Celebrate the Fourth
If you stayed in the DMV for the holiday – or came to visit – the main attraction this weekend in the Nation’s Capitol are the fireworks on the National Mall. Of course, there are plenty of other patriotic activities to fill your Independence Day weekend.
Metro will be open from 7 a.m.-3 a.m. Friday and Saturday for the holiday. Parking is free at all Metro parking lots from Friday-Sunday. On Saturday, trains will run on a regular Saturday schedule until about 2 p.m., and then gradually ramp up to near rush-hour service levels before and after the fireworks. Due to large crowds, bicycles and large coolers are not permitted. Silver Line trains will operate only between Wiehle-Reston East and Stadium-Armory the entire day. Passengers traveling to/from stations east of Stadium-Armory will need to use a Blue Line train to complete their trip.
Public access to the National Mall begins at 10 a.m. and requires a security screening – go to nps.gove/foju for a list of prohibited items. The Mall is closed from Seventh to 14th Streets. Fireworks are launched from the Reflecting Pool area, so it will be especially loud at around the Lincoln Memorial. The fireworks begin at 9:09 p.m. and last until about 9:27 p.m.
Boom in the burbs
Annapolis: One of the area’s few evening parades begins at Amos Garrett Boulevard and heads toward the Market House by way of West Street, Church Circle, Main Street and Randall Street. The U.S. Naval Academy Concert Band will play from 8 p.m. until dark in the city dock area, where the parade will end, and fireworks will be visible from there beginning at 9:15 p.m. FREE.
Fairfax: A parade featuring high school marching bands, balloons and horses will loop around downtown Fairfax along Chain Bridge Road, Main Street, University Drive and Armstrong Street beginning at 10 a.m. Staring at 7 p.m. at Fairfax High School, 3501 Rebel Run, enjoy the music of the City of Fairfax Band at 7 and 8:30 p.m. and Almost Journey at 8:20 p.m.. Fireworks will follow beginning at 9:30 p.m. with 2U performing from 9:45-10:30 p.m. FREE.
Falls Church: A concert by the Beach Bumz will begin at 7 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9:20 p.m. Bring blankets for seating at George Mason High School, 7124 Leesburg Pike. FREE.
Gaithersburg: Head to the Montgomery County Agricultural Fairgrounds, 16 Chestnut St., where a grand fireworks display draws families from across the region. Gates open at 5 p.m., so catch music from the Rollex Band at 7 and 8:20 p.m. along with strolling entertainment and family until dark, when the sky comes to life. Bring food and blankets to enjoy a picnic or purchase food from vendors. Only handicapped parking is available at the fairgrounds. FREE.
Germantown: Live music at the South Germantown Recreational Center, 18041 Central Park Circle, Boyds, begins at 7 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9:15 p.m. FREE.
Great Falls: The Great Falls 5K Walk/Run kicks off activities at 8 a.m. at the Freedom Memorial followed by a parade at 10 a.m. with floats, antique cars, horses and a bike brigade beginning at Leesburg Road and Columbine Street then over and around the Village Centre Green. After the parade, enjoy burgers and festivities on the Village Center Green from 10-2:30 p.m. At 6 p.m., the fun moves to Turn Farm Park with music, games, contests and food trucks followed by fireworks at dusk.
Kennsington: Live music at the Albert Einstein High School, 1135 Newport Mill Road, begins at 7:30 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Free shuttle buses start at 6:15 p.m. from the Westfield Wheaton Metro parking garage adjacent to J.C. Penney. Rain date for fireworks is Sunday. FREE
Leesburg: A parade steps off at 10 a.m. and travels down King Street to Fairfax Street. The evening’s events at Ida Lee Park, 60 Ida Lee Dr. NW, kick off at 6 p.m. and include music, funnel cakes, ice cream, barbecue and other goodies. Fireworks start at 9:30 p.m FREE.
Laurel: The city’s 37th annual parade is on Fourth Street starting at 11 a.m. and is followed by an antique car show and live music in Gude Park at Laurel Lakes.. There will be a hot dog eating contest at 2:30 p.m. Music by Oracle at 5:15 and 7:30 p.m. Fireworks start at 9:15 p.m. FREE.
Manassas: Live music, apple-and peach pie-baking contest, a watermelon-eating contest, rides for the kids and food vendors starting at 3 p.m. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to watch fireworks from the lawn of the Manassas Museum, Center Street, starting at 9:15 p.m. FREE.
Reston: Enjoy live music, food vendors and other activities at Lake Fairfax Park, 1400 Lake Fairfax Dr. from 4-8 p.m. Get there early and enjoy the Water Mine water park, which is open from 10 a.m.-8 p.m., and the carousel and marina, which are open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Live music is from 4-9 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9:15 p.m. FREE.
