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Haven't yet made plans for USA's birthday celebrations next week? If your palms just got sweaty and you panicked a little bit, we've got you covered with our picks of the best ways to ring in the 237th year this fine country has been a republic.
Maybe you just convinced your boss to give you the long Fourth of July weekend off or maybe you simply need a getaway; whatever the reason, so long as you're looking to get your year's fill of fireworks, hot dogs and potato salad, these are the places for you:
With Independence Day arriving next week, this weekend will be prime time for purchasing fireworks to celebrate July 4. Because every state decides its own fireworks policywith some banning the sale of fireworks entirelythere's often an increase in road trips with the express purpose of loading up the back of a pick-up with those red, white, and blue boxes of sparkle power.
In case you were hoping to do some firework shopping and then fly home, the TSA issued their annual "no fireworks allowed" warning on the official TSA blog. Wondering what exactly is banned? Here's a list:
Australia Travel / Queensland Travel / Brisbane Travel / Festivals / Fireworks / Events / → All Tags
When a city is situated on a body of water, be it an ocean, lake or river, we can appreciate when it uses said body of water to form the city's identity. Take for instance, Brisbane. Brisbane River in this, Australia's third largest city, winds through the CBD and has become as much part of the city as the people that call it home. So why not set it on fire in a festival called Riverfire?
Although Brisbane has a sordid past with the river from various catastrophic floods through its history, the river is not actually set a-light. Part of a larger festival (aptly name Brisbane Festival), Riverfire celebrates the Brisbane River itself and acts as a grand finale for various celebrations throughout the city. The giant firework show that uses bridges, buildings and barges as its stage make for an awe-inspiring experience.
France Travel / Events / Holiday Travel / Summer Travel / Fireworks / Festival Travel / Markets / → All Tags
Bonjour! We're spending a couple of weeks hanging out in a gorgeous French village in the hills of the Côte Roannaise, an hour or so west of Lyon, near the town of Roanne.
Andsurprise!it was Bastille Day last week, the French version of July 4th or [insert your home country's national day here], which is officially called La Fête Nationale.
Did you know that Bastille Day doesn't actually commemorate the storming of the Bastille? No, really. It's a commemoration of the commemoration of the storming of the Bastille, a year after the Bastille done got stormed in 1789.
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Well, there's definitely one US city that won't make the next list for Foursquare's most firework-crazy cities, mainly because people didn't even have the chance to check in to the event in San Diego before a major fireworks fail.
Last night, San Diego's "Big Bay Boom" pyrotechnics show suffered a technical glitch that caused all fireworks to go off at once, 5 minutes before showtime. Grab a can of soda from the fridge and you'd have missed it; the display only lasted ten seconds before all fizzled out.
LA Weekly was one of the first news outlets to publish a story on the FAIL last night, even including that the Port of San Diego was quick to issue an apology via their Twitter account. Of course this negative event now has a positive spin: videos of the fireworks blast are going viral online.
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It's almost time to make the drive to your favorite fireworks display, set up the folding chairs and light the sparklers for the Fourth of July. And it's not just you that's excited. Location-based social networking app Foursquare is psyched for the BBQ, beachside and beer store check-ins coming their way this week and they've just shared with us the most popular cities (and other places) from past Independence Days.
Let's see the stats:
Most Firework-crazy cities*
· Cadillac, MI
· Glens Falls, NY
· Auburn, NY
· Laconia, NH
· Milledgeville, GA
· Coffeyville, KS
· Whitewater, WI
· Astoria, OR
· Hudson, NY
· Keene, NH
Jaunted Reporting Live / Cunard / Royal Rendezvous / New York City / Cruise Travel / Ships / Queen Mary 2 / Queen Victoria / Queen Elizabeth / Photo Gallery / Fireworks / → All Tags
Just as promised, last night saw the three Cunard shipsQueen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabethtake to NY Harbor all at the same time for a little "Royal Rendezvous" and a lot of fireworks. This is only the second time that all three Queens have been together in NYC at the same moment, and the last was only in 2008, as the Queen Elizabeth II (now retired) made her final departure from the Big Apple after hundreds and hundreds of historical sailings. Needless to say, it was a very cool occasion.
We managed to take in the scene from the Cunard party in the lounge at the tippy-top of the Ritz-Carlton Battery Park, and still froze our bits and bobbles to death on the outdoor deck, catching these photographs.
Cruise Travel / Cunard / New York City / Events / Queen Mary 2 / Queen Elizabeth / Queen Victoria / Ships / Fireworks / → All Tags
We took this video during 2008's Royal Rendezvous (the first), as the now-retired Queen Elizabeth II tooted her horn. Seen from Liberty State Park in New Jerseynot a recommended spot.
