Uncle Sam’s favorite holiday bursts upon the scene midweek this year, causing a bit of a problem: Should you celebrate the weekend before, the weekend after, or on Wednesday, July 4th?
Most big cities will mark the traditional date, July 4th, with landmark fireworks shows and parades, but many smaller towns are holding events before or after the actual date, with the weekend of July 6-7th lining up as a favorite.
The bottom line: Independence Day 2012 offers a prime excuse to party all week long. Where should you go to see the biggest, boldest, most spectacular celebrations of our nation’s 236th birthday?
We asked a couple of people who know how to set the sky on fire – fireworks experts – for advice. “New York City tops the list,” says Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association, the trade association of the U.S. fireworks industry.
Her other raves include the shows in Lake Tahoe, Ca., Washington DC and Nashville, Tenn. And, she adds, “There are so many wonderful July 4th celebrations across the country and even the smallest hometown community display can be spectacular!”
We also talked to Jim Souza, owner of Pyro Spectaculars, one of the nation’s top fireworks manufacturers. Souza’s five-generation business has been lighting up the world’s celebrations for almost 100 years, including Olympic Games, presidential inaugurations, Super Bowls and Disney amusement parks.
“All the rockets are on the launch pad,” says Souza, who will produce 400 shows on July 4, including about half of the nation’s largest.
He agrees with Heckman that Macy’s New York show (which he produces) is the best.
“When you hear the crowd cheer, that’s the payday for people like us.”