Takoma Park: A parade starts at 10 a.m. at Carroll and Ethan Allen Avenues, turns south on Carroll Avenue to Maple Avenue, then right on Maple Avenue to Ritchie Avenue. An evening program, featuring the Polphony Marimba Band and the Takoma Park Community Concert Band begins at 7 p.m. at Takoma Park Middle School, 7611 Piney Branch Road, with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. FREE.
Vienna: The Rockin’ Independence Eve fireworks show starts at 9:15 p.m. on Friday, July 3. But the festivities get started long before the free 9:15 p.m. display of colorful pyrotechnics at Southside Park, 1315 Ross Dr. SW. At 7 p.m., Fat Chance performs at Yeonas Park, 1319 Ross Dr. SW.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival
The annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, which spotlights Peru, wraps up this weekend. Enjoy music and dance performances, Peruvian cuisine, demonstrations and more.
Through July 5 from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. with a nightly concert at 7 p.m. on The National Mall between Third and Fourth Streets NW. Admission is FREE!
Jazz in the Garden
There’s nothing better than free outdoor music on a warm summer night. Pack a picnic and enjoy the music at Jazz in the Garden. A different jazz artist will be featured each Friday during the summer. You can bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverages, but beer, wine, sangria and mixed drinks must be purchased from the Pavilion Café. A special menu of appetizers, entrees and salads is also available at the café, while an outdoor grill will serve barbecue pork sandwiches, beef and chicken kabobs and chicken sausages. A gelato cart will also be available. Speakers of the House, who play old-school funk, boogaloo and rock perform this week, followed by Hendrick Meurkens, who plays jazz xylophone and harmonica, next week.
Every Friday through Aug. 28 from 5-8:30 p.m. at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden, Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Admission is FREE!
July 4th at the National Archives
Visit July 4th at the National Archives to boo the list of grievances against King George III and cheer “Huzzah!” as we declare our independence on the steps of the National Archives, while enjoying a full day of family-friendly activities in our nation’s capitol. You’ll also have the chance to sign a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence. The event also features a presentation of colors, patriotic performances from Founding Fathers, live musical renditions of American classics and a riveting reading of the Declaration. Visitors can also step inside the museum to view two other vital American documents housed by the Archives: the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution.
July 4 from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at the National Archives, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Admission is FREE!
National Independence Day Parade
Start your day off with the National Independence Day Parade, complete with patriotic floats, military units, Fife and drum corps, floats, giant balloons, equestrian, drill teams, VIPs, national dignitaries, celebrities and marching bands, all of which strut down Constitution Avenue.
July 4 starting at 11:45 a.m. along Constitution Avenue from 7th Street west to 17th Street NW. Admission is FREE!
A Capitol Fourth
Evening brings the 35th anniversary of A Capitol Fourth starting with a performance by the National Symphony Orchestra. Other performers include Bradley Whitford, Alabama, Nicole Scherzinger, Hunter Hayes, Meghan Linsey, KC and the Sunshine Band, Lang Long, Ronan Tynan, Robert Davi, Jack Everly, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, military bands and the featured performer, Barry Manilow. Visitors are welcome to take food and refreshments, but alcohol is prohibited as are glass bottles, bicycles, oversized umbrellas and duffle bags. The show will be followed by the fireworks on the National Mall.
July 4 with gates opening at 3 p.m. and the concert beginning at 8-9:30 p.m. on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Gates are located at Third Street and Maryland Avenue SW and Third Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. A full dress rehearsal will be held from 8-9:30 p.m. on July 3. Admission to both is FREE!
The National Building Museum once again create a one-of-a-kind destination with an interactive architectural installation that brings the quintessential summer experience of going to the beach to the city. Spanning across the museum’s Great Hall, The Beach, covers 10,000 square feet and includes an “ocean” of nearly one million recyclable translucent plastic balls. The Beach is contained within an enclosure and built out of construction materials such as scaffolding, wooden panels and perforated mesh, all clad in stark white. Monochromatic beach chairs and umbrellas sprinkle the 50-foot wide “shoreline,” and the “ocean” will culminate in a mirrored wall that creates a seemingly infinite reflected expanse. Visitors are welcome to “swim” in the ocean or can spend an afternoon at the “shore’s” edge reading a good book, play beach-related activities such as paddleball, grab a refreshing drink at the snack bar operated by Union Kitchen or dangle their feet in the ocean off the pier. No sunscreen required.
July 4 through Sept. 7 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. Admission is $16 for adults and $13 for children 3-17, students with ID and seniors 60 and over.
Movies on the Potomac
National Harbor’s Movies on the Potomac will show National Treasure on the Plaza’s big screen. Pack your blankets, grab food to go from one of the many restaurants and watch a free movie with a view of the Potomac. July’s theme is Jungle Adventure.
July 5 at 6 p.m. at National Harbor’s Plaza, across from the Pees & Co. store, , 150 National Plaza. Admission is FREE, but parking is $3 for the first hour, $5 for 1-2 hours and $10 for 2-4 hours.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.