Move July Fourth celebration to another level


DC Fireworks (Photo courtesy of PBS and Capitol Fourth)
DC Fireworks (Photo courtesy of PBS and Capitol Fourth)



There’s nothing wrong with going to a local parade followed by watching a neighboring town’s fireworks. But if interested in celebrating the day the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence differently this year, consider visiting a historic town or watching the exceptional concert and fireworks of “A Capitol Fourth” on national TV.




The historic town of Galena, IL has yummy shops and good festivals. (J Jacobs photo)
The historic town of Galena, IL has yummy shops and good festivals. (J Jacobs photo)


Galena, a small, historic town celebrates with floats and fireworks 


The Galena Territory in far northwest Illinois is rife with 19th century historic sites.


Indeed, a large portion of the downtown of the City of Galena is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is President Ulysses S. Grant’s hometown, a stopping place for Abraham Lincoln when he campaigned for presidential hopeful John Fremont, and the town of the oldest operating hotel in Illinois, the DeSota House.


Even though Galena is a small town with a population of of less than 3,500 (2010 census), its historic buildings, really good dining spots and B&Bs and surrounding picturesque hills have made it a popular destination with fun art and wine festivals and such special events as its annual 4th of July parade, celebration and fireworks.


What you need to know: The 23rd Annual Galena Independence Day Celebration and the parade is on Main Street. The fun begins at 3 p.m. Then the parade is at 6 p.m.  After the parade, go to the Green Street Plaza for food, beverages and live entertainment until the fireworks start at dusk in Grant Park. For a high view of the fireworks, reserve a spot at the Rooftop Party on the DeSoto House Hotel. For more information call (815) 776-9200 and check out Visit Galena.




Annual Capitol Fourth celebration in Washington D.C. (Photo courtesy of PBS and Capitol Fourth)
Annual Capitol Fourth celebration in Washington D.C. (Photo courtesy of PBS and Capitol Fourth)


Washing D.C. celebrates the country’s Declaration of Independence in a big-town, Capitol Fourth way.


First, there is a fabulous concert on the West Lawn of the United states Capitol building. Hosted by acotr/producer John Stamos, it will feature Carole King and the Broadway cast of Beautiful, recording artist and television/ film/Broadway star Vanessa Williams, award winning electronic violinist Lindsey Stirling, Rock and Roll Hall of Famers/R&B legends The O’Jays; plus several more award-winning vocalists with the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jack Everly


In addition, the concert includes Patrick Lundy & The Ministers of Music, the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the U.S. Army Ceremonial Band, Members of the Armed Forces carrying the State and Territorial Flags and the Armed Forces Color Guard provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.


The event also has a family treat thanks to the Sesame Street Muppets performing patriotic and other well-known songs. Of course, the concert will pay tribute to men and women in uniform with a special performance by the MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band.


Fireworks begin at dusk while the Natiional Symphony Orchestra continues to play patriotic tunes.


What you need to know: “A Capitol Fourth” will air on PBS Thursday, July 4, 2019 from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. ET. The program can also be heard live in stereo over NPR member stations and will be live-streamed on, YouTube and Facebook. Plus, kids activities connected to the holiday can be found at Fun/Fourtth July Activities.


“A Capitol Fourth” is made possible by grants from The Boeing Company, the National Park Service, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Department of the Army, PBS and public television viewers nationwide. Air travel is provided by American Airlines.




Author: Jodie

Longtime Chicago Tribune contributor for news and features. Travel writer for What's Happening, Great Lakes Boating, CBS Theater for Examiner and A&E for CBS

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