accomplish it.

Alaska’s Mount Marathon, a challenging mountain race known for steep inclines and treacherous terrain, attracted hundreds of participants. Top runners effortlessly descended over loose rock and shale, making it a cherished Independence Day tradition in the coastal town of Seward.

In an effort to mitigate fire risks, some cities opted for drone shows instead of traditional firework displays. Drones equipped with lights were programmed to create stunning, dynamic shapes in the sky. Locations such as Los Angeles, Tahoe City in California, Salt Lake City, and Boulder, along with a few other towns in Colorado, showcased these aerial spectacles, featuring massive American flags and the year 1776 in red, white, and blue. This alternative to fireworks helps minimize the danger of fires in areas already ravaged by significant wildfires.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District in Southern California issued an alert due to high levels of airborne particles resulting from fireworks, warning of potential health problems. The advisory, covering Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties, remained in effect until Wednesday.

Highland Park, a Chicago suburb that experienced a shooting incident during last year’s Fourth of July parade resulting in seven deaths, held a drone show this year to avoid the startling noise associated with fireworks.

Tragically, gun violence marred the celebratory atmosphere in some places, with fatal shootings reported in Philadelphia and Texas. Additionally, a fireworks explosion in western Michigan claimed one life and injured nine others on Monday, according to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Fourth of July celebrations

Q: What events take place on the Fourth of July in the United States?

A: On the Fourth of July, Americans celebrate the nation’s founding with a variety of events such as parades, fireworks displays, hot dog eating contests, concerts, and patriotic gatherings.

Q: Were there any weather-related disruptions during the Fourth of July celebrations?

A: Yes, some events faced weather challenges. Heavy rain and thunderstorms led to the postponement of fireworks shows in Yankton, South Dakota, and Omaha, Nebraska. The Atlanta Peachtree Road Race was cut short due to possible thunderstorms. Additionally, some Colorado towns and suburbs canceled their fireworks celebrations due to thunderstorm alerts.

Q: How did President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris celebrate the Fourth of July?

A: President Joe Biden hosted a barbecue for military families at the White House, expressing gratitude for their service and emphasizing the importance of unity. Vice President Kamala Harris visited a Los Angeles fire station to pay tribute to first responders who risk their lives for their communities.

Q: Were there any alternative celebrations or unique activities on the Fourth of July?

A: Yes, some cities opted for drone shows instead of traditional fireworks displays to minimize fire risks. Events like the National Tom Sawyer Days in Hannibal, Missouri, featuring fence-painting and frog-jumping contests, and the “CORNival” in Altoona, Iowa, celebrating the anniversary of hybrid seed corn, offered unique and local ways to celebrate.

Q: Were there any incidents or disruptions during the Fourth of July celebrations?

A: Unfortunately, there were some incidents. Shootings occurred in Philadelphia and Texas, resulting in fatalities. Additionally, a fireworks explosion in western Michigan claimed one life and injured several others. Safety precautions and measures are essential during such celebrations.

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4 comments

ConcernedCitizen July 5, 2023 - 6:06 pm

it’s sad to hear about the shootings and the fireworks accident. we should all prioritize safety during celebrations. #StaySafe

Reply
RunningFanatic July 5, 2023 - 6:54 pm

2k ppl runnin in lexington’s downtown. so much fun! i did it too! bucket list item ✅ #runninggoals

Reply
RunningFanatic July 7, 2023 - 1:12 am

2k ppl runnin in lexington’s downtown. so much fun! i did it too! bucket list item ✅ #runninggoals

Reply
ConcernedCitizen July 7, 2023 - 3:39 am

it’s sad to hear about the shootings and the fireworks accident. we should all prioritize safety during celebrations. #StaySafe

Reply

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