During the summer, many Americans participate in events and festivals organized by local community groups — often by their local park and recreation departments, their home-owners associations, and various other community organizations.
Taking part in community-based, summertime events is a great way to connect with friends, family, and neighbors, all while making memories and having fun. A lot of events organized in the summer have become American traditions.
Independence Day, also called Fourth of July or July 4th, in the United States, is our annual celebration of nationhood. It commemorates the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.
The tradition of setting off fireworks on the 4th of July began in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777, during the first organized celebration of Independence Day. Ship’s cannon fired a 13-gun salute in honor of the 13 colonies. The Pennsylvania Evening Post reported: “at night there was a grand exhibition of fireworks (which began and concluded with thirteen rockets) on the Commons, and the city was beautifully illuminated.” That same night, the Sons of Liberty set off fireworks
In my community of Upper Arlington (UA) Ohio, the first UA Fourth of July Celebration was organized by the Upper Arlington Civic League in 1923. The Civic League was in charge until the Upper Arlington Civic Association (UACA) was formed in 1932 and took over in 1933. The tradition of Paul Revere’s ride (aka the morning wakeup call) began in 1938. Vehicles with loud speakers drove through the neighborhoods to wake-up the residents. It was a call to assemble and to let residents know that the Celebration was to begin at 6:30 a.m. when UACA volunteers pay homage to Paul Revere's famous ride and cruise the city with bullhorns to deliver customized wake-up calls.
There is an annual July Fourth parade, which begins at 9 a.m. at the intersection of Northwest Boulevard and Zollinger Road. People in Upper Arlington care about their front row seats at the 4th of July parade which is why you might notice that people will section off grass by the road and put lawn chairs out weeks before the parade to reserve a spot. Each year the parade has a different theme, and neighborhoods will design floats to compete with one another. There have been thousands of floats and cars and walkers in the Upper Arlington parade over the years.
Upper Arlington High School Class Reunions are also often held around the 4th of July to encourage people to come back home to celebrate. There are many class reunion floats in the parade as well.
The UACA has an annual Party in the Park at Northam Park with live music and food trucks. This is where they announce the winners from the parade. Upper Arlington ends the celebration with a fabulous fireworks display at Northam Park, sending community members home feeling that our nation’s independence was thoroughly and traditionally celebrated!
For us at Bellisari’s, a holiday isn’t really “celebrated” until it’s been done with at least a couple of delicious recipes using our convenient gourmet spreads and sauces, and the 4th of July is no exception! Try serving these at whatever celebration you attend:
Happy 4th of July from all of us at Bellisari’s!