It’s time for July 4th celebrations! Seas of Red White and Blue, the smell of BBQ, flags flying and laughter of family and friends enjoying a three-day weekend! It’s also a time to remember how our independence came about and to time celebrate this great nation we call home. Below is a brief history to remind us how July 4th (Independence Day) came to be…
Known as the both the Fourth of July and Independence Day, July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies who were fighting in the revolutionary struggle, weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family
THE BIRTH OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
When the initial battles of the Revolutionary War broke out in April 1775, few colonists actually desired complete independence from Great Britain, and those who did were considered radical. By the middle of the following year, however, many more colonists had come to favor independence, thanks to growing hostility against Britain and the spread of revolutionary sentiments. On June 7, when the Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, the Virginia delegate, Richard Henry Lee, introduced a motion calling for the colonies’ independence.
On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote and John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by throughout future generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.” On July 4th, the Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, due to the adaptation of the Declaration of Independence, the 4th of July became the day that has been celebrated as the birth of American independence.
EARLY FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS
In the pre-Revolutionary years, colonists had held annual celebrations of the king’s birthday, which traditionally included the ringing of bells, bonfires, processions and speechmaking. By contrast, during the summer of 1776 some colonists celebrated the birth of independence by holding mock funerals for King George III, as a way of symbolizing the end of the monarchy’s hold on America and the triumph of liberty. Festivities including concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets usually accompanied the first public readings of the Declaration of Independence, beginning immediately after its adoption.
After the Revolutionary War, Americans continued to commemorate Independence Day every year, in celebrations that allowed the new nation’s emerging political leaders to address citizens and create a feeling of unity.
Falling in mid-summer, the Fourth of July has become a major focus of leisure activities and a common occasion for family get-togethers, often involving fireworks and outdoor barbecues. The most common symbol of the holiday is the American flag, and a common musical accompaniment is “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.
AUSTIN'S 2015 JULY 4TH CELEBRATION INFORMATION:
PLAN AHEAD & Enjoy July 4th Events Safely
Plan ahead to enjoy the 39th year of the H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert & Fireworks on Vic Mathias Shores, presented by AT&T U-verse and the City of Austin. Come on out and enjoy the patriotic music of the Austin Symphony and a spectacular fireworks show over Lady Bird Lake. The concert starts at 8:30 pm.
When attending the July 4th Concert and Fireworks show, please keep a few things in mind to help make it a fun, safe event.
- Stay hydrated.
- Austin/Travis County EMS recommends you wear sunscreen and/or hats to help with protection from the elements.
- Don’t bring glass, Styrofoam or alcohol.
- Food and beverage vendors will be on site.
- Smoking is prohibited.
- Grilling is prohibited at the event site.
- Swimming in Lady Bird Lake is prohibited.
- A flashlight is suggested if you are biking, or taking the hike and bike trail!
- Personal umbrellas and folding chairs with attached canopies are allowed.
- E-Z Up style or pop-up canopies/tents are discouraged due to the number of people at the event.
- Drones are prohibited at the event.
Pets are not allowed (cannons and fireworks create severe stress for animals).
- Pet owners: More pets are lost during Fourth of July festivities than any other time of year. Please prepare your pets now for the upcoming fireworks. If you lose your pet, check with the Austin Animal Center.
Parkland and Road Closures
The event will significantly affect area traffic conditions and public recreational use of the park during event hours. Road closures and/or lane reductions are associated with this event start at 10 am, and may precede actual event start times. Street Closure Information.
Lady Bird Lake will be closed to all watercraft between 8 pm and 10:30 pm, from 1st Street to the railroad trestle bridge.
The north shore of the hike and bike trail will close on July 4th at approximately 8 am until 10:30 pm for public safety and installation of the fireworks. Trail users should take the Cesar Chavez south curbline trail and sidewalk between Shoal Creek and 1st Street area.
Transportation and Parking
Get information on Biking in Austin.
It suggested that attendee’s park north of the event site, or bike to the event using the hike and bike trail which connects from various areas of the City. Downtown Parking Map
If you park south of Lady Bird Lake, expect delays of 45 minutes or more in area parking lots/garages. Neighborhood no-parking restrictions will be in effect south of the event site.
One Texas Center and the Palmer Events Center Garage are open for parking first-come first-served, a fee to park will be charged.
TxDOT Lot – east of Riverside and Congress is open for parking
Parking is prohibited on and along Cesar Chavez, and on all parkland.
Austin Police Department
The Austin Police Department, along with 22 other area law enforcement agencies, will conduct an Arrive Alive Central Texas traffic safety initiative for the 4th of July. It will run from 6 pm Friday, July 3, 2015 to 6 pm Sunday, July 5, 2015.
In addition to Arrive Alive, APD will also conduct a No Refusal initiative for the 4th of July from 9 pm Friday, July 3, 2015 to 5 am Sunday, July 5, 2015.