Tomorrow evening in New York Harbor, the three ships of Cunard's fleetthe Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabethwill get together for the first time in three years, and for only the second time ever. The meeting of all ships in the harbor is called the "Royal Rendezvous" and cruise fanatics, ship-watchers and the generally curious will turn out in droves to watch the ships slide by and the massive accompanying fireworks display. And we'll be there too, of course.
We saw it three years ago, when the Queen Elizabeth II was making her final NYC departure, and this year there's a new ship making her first entrance: the Queen Elizabeth. She'll be the big and shiny oneha. Anyways, we have to say that it is a very cool, very New York event, and the fireworks are awesome. They will feature Cunard red pyrotechnics, and even the Empire State Building will be lit up in red for the occasion. P>Now on to the best spots to watch everything:
While stateside the year's highlights on the field of fireworks have already faded from the sky, this year's International Fireworks Competition is only getting started. The Monaco-based tourney kicked off last week with a €100,000 prize and high-powered bragging rights at stake.
Portugal and France face off against last year's champion Austria at the deep-water Port d'Hercule. The display with the best style, color, special effects and synchronization with music will get a repeat performance in November for Monaco's national holiday. Who knew the genteel principality was such a fan of the ol' boom boom pow?
Start strategizing your seat for the performances by Austria (July 24 at 10 and August 9 at 9:30) and France (August 23 at 9:30). Call the Jardin Exotique, which will be open free that night for viewing from its hillsides, at (377) 93 15 29 80 to reserve a seat if your yacht won't be available.
· International Fireworks Festival [VisitMonaco.com]
· Daytime Fireworks, Cake, and "National Treasure" For The Fourth [Jaunted]
· Fireworks Travel coverage [Jaunted]
Anyone suffering from last-minute Fourth of July plans-making? We're raising our hands over here, and so to give everybody some assistance in making this weekend super festive, MapQuest has added a new feature to their maps: Independence Day events plotted just like the maps show gas stations and Best Westerns.
It's not totally comprehensive, but searching your city or destination and then applying the little fireworks icon will reveal events like outdoor symphony concerts, fireworks-viewing river cruises, or even daytime air shows (yay, Battle Creek, MI).
For example, the MapQuest tool turned up the "Red, White and Zoo" event at Cleveland's Zoo, the "Pied Piper Parade" in Atlanta, and a Pancake Breakfast in Boise, ID. Now you can have an answer ready for when your similarly-slacking friends ask, "hey, what are we doing this weekend?"
· Fourth of July: MapQuest shows locations for fireworks events [LA Times]
· Fourth Of July Travel Coverage [Jaunted]
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New York City: Along the Hudson Riverfront
This year just happens to be the 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson's sailing up the river which would eventually bear his name, and to celebrate this, Macy's is moving their notoriously festive fireworks celebration from the East River to the Hudson. This means that the nation's largest fourth of July display will practically pair up with the Jersey City celebrations, which blast over Liberty State Park, to create one awesome night along the river.
Best viewing of the Macy's display at 9pm will be from the Hoboken waterfront, and Liberty State Park's is obviously best seen from the park. We're going to compromise and hit up the pier jutting out from the Starbucks near the Pavonia/Newport PATH subway station in Jersey City.
Ooh! Ahhh! Nothing caps off a New Year's Eve party like a burst of brilliant fireworks to ring in the New Year. Don't just watch each time zone celebrate on CNN this year: Head to one of these cities to witness the awesomeness in person. We can already hear the fizz of sparks raining down on crowds of thousands:
The Wacky Object Display: New Orleans, Louisiana
The ball is boring. TripAdvisor's list of the quirkiest US celebrations has a fixation on oversize objects, from a giant Peep to a super-sized (supposedly) edible piece of bologna. We like the gumbo pot not necessarily because it's the best giant papier-mache marvel, but because it sounds like a more fun place to party than, say, Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
The Way-Over-The-Top Display: Copenhagen, Denmark
For those for whom too much is never enough--a common NYE party philosophy--Copenhagen's famous Tivoli Gardens offer a staggering five nights of fireworks December 26-30, each with its own theme (the four seasons are represented) and a soundtrack of live music.
The Self-Proclaimed Green Display: Sydney, Australia
The Harbour Bridge plays host to a kinder, less wasteful fireworks display at 9 om on New Year's Eve, with 80 percent of the leftover junk to be recycled and a surprise orange "special effect." Plus, its theme is "creation"! Sounds kind of eschatological to us.
· Press Release: TripAdvisor Announces America's Top 10 Quirkiest New Year's Eve Events [Marketwatch]
· Creation Theme for Sydney's New Year's Eve Celebrations [The Epoch Times]
[Photo of Sydney's 2007 celebration: pixelpeddler]