From Southside to NoVA, here’s a look at some traditional, some new and just uniquely Virginia ways to watch Independence Day fireworks.
SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE-The celebration starts early this year. Actually, it makes perfect sense. After COVID-19 shut down all Independence Day fireworks celebrations in 2020, we have some lost time to make up for.
And that’s exactly what’s happening across the Commonwealth over the next three days. Celebrations start today, even with the weather, and stretch out through Sunday. Here’s a look at some of what’s going on.
Rocky Mount’s Independence Day Fireworks Festival
When: tonight at 5 p.m.
Where: Franklin County High School, 700 Tanyard Road, Rocky Mount.
What: Admission to the festival is free. There will be music by the Harwell Grice Band and fireworks at dusk.
Downtown Lynchburg Fireworks
When: tonight at 9:15 p.m.
Where: You can see the show from multiple places around the city, but residents recommend Riverfront Park, 1100 Jefferson St., Lynchburg
What: The city’s annual fireworks show.
Independence Day Fireworks in Chatham
When: tonight at dusk
Where: Hargrave Military Academy, 200 Military Dr., Chatham
What: Chatham’s fireworks show will be seen around town.
Fort Lee Independence Day Celebration
When: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: 1821 B Ave, Fort Lee (Williams Stadium)
What: Fort Lee’s celebration is open to all Department of Defense ID cardholders (if you don’t qualify, there’s still the fireworks. We’ll cover that in a minute). Admission to the celebration is free, with a DJ taking the stage at 5 p.m. There will also be food trucks set up all around the stadium. Fireworks will start at 9:30 a.m. and will be able to be seen by most of the Colonial Heights and Petersburg area.
Tri-City Chili Peppers Celebration
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Shepherd Stadium, 901 Meridian Avenue, Colonial Heights
What: The Tri-City Chili Peppers baseball team will take on the Peninsula Pirates in a Coastal Plain League game, with fireworks after the show.
Hopewell Fireworks Celebration
When: 9:30 p.m.
Where: Visible across the city, but especially in the downtown area
What: The Appomattox River channel between City Point and the State Route 10 bridge will be closed Saturday night. However, you can launch boats from Dutch Gap Boat Landing, Hopewell City Marina and Jordan Point Marina to watch the fireworks display.
The 90’s Experience
When: Doors open at 11 a.m.
Where: Dominion Raceway & Entertainment, 6501 Dominion Raceway, Woodford
What: Can’t get enough of those 1990s tunes? Then boy, does Flatout Entertainment have an experience for you. Six performers hit the stage for what event organizers promote as an “explosive” July 4 festival.
Performers include Northeast Groovers, EU featuring Sugar Bear, Pure Elegance, Pleasure Band Tribute, the Optimystic Tribe and special guest GINUWINE.
Tickets start at $60 for general admission and are available in advance. The festival culminates with a fireworks show after dusk.
Fairfax Independence Day Fireworks Celebration
When: 6:30 p.m.
Where: Fairfax High School, 3501 Lion Run, Fairfax
What: With a “one flag, one hand, one heart” theme, the event kicks off the city’s 55th Annual Independence Day celebration.
Music and dancing commence at Fairfax High School as visitors await a fireworks show on the football field.
Due to COVID restrictions, the celebration won’t feature children’s activities this year. However, a parade featuring nine high school marching bands, inflatable parade balloons, floats and clowns takes place the day before, starting at 10 a.m. The parade begins at 4100 Chain Bridge Rd and loops around downtown Fairfax, along Chain Bridge Rd, Main St, University Dr and Armstrong St.
Colonial Williamsburg July 4 Celebration
When: 9:30 a.m.
Where: Colonial Williamsburg, 101 Visitor Center Dr, Williamsburg
What: Do you enjoy history? If so, imagine celebrating the 4th of July on the streets of Colonial Williamsburg.
The festivities begin at 9:30 a.m. with a reading of the Declaration of Independence by a Thomas Jefferson impersonator at the Capitol West Balcony.
At 10:15 a.m. at Market Square, the Virginia Military Garrison will present a special muster in commemoration of the 245th anniversary of America’s birth as a nation. The presentation will include a salute to the original 13 states.
Events continue throughout the day, including a 20-minute audio festival of 18th century music, an Independence Day auction and a multimedia installation at the site of the ongoing excavation of the historic First Baptist Church’s first permanent location on S. Nassau St.
The evening culminates with a 20-minute firework show with viewing locations at Palace Green, Market Square and the East Lawn of the Art Museums.
