In the spirit of revolution, John Adams penned a letter to his wife Abigail saying that the day should be "commemorated as the day of deliverance...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 forevermore." Such an edict should not be ignored - nor is it in communities up and down the Hudson River region in 2009, on various dates approximating that original event. Revelatory opportunities abound.
In Kingston, two days of fun and activities will prevail in the historic Rondout waterfront. On Saturday, July 4, the First Saturday Artwalk will be underway from 5 to 8 p.m., with all the area's galleries welcoming visitors. The ninth Kingston Sculpture Biennial opening reception will also be held from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 4 at Hasbrouck and Rotary Parks, with a family-friendly atmosphere brought to life by students from the Art Education Program at Pratt Art Institute hosting children's activities. On Sunday, July 5, get ready for a day of music, food, Colonial Era reenactments and of course fireworks. The featured band (donating their time!) is Hot Rod. There will be a pie contest, boat rides, trolley rides, crafts, sack races and a horseshoe toss.
Kingston mayor James Sottile thanks the law office of Mainetti, Mainetti & O'Connor, P.C. for the generous sponsorship of the day's All-American Barbecue and Independence Day Celebration, which will run from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Mayor Sottile encourages community members to volunteer their time to help with the event and create a great experience for all, especially for children. "We want kids to understand the origins of Independence Day, and that it's not just about fireworks."
The Saugerties Fourth of July celebration is a three-day affair this year. On Friday, July 3, the festivities begin with the opening of carnival rides at Cantine Field. Look for casino games on Friday and throughout the weekend. At 6 p.m. a Battle of the Bands will begin, with prizes awarded to the top three bands. On Saturday, a grand parade will kick off at 11 a.m. from Saugerties High School and wind through the Village to Cantine Field, where the carnival continues with a fire company tug-of-war and rappelling demonstration, open mic from 3 to 6 p.m., inflatable bounce rides and rock climbing wall for kids, and good old-fashioned fun. Fireworks begin at dusk. The carnival continues on Sunday, July 5 from noon to 6 p.m.
From across the River, the Saugerties fireworks display can be viewed from the Clermont State Historic Site in Germantown. There will be 18th-century music, entertainment and food, with activities starting at 3 p.m. Admission is $8 per vehicle; $10 per vehicle after 8 p.m.
All up and down the Hudson River, festivities are planned. At West Point in Egner Hall Band Building, the music of John Philip Sousa and other patriotic favorites will be performed in a "Star-Spangled Spectacular." The band will close the concert with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, featuring a live cannon and fireworks. The concert starts at 8 p.m. and is free to the public.
At Highland's Village Field, the Town of Lloyd will hold its Independence Day Celebration beginning at 6 p.m., and across the river Poughkeepsie's Quadricentennial Festival and Celebration will be held at Waryas Park on Main Street. From either vantage point, the historic fireboat John J. Harvey will be visible as it cruises the river. And on a first-come, first-served basis, there will be limited rides on the fireboat at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. leaving the Waryas Park side. The Michael Dell Band will be on board to entertain from 7 to 9 p.m., preceding a laser light display and fireworks at dusk.
In Hyde Park, the theme for this year's parade is "The Quadricentennial: Explore Hyde Park." Marching bands, civic groups, firemen and floats will cruise down Route 9 through the Village starting at 10 a.m., competing for trophies in several categories. In Rhinebeck the Hudson Valley Philharmonic and Fireworks Show will take place at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds, rain or shine. Call the Dutchess County Fairgrounds for ticket prices and more information at (845) 876-4001
In Newburgh the grounds of Washington's Headquarters State Historic Site will be open from noon to 5 p.m. for a Grand Celebration. On the 159th anniversary of its inception as the first publicly owned and operated historic site in the nation, there will be jugglers and a magician, the á capella group the Golden Songsters and a raffle at the end of the day. Friends and family are welcome to bring blankets and picnic baskets for an old-fashioned Victorian picnic. The grounds will open at night for a great view of the City of Newburgh's fireworks. Farther north at the Ulster County Fairgrounds in the Town of New Paltz, Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams will wow the crowds on July 4 at 8:30 p.m. Enjoy a free concert, Professor Louie and the Crowmatix will open, and fireworks at dusk. Phenomenal 12-year-old musician Julia Cohen will sing the National Anthem accompanied by her brother Jonny and dad Jeff just before the fireworks begin around 9:30.
And if you find yourself in the mountains rather than down by the river on this Independence Day, the Belleayre Music Festival at Belleayre Mountain Ski Center in Highmount is the place to be. Featuring the West Point Band's Jazz Knights, the free concert starts at 8 p.m. and precedes - you guessed it - fireworks!
Also from Wikipedia, this trivia tidbit: A weird coincidence occurred exactly 50 years after that famous Declaration - both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died. It was the 50th anniversary of our nationhood. They were old and ready; you may not be. You have the right to celebrate conscientiously and be safe. Further information can be obtained by calling the town clerk of the community celebration that most interests you. Check it out.