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Four Cheers for the 4th!

The 4th of July has always felt like the most quintessential American holiday, with our kids and grandkids celebrating summer vacation amid festive red, white and blue decorations all around. 

Ive also found it seems even better in some of our favorite communities all across the state. Here are four fun ways to celebrate the day.

Fireworks extravaganzas up north in Wilmington near UD, Hockessin and the Riverfront

If you love spectacular lights in the sky and big booming salutes to the holiday you have plenty of options if you live near Wilmington.

Beginning at 9:15 you can park your car at one of the free parking lots around the University of Delawares Athletic Complex and at those surrounding the Stadium and Bob Carpenter Center along with the Woods Lot off Route 4 and the STAR Campus north and south parking lots. 

Your car or SUV will probably be the best place to see the show since you wont be able to spread blankets or chairs at the Stadium due to construction. Youll also have to hold your cocktails until you get home since alcohol isnt permitted and you definitely dont want to bring your dog since they often get very anxious around fireworks displays.

If you want to be a bit more active you can also board the Wilmington and Western Railroad at the Greenbank Railroad Station located at 2201 Newport-Gap Pike in Wilmington at 6:45 p.m. After a short, fun ride, youll arrive in scenic Hockessin for its annual fireworks display. Youll need to set aside four hours for the train trip and fireworks and return to the station. You also need to MAKE RESERVATIONS since tickets go quickly. If you get tickets youre welcome to bring coolers, blankets and folding chairs. Visit the WWRR website to reserve your tickets.

If you cant get tickets, or just want to have a simpler time, you can also enjoy Hockessins fireworks from the Piedmont Baseball Fields, Hockessin Library, the Artesian Soccer Fields and Smith Park, where youll have room to set out your blanket and chairs.

If you live closer to downtown you can enjoy the fireworks along Wilmingtons riverfront. Theyre launched at Tubman Garrett Park beginning around 9 p.m. and you can park for free at the Shipyard Shops, Frawley Stadium and the Chase Center. Please dont park in the restaurant lots because theyre reserved for restaurant customers. You can get more details on all of these events on the Visit Wilmington website.

Mid-State celebrations are a day-long event

If you live near Dover you can have a great time downtown on the 4th, with tours of the State House and activities, performances and crafts in First State Heritage Park and Legislative Mall beginning at 10 a.m. and lasting all day. At 6 p.m. there will be a parade with fire trucks, floats and classic cars down State Street, beginning at Hazel Street and ending at The Green. And at 9:15 there will be a free fireworks display over Legislative Mall. Learn more and get the full schedule online.

Youll have many reasons to love Lewes on one of its most festive days

Lewes known to many as the First Town in the First State goes big on July 4th. From 9 a.m. till noon its main street downtown is closed to traffic but wide open to kids and families for races and games.

Beginning around 1 p.m. The Independence Day Lewes Boat Parade will bring all kinds of watercraft down the Lewes-Rehoboth Canal from the Roosevelt Inlet to Fishermans Wharf. Around 2 p.m. theyll pass in front of the judges reviewing stand at Fishermans Wharf. Around 3:30 p.m. prizes will be awarded near the Lightship Overfalls in Canalfront Park, which is a great place to watch the parade.

If youd like to pilot your boat in the parade you can learn the rules online.

If you have kids or grandkids or just want to remember what its like to be one, dont miss the annual Doo-Dah Parade. Its full of outrageously original floats that begin their journey at Lloyds Market on Savannah Road before making their way down to Second Street. It tends to start around 5 p.m. but the fun often begins a little earlier or later.

Finally, you can enjoy fireworks launched from a barge just off shore from Lewes Beach. They begin at dusk, which should be around 9 p.m. and are an amazing sight thanks to scores of local volunteers and sponsors. To learn more, visit the Go Fourth Lewes website.

As always Americana rocks in Reho.

Rehoboth Beach also offers a fantastic fireworks display but please note it happens on Sunday, July 3rd

It starts around 9:15 following an 8 p.m. performance by The Funsters, a beloved group of local musicians who will play at the Bandstand at the end of Rehoboth Avenue overlooking the beach. Theyll continue their show following the fireworks, and will play until 11.

Also playing at the Bandstand, on Monday, July 4th from 8 to 9:15 p.m. will be the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors, the official touring big band of the U.S. Army.  They put on a terrific show, with a repertoire that includes swing, bebop, Latin, contemporary jazz, standards, popular tunes, Dixieland and patriotic music written or arranged by members of the band. 

Heres an important note: its almost impossible to find parking in Rehoboth on either July 3rd or July 4th. It isnt even easy to drive in the town due to so many road closures and detours due to the festivities. If you dont live right downtown and really want to enjoy all of this consider the DART Park and Ride or Jolley Trolley Service, which have special schedules for the holiday.

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