Independence Day Celebration at Mount Trashmore Park
When: 8 p.m.
Where: Mount Trashmore Park, 310 Edwin Dr, Virginia Beach
What: Sure, there are lots of great places to watch the fireworks on Independence Day in Virginia. One of the more unique locations is in Virginia Beach.
In the late 1960s early 70s, the city converted a 640,000-ton pile of garbage into the nation’s first landfill park. Now, the main “mountain” at Mount Trashmore rises over 60 feet high and scales over 800 feet in length.
Set on 165 acres, Mount Trashmore Park features two man-made mountains, two lakes, two playgrounds, a skate park and vert ramp and multi-use paths. Come July 4, it will also serves as a great spot to see fireworks.
In addition to the pyrotechnic sky show, the event will feature a DJ and food vendors.
Smith Mountain Lake Fireworks Benefit
When: 9 p.m.
Where: Mitchell’s Point Marina, 3553 Trading Post Road, Huddleston
What: Normally on Smith Mountain Lake, the Saunders Volunteer Fire Department holds an Independence Day fireworks show. A 27-year tradition, boats fill the water and people line up on shore in cars and on blankets. But there’s so much involved, it takes six months for the fire department to fundraise. They couldn’t do that this year, as the department only learned restrictions would be lifted in May.
Mitchell’s Point Marina is stepping in to help. The group, which typically has a July 2 fireworks show, announced it would also hold a July 4 show and collect donations for Saunders.
Celebration Turns 70 in Narrows
When: Starting at 12:30 p.m.
Where: Narrows Town Park, 110 Mary Street, Narrows
What: The Town of Narrows has held an Independence Day celebration for the last 70 years. Things start at 12:30 p.m., with a kids parade. Kids come dressed in their best patriotic clothes and decorate their bikes and scooters. After the parade, there will be food, games, vendors and music, at this place locals call ‘The Boom’.
It’s called ‘The Boom’ because loggers used to float logs down to the Mill Pond, located a small distance from the park, to be cut into boards. As the logs arrived at the pond, they banged against other logs already in the water, producing a loud boom.
As for fireworks, those start at 9:45 p.m.
Independence Day in Yorktown
When: Starting at 8 a.m.
Where: Yorktown Beach & Victory Monument, 803 Main St, Yorktown
What: You can “Follow in the Footsteps of Heroes” in Yorktown on Independence Day. The 8k run and walk is the first event, kicking off a more-than-12-hour day of celebration near the very place where Gen. Cornwallis raised the white flag more than 200 years ago.
After the race, the Wave That Red, White & Blue! Parade winds through Historic Yorktown as groups of musicians, politicians, civic groups and performers pass by, waving to the crowds and passing out flags.
At 1 p.m. at Riverwalk Landing, enjoy corn hole, hula hoops, outdoor games and a hot dog eating contest presented by Carrot Tree Kitchens.
At 7 p.m., the York County Historical Museum hosts a symbolic program acknowledging all 13 colonies, along with the original signers from the Second Continental Congress who together formed the United States of America. The Fifes and Drums of York Town kick off the event at the Riverwalk Landing Performance Stage and each year a different child from the audience rings the bell.
Following the program, a Super Jazz Band concert featuring Conni Ironmonger will take place, all leading up to the big fireworks finale at 9:15 p.m.
Red, White, Blue ‘n Greene Independence Day Fireworks
When: Starting at 5 p.m.
Where: 13510 Spotswood Trl, Ruckersville
What: The Red, White, Blue ‘n Greene Independence Day celebration is back this year! But don’t show up at the old spot, or you might find yourself celebrating alone. The celebration takes place at a new location in 2021.
The festivities begin at 5 p.m. with a parade down Main St in Historic Stanardsville.
Then, the evening shifts to 13510 Spotswood Trl in Ruckersville. There, celebrants will enjoy live music by Groove Train & Lydia Station, children’s activities, food trucks, vendors and the Capitol Sheds Fireworks Display.
Shenandoah Valley Golf Club Fourth of July Celebration
When: 5:30 p.m.
Where: Shenandoah Valley Golf Club, 134 Golf Club Cir, Front Royal
What: Food, fun and fireworks – that’s what’s taking place at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club on the 4th of July.
Exciting games and actives include corn hole and a slip n’ slide, as well as a barbecue dinner with chicken, a beverage, sides and desserts included with each ticket.
The event also features a live musical performance by Robbie Limon on the main stage from 7 p.m. until dark. Event organizers encourage guests to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets.
