When I was growing up, my family’s Fourth of July tradition involved a local parade, which I often rode in with 4-H. Then there would be a BBQ at the park where we’d play horseshoes and swim in the local pool, and then finally, the fireworks. I lived on a cattle ranch and this was in a nearby town. It was always hot. Usually at least 100 degrees.
When I met my husband, I joined their tradition, which involved a big block party and fireworks in the intersection of the street and homemade ice cream, lots of food, and lots of people. For them, it was bigger than any other celebration of the year. Then we moved to the midwest. There we tried to get out and watch fireworks, maybe set off a few, but even though we could buy big fireworks there, it was illegal to set them off. We spent a lot of time with other graduate students and people my husband worked with and it was always fun to get together.
When we moved to Montana, we started heading out to the soccer fields by the golf course early in the evening. That gave us an amazing view of the big fireworks that were launched just a 1/4 mile away, and also gave us space to set off our own without worrying about setting off fires. Pretty soon, we made friends with the other families who came out there for the same thing, until it became an annual event to go out there. Though one year it was so cold that people were wrapped up in blankets and parkas and shivering in their cars, some with the heat on. Welcome to Montana where it snows in July.
Now we’re living in Oregon. We’ve taken to going up on top of a parking garage in the downtown to watch the fireworks after having a BBQ at home. We go with my parents. It’s a great view of the fireworks and since my dad is gimpy, he has a better time because he doesn’t have to maneuver much. This year, though, it’s going to be a little different. I’m going to Westercon, and won’t get home until midday on the 4th. The next day I’m heading out again early with my parents on a short trip. So I won’t have done much planning and I’m going to be scrambling around to get ready to go. I envision hotdogs on the grill and I’m not sure if I can stay up late enough for the fireworks. Though the dogs will be scared and I’ll need to settle them down.
How about you? What are your traditions? What will you be doing today?