It’s the Fourth of July! Good old Independence Day! A time to remember what makes this country great- liberty, democracy, freedom of press, freedom to set of massive pyrotechnic displays synchronized to Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi. Yes, I am talking about fireworks. Red white and blue explosions in the sky that have become as synonymous with America as the founding fathers and apple pie. Here’s the inside scoop on all of the Fourth of July celebrations in the Princeton area.
Approximately 5,000 people are expected to turn out for this display in Montgomery Township. Before the fireworks start local singers will lead the crowd in patriotic renditions of the Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America. Then at 7:30, rock/soul group “The Funkin’ Soul Nuts” will set the stage for a fabulous fireworks display starting at dusk.Everyone is encouraged to bring a picnic blanket or chair, kick-back, and take in the night’s sights and sounds. Pets and alcohol should be left at home and a parking pass (purchased at the Montgomery Recreation Department or the Montgomery Township Office) is strongly encouraged. $15 guarantees you a spot in the Montgomery High School parking lot which is as close as you can get to the festivities. More information at HERE.
Bring a picnic and spread out on the Princeton University athletic fields starting at 7 pm. Space is a major commodity at this annual celebration so get there early. The real show starts when it gets really dark, usually around 9 pm and it is spectacular. The explosions seem to go on and on and the scale is really incredible. The best spot is on the hill next to the baseball fields east of the stadium. More information HERE.
This is the 35th year for the Hamilton Township celebration. It promises to be a real classic rock and roll party with hits from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s from the Fabulous Greaseband. The party is in Veteran’s Park, inside the Kuser Road entrance. The event starts at 6:30 pm with music and food from local vendors and is followed by a magnificent fireworks extravaganza starting around 9 pm. The rain date is Sunday, July 3. More information HERE.
Stars n’ Stripes Fourth of July Celebration
To celebrate the USA in a slightly more quiet fashion (without explostions), check out the Stars n’ Stripes Celebration at the Open Air Theatre at Washington’s Crossing. This show is a salute to America’s greatest composers including songs from Rodgers and Hart, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and more. Light refreshments including ice cream are available before the show and at intermission. The show runs all weekend at 7:30 pm. More information HERE.
Check out the South Brunswick Independence Day Celebration at Cross Roads Middle School for music, food, and entertainment starting at 5 pm. They’ll be standard festival fare including face painting and balloons and food from local vendors but be sure to bring a blanket or chairs because once it gets dark the fireworks begin (9 pm). Rain day Sunday. More information HERE.
Go down to Etra Lake Park at 6 pm for food and entertainment from East Windsor. They’ll be local BBQ and music by Jerry Rife’s Rhythm Kings Dixieland Jazz Band and Trenton Brass Quintet Plus One and, of course, fireworks starting at 9:30. Organizers warn to get there early, or at least not right before the fireworks, because parking might be tight. Raindate Sunday, July 3. More information HERE.
The Rider University campus hosts Lawrence Township’s Fourth of July celebration. Though the Township struggled to come up with the funding, the mayor promises that this year will be bigger and better than ever. The band Kindred Spirits will start playing around 7:30 and the fireworks themselves will start once it’s really dark, around 9:30. Parking is limited on the campus so it’s suggested you get there early. More information HERE.
Take this day to commemorate this country on a slightly smaller scale. Fire up the grill, let the kids run through the sprinkler, and put some beers the cooler. Try a red, white, and blue burger with blue cheese, red onion, and baby spinach that you can pick up from any of the local farmers’ markets or stop by Princeton’s newest ice cream shop, Uncle Louie G.’s and whip up a patriotic italian ice bowl with cherry, lemon, and blue raspberry.
Monday, July 4th itself, take the day to learn a bit about what all these fireworks have been celebrating. Head over to the Princeton Battlefield from 11 am-3 pm to learn about the Battle of Princeton and the Revolutionary war. Reenactment soldiers and second Continental Artillery will be there to demonstrate drill, artillery, and flintlock muskets and there will be period games for all ages. You can also tour the Thomas Clarke House and the Arms of the Revolution exhibit. There’s great hiking and plenty of space to lay out a picnic too. For more information call (609) 921-0074.
The Morven Museum, the converted mansion once owned by Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence hosts their annual Jubilee this Monday. Sign the Declaration of Independence, commemorate the 13 colonies at a bell ringing ceremony, see demonstrations of colonial life, and meet George Washington! There will be live music, refreshments, and a dramatic presentation documenting the roll of women in the Revolution. The Museum will also be open to the public at 1. $6. More information HERE.
Compiled for PrincetonScoop by Grace Rosen