Huge explosions, giant colorful displays, live music and a ton of food: Nothing is more thoroughly American than a Fourth of July celebration, and the discerning festival-goer may be in search of the biggest and best bangs. There’ll be an assortment of red, white, and kaboom-themed events set to blow the roof off of Independence Day throughout the weekend. Unfortunately, you can’t go see all of them*, so here are our top picks.
(*Let us know if you do see all of them.)
4th of July in Lititz Springs Park (Lititz)
This shindig kicks off at 12 p.m. on Saturday. Themed “Red, White, and Cool,” the schedule is jam-packed with throwback and retro events like 1950s-inspired dance presentations and a “’50s Doo Wop” presentation by Chris Poje. Even the Baby Parade at 4 p.m. promises to have a bit of a retro spin, as it shares its theme with the rest of the event. Speaking of babies and other assorted, slightly larger teacup humans – Rita Clarke, master storyteller, will be working her magic at the Burkholder Pavilion at 3 p.m. If you want to pretend you’re too cool for storytime nostalgia, whatever, that’s your problem: other annual 4th of July events, like the Queen of Candles pageant, will, of course, take place in the park throughout the day as well. It all leads up to the choreographed pyrotechnical masterpiece that put Lititz’s celebration on the map, which will kick off at 9:45 p.m. Tickets are $12 at the gates.
Lancaster Barnstormers 4th of July (Lancaster)
The Lancaster Barnstormers will face off against the Camden River Sharks on Saturday at 7 p.m. Better get your tickets now. After the game, there’s going to be a giant “red, white, and BOOM” fireworks presentation, brought to the good citizens of Lancaster by the PA Lottery. What could be better, or, indeed, more American, than enjoying some hot dogs, some brew, and some exploding projectiles in the sky?
York has a full slate of Independence Day events planned at this year’s July4York at Santander Stadium. Admission is free, but you better bring the cash anyway, because there’ll be all sorts of stands and events to spend it at. There will be plenty of food available for purchase throughout the night. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. for the Family Fun Festival – there’ll be inflatables, food, and even a foam dance party. The Stauffer’s Playground will be open for kids of all ages as well. At 6 p.m., country-star-to-be Brittany Opperman will take the stage, followed by the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors at 8 p.m. Finally, at 9:30 p.m., the American Town Fireworks Display will go off with a big bang.
Harrisburg July 4th Celebration (Harrisburg)
Music, magic, and face-painting are on the docket at the Harrisburg July 4th celebration in front of the mayor’s office at 10 Front Street. The party starts at 10 a.m., and a wide variety of Central PA-based bands will be playing throughout the day. Even the fireworks in Metro Bank Park at the end of the evening will be accompanied by the dulcet tones of the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra.
Fireworks at Hersheypark (Hershey)
The day kicks off with a special presentation of the colors at the park’s front gate by the 193 Special Operations Wing, Base Honor Guard (based out of Harrisburg International Airport) and rousing rendition of the National Anthem by the Hersheypark Band at 9:45 a.m. If you work up an appetite from walking around the park, a Star-Spangled Picnic is available from 4-8 p.m. featuring an all-you-can-eat spread of burgers, hot dogs, pulled pork BBQ and more for $15 (cash bar is also be available). The day concludes with the park’s annual 4th of July fireworks display starting at 10:15 p.m. – where else can you ride a roller coaster and watch the booms and bangs at the same time?
Long’s Park July 5th Celebration (Lancaster)
If you still haven’t gotten your fill of big bands and bigger bangs come Sunday, pack up your lawn chairs, grab your blankets and head over to Long’s Park by 7:30p.m. to enjoy some food vendors and an epic patriotic concert featuring the U.S. Army Concert Band, a.k.a. “Pershing’s Own.” After their performance, stick around: there will be – you guessed it – fireworks. Lots of ’em.
The whistlers. The weeping willows. The really loud flash bangs. Which type of firework is your favorite? Tell us why below…