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July 4 Events

In The Phoenix Metro

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Interesting, Yet Relative Unknown Trivia About July 4 As Well As A Sampling Of Some Of The Biggest And Best Things To Do Over The Independence Day Weekend


By Staff Report
Modern Times Magazine

July 1, 2015 — Fireworks, pyrotechnics and family events on July 4 are as American as apple pie and Chevrolet, but the day is more than just a time of celebration for people in the United States.

In fact, July 4 has been a heckuva day for nearly everyone in all of the corners of the world at some point or another. To wit:

1054 – A supernova is seen by Chinese, Arab and possibly Amerindian observers near the star Zeta Tauri. For several months it remains bright enough to be seen during the day. Its remnants formed the Crab Nebula.
1802 – At West Point, New York, the United States Military Academy opens.
1862 – Lewis Carroll tells Alice Liddell a story that would grow into Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels.
1863 – American Civil War: The Army of Northern Virginia withdrew from the battlefield after losing the Battle of Gettysburg, signalling an end to the Southern invasion of the North.
1886 – The people of France offer the Statue of Liberty to the people of the United States.
1918 – Bolsheviks killed Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family (Julian calendar date).
1934 – Leo Szilard patented the chain-reaction design for the atomic bomb.
1939 – Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, informs a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considered himself "The luckiest man on the face of the earth", then announces his retirement from major league baseball.
1947 – The "Indian Independence Bill" is presented before the British House of Commons, proposing the independence of the Provinces of British India into two sovereign countries: India and Pakistan.
1951 – William Shockley announced the invention of the junction transistor.
1997 – NASA's Pathfinder space probe lands on the surface of Mars.
2012 – The discovery of particles consistent with the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider is announced at CERN.

Impressive events, all, but what might be even more interesting is John Adams thought July 2 would actually be remembered as the date of independence for the new republic. In a letter to his wife Abigail, he said, “The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.”

Such a statement may seem like a colossal miscalculation, but Adams actually is technically correct, since the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence on July 2. It was later signed over the course of a month and the Declaration itself carried the date July 4.

Some other interesting U.S.-based factoids about July 4:
  • In 1781 the Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration.
  • Held since 1785, the Bristol Fourth of July Parade in Bristol, R.I., is the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States.
  • 1826 – Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, dies the same day as John Adams, second president of the United States, on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence.
  • 1831 – Samuel Francis Smith writes My Country, 'Tis of Thee for the Boston, Massachusetts July 4 festivities.
  • Since 1868, Seward, Neb., has held a celebration on the same town square. In 1979 Seward was designated “America's Official Fourth of July City-Small Town USA” by resolution of Congress.
  • In 1870, the U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees.
  • In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.
  • Since 1972, the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest has been held in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City.

With the Phoenix metro might not have the longest traditions — besides the first rodeo being a July 4 event in Prescott — or any big eating contests, the area does have some great events that might some day acquire such status. Below, find a smattering of the most popular in 2015.

Thursday, July 2

The 2015 Light Up the Sky Festival is at Maryvale Baseball Park, 3600 N. 51st Ave., Phoenix, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. For more information on this free event, call 602-262-6275 or visit

Anthem Independence Day Celebration will be held at the Anthem Community Center, 41703 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway from 6 to 10 p.m. Along with the traditional fireworks display, fun rides, activities and festival food, families bring blankets and lawn chairs and sit back to enjoy the spectacular event. For more information, visit

Friday, July 3

The Independence Day Music Festival with Wilco, and Dr. Dog is at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, 7555 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale. Gates open at 5 p.m. For more information visit

The National Comedy Theatre Improv, 1111 S. Longmore, Mesa, will host Patriot-A-Palooza: Comedy for America Friday July 3 at 7:30 and 9:45 p.m. Two teams of comedians will compete for audience points. Admission is $12 or $14. For more information, visit