Following the concert, visitors will hear patriotic music while watching the fireworks.
Town of Cape Charles 4th of July 2021 Celebration
When: Starting at 8 a.m.
Where: Bay Ave, Cape Charles
What: Join the Town of Cape Charles’ July 4th festivities as they host a parade, live music, food vendors, organizations, craft vendors and fireworks.
Food vendors include The Chicken Smells Good, Dogs by the Bay, LLC, In and Out Box, Road Dogs, LLC, Roop’s Imbiss, Seafood City and Wendell’s Distributing.
Artisans include Anchors Aweigh Stained Glass, Cal’s Putterings, CC Life – Bay Livin’, Coastal Creations, Copper Creations, Craftlab, Joan Devaney, The Doll House, Sharon Douglass, Donna Headley, Julla Lemieszek, Mich Mo Art, Tammy Miller, Joanne Powell, Barb Prevento, Ernest Price, Tonya Price, Janie Riggs, Edwards Sayers, Jr., Sew Shore MD, The Ship’s Hold, Chris Stuebbe, TK’s Crafts & Creations, Yvonne Torelli and Tumbles by the Bay.
Fireworks take place after dark along Bay Ave.
Fourth of July Great American Picnic and Fireworks
When: 5 p.m.
Where: Town Point Park Downtown Norfolk Waterfront, 113 Waterside Dr, Norfolk
What: The Fourth of July Great American Picnic and Fireworks takes place along the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront with the one of the largest fireworks shows in the region beginning at 9:30 p.m. over the Elizabeth River.
The festival features all-American food favorites including hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue, seafood and more. Adult beverage options include beer, wine and themed cocktails.
The celebration features a full afternoon of patriotic musical performances including the U.S. Fleet Forces Ceremonial Band, the U.S. Fleet Forces 4-Star Edition Band and Brasswind. Guests may bring their own lawn chair or blanket to enjoy the show.
Following the fireworks, a DJ afterparty begins at 10 p.m.
Great Meadow Independence Day Fireworks
When: 6 p.m.
Where: 5089 Old Tavern Rd, The Plains
What: For the 32nd year, Great Meadow hosts a Northern Virginia fireworks show from its internationally acclaimed steeplechase course. The entire course and property light up in patriotic colors.
The show begins at dark with a pre-selected musical score accompanying 25 minutes worth of fireworks.
In addition to the big finale, the event also features a Best Turned Out Tailgate Award, the Andre Fox Band playing live music and brief remarks from the Great Meadow Foundation.
Tickets are $40 and admit one car of up to five people.
When: 3 p.m.
Where: Historic Downtown Manassas, Center Street, Manassas
What: It’s an all-American party in Historic Downtown Manassas as the city celebrates Independence Day.
The celebration surrounds the Manassas Visitor’s Center, the Harris Pavilion, the Manassas Museum and Downtown Manassas.
The Harris Pavilion will feature photos from the community house decorating contest from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. At 3 p.m., children interested in participating in the bicycle decorating contest can show off their decor and art skills.
Beginning at 4 p.m., food concessions and novelty vendors will set up in the streets and parking lots surrounding the Manassas Visitor’s Center and the Harris Pavilion. At 9:15 p.m., fireworks go up with viewing available at the Manassas Museum Lawn.
July 4th Fireworks and Community Celebration
When: 7 p.m.
Where: Glen Maury Park, 101 Maury Park Dr, Buena Vista
What: Get your dancing shoes and head on out to Buena Vista for a concert featuring the Dundies at the Grand Stage Pavilion by the caboose.
Tickets are $5 at the gate and kids 16 and under are free. Full concession and beverage stations will operate all night.
A pause in the music starts at 9:30 p.m. as Master Displays of Roanoke produces a fireworks spectacular. Event organizers tease that this year’s show will be bigger and better than ever before – with a variety of fireworks never before displayed in Rockbridge County.
Hillsville’s Independence Day Celebration
When: 4 p.m.
Where: 701 West Stuart Dr, Hillsville
What: Event organizers ask that everyone wear their red, white and blue and bring their dancing shoes for Hillsville’s Independence Day celebration.
Festivities begin with a parade at 4 p.m. on N. Main St, which ends at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1115.
The ACE Party Band takes the stage at 7 p.m. An hour later, free watermelon, at-cost food vendors and dancing begin.
The evening culminates in a fireworks display.
Amie Knowles reports for The Dogwood. You can reach her at [email protected]