Ahwatukee Red, White and Boom will be held at Ahwatukee Country Club, 12432 S. 48th Street,, Phoenix. Entrance is on 48th Street only. This free event will be held from from 5 to 10 p.m. Fireworks will begin at 9 p.m. Coolers are permitted, but no glass. Bottled water and leashed pets are allowed. Parking is $10. The dedicated parking lot across the street is $10. For more information, visit

Pleasant Harbor July 3rd Fireworks Show, 8708 W. Harbor Blvd., Peoria, will be held from 5 to 10 p.m. Activities will include bounce houses, water slides, and more. Admission is free, but parking at the lake is $12 per vehicle. Lawn chairs and coolers are allowed. Fireworks will be launched from Vista Point at 9 p.m.. For more information, call 928-501-5253 or visit

Friday, July 4

4th of July at WestWorld, 16601 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale, 2 to 9:30 p.m. is air-conditioned fun. Tickets are $12 in advance, $6 for Scottsdale residents and free for children under 6. For more information visit

Chandler’s 4th of July Fireworks Celebration is at Tumbleweed Park, 2250 S. McQueen Rd, Chandler, 4 to 10 p.m., presented by Chandler Lions Club and City of Chandler. Admission is free, parking is $5. For more information on this event, visit

The July 4th Tempe Town Lake Festival is at 80 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., 4 to 11 p.m. Admission is $5. For more information visit

Surprise's Annual July 4th Celebration will be held from 4:30 to 8:45 p.m. at Surprise Recreation Campus, 5850 N. Bullard Avenue, Surprise. The event features a Rookie League Baseball Game between the players from the Kansas City Royals and seattle Mariners organizations. Fireworks set to patriotic music is expected to begin at 8:30 p.m. Admission is limited to 10,000. Parking is free and admission is also free with a donation of canned food. For more information, visit or call 623-222-2000.

The 3rd Annual Westgate Firework Fest is at 6751 N. Sunset Blvd., Glendale, 5 to 9:30 p.m. Pop group Before You Exit will perform and there will also be a splash area for kids. In the beer garden will be performances by Ryan Sims, Jay Allan & The Uncommon Good and Shallow Water. For more information visit

Fourth at the Fountain will be held at the Fountain Hills, Fountain (of course) featuring Hilltop Band and bounce houses for the kids beginning at 5 p.m. Admission is $5. Food, drink and merchandise vendors will be on hand. Fireworks will begin at 9 p.m. For more information, call 480-836-4100.

4th of July Cave Creek Fireworks & Food Trucks Extravaganza will be held at 6424 E. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Admission is $12 per adult, $8 per child 2 to 12, kids under 2 and veterans free. For more information, call 480-387-2630 or visit

The 30th Annual Fabulous Phoenix Fourth is at Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 6 to 9:30 p.m. This free event is expected to draw more than 100,000 and will feature two stages of live local entertainment, free inflatable rides and activities, classic cars, a cool-off area, and a patriotic program. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m. For more information visit

Arizona Celebration of Freedom is in downtown Mesa at 263 N. Center Street, 6 to 10:30 p.m. For more information visit

The Phoenix Zoo, 455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, will host 4th a Zoo-ly Celebration from 7 to 10 p.m. Admission is $45 for adults and $35 for children and will include catered BBQ dinner at the Lakeside Lawn from 7 to 8:30 p.m., free carousel rides from 7 to 8:30 p.m., face painting, bounce houses and other activities as well as special animal guests and music. The Phoenix Zoo also offers a great view of the Tempe Town Lake Fireworks at 9 p.m. For more information, visit

Buckeye's Old Fashioned Independence Day Celebration will be held once again at Youngker High School, 3000 S. Apache Rd., Buckeye, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit

Gilbert's Fire in the Sky, will be held from 5 to 10 p.m. at Central Christian Church, 965 E. Germann Rd, Gilbert. For more information, visit

The Wigwam Independence Day Celebration, 300 Wigwam Blvd., will begin at 8:30 p.m. at the first fairway of the Patriot’s course. Admission is free. For more information, visit

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