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Fredericksburg fireworks: Your guide to a fabulous Fourth of July

Downtown Fredericksburg | Ferry Farm | Culpeper | Westmoreland | Colonial Beach | Port Royal

The local Fourth of July celebrations are upon us, and this year does not break the tradition of food, fireworks and family fun, with enough options to please anyone ready to celebrate the day.

FREDERICKSBURG

On July 4, the Heritage Festival returns by tradition, with the welcomed addition of the Quantico Marine Band performance before the fireworks.

The day begins early with the Heritage Festival Five-Mile Run at 7:45 a.m., followed by the Heritage Day Parade at 9:30 a.m. with prizes for the best costume and most creative bicycle.

The Festival of the Streets spans from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with 10 food vendors serving classic treats, a craft show, a dunk tank, live performances from Dixie Power Trio, Steve Jarrell and Sons of the Beach 2, and a classic car display that welcomes Cruisin’ For Heroes. The group raises awareness and funds to support military, veterans, first responders and local organizations and charities.

Sure to be a highlight in the popular children’s area at the end of Charlotte Street, Laugh Out Loud Photo Booth, owned by Ron and Anita Haynes, will allow attendees to snap pictures with friends and family with provided Fourth of July accessories.

For the first time, Pratt Park will open early at 4:30 p.m. to accommodate interest in the Quantico Marine Band, set to perform at 5:30 p.m.

Roberta Gold, in her 14th year as coordinator, said, “It should be quite a show.”

The band will perform music from “Les Misérables” alongside artistic director Patrick A’Hearn and 15 chorus members from the upcoming Riverside Dinner Theatre show.

Before the fireworks at 9:15 p.m., the UMW Philharmonic will perform with Caressa Cameron, Miss America 2010 and Spotsylvania native.

Pratt Park will hold 6,000 guests, so Gold suggests grabbing a spot in the park early to see the performances and fireworks, as capacity will be closely monitored.

Road closures

Street closures for the Heritage Festival begin at 5 a.m. and last until 4:30 p.m. During this period, the affected roads will be barricaded. Parking will not be permitted beyond the barricades.

Sophia Street between Wolfe and Hanover streets will be shut down along with the incoming traffic lane along Sophia Street between George and Hanover, near Shiloh (Old Site) Baptist Church.

Both Charlotte and Hanover streets between Sophia and Caroline streets will also be closed to traffic.

From 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., Charlotte Street between Princess Anne and Prince Edward streets will be shut down for the Heritage five-mile run.

Additionally, the 200 block of Charlotte Street—between Caroline and Princess Anne streets—will remain barricaded throughout the day due to the courthouse construction.

Pratt Park will open early at 4:30 p.m. for limited parking under the direction of the Stafford Sheriff’s Office. Once capacity is reached, the park will close.

Old Mill Park will also be open with limited parking.

Raft race postponed

The 37th Annual Rappahannock River Raft Race, sponsored by the Fredericksburg Jaycees, has been postponed until Saturday, July 20, because of the likelihood of unsafe river conditions on Thursday. The raft race, from the Falmouth Waterfront Park to the City Dock, will run from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day, with registration starting at 7:30 a.m.

Info: 540/ 371-4811; visitfred.com/events/heritage-festival

FERRY FARM

For a historic taste of Independence Day, head to George Washington’s boyhood home at Ferry Farm for “Spirit of America: This Land is Our Land,” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This year’s theme focuses on ecology and the environment.

There will be crafts including windsocks and 13-colony flags, games such as horseshoes and sack races and “hands-on history” activities including grinding corn, stringing beans, barrel rolling and fence building.

Colonial and Civil War re-enactors will be at the event, and there will be a patriotic flag retirement and replacement ceremony, a tradition at the event.

The Virginia and American flags that will fly daily at Ferry Farm previously flew over the capitals in Richmond and Washington, D.C.

Exhibitors including the Fredericksburg Spinners and Weavers Guild and the Tri-County/City Soil Water Conservation District will also be at Ferry Farm.

Free parking is available at the Eagles Lodge on Cool Springs Road with frequent shuttles to Ferry Farm.

Admission is $1 per person, but children under 2 are free.

The historic landmark is east of Fredericksburg on State Route 3 in Stafford County at 268 Kings Highway.

Info: kenmore.org/events.html

CULPEPER

For another town celebration, check out Culpeper’s “Celebration of Patriotism” on July 4.

The day begins at 8 a.m. with a 5K race and continues with the 14th Annual 4th of July Car & Bike Show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., sponsored by Culpeper Renaissance Inc.

The show will feature custom, classic and antique cars, hot rods, street rods, motorcycles and trucks. This show salutes the cars of “American Graffiti,” with 2013 marking the 40th anniversary of the movie’s release.

The Annual Main Street Parade will continue a hometown tradition at 4 p.m. with bands, youth organizations, 4-H and school clubs, creative floats and local veterans.

Yowell Meadow Park will host food vendors, music by Cashless Society and entertainment in the form of the annual Culpeper Olympics at 5:30 p.m.. Fireworks start at approximately 9:15. p.m.

Info: culpeper4thofjuly.com

WESTMORELAND STATE PARK

For an educational, family-friendly event, head to Westmoreland State Park on the morning of July 4.

From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the Discovery Center, children and families can participate in various programs offered by the park.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be a fossil hike, involving a guided hike to a fossil beach on the property. The cost is $3 per person or $8 per family.

From 2–3 p.m., guests can make a shark tooth necklace for $5 each (buy a tooth) or $3 each (bring a tooth). Then from 3:30–4:30 p.m., kids can participate in “Create a Critter” and make their own bat or lightning bug to take home for $3 per person.

Finally, from 6-8 p.m. there will be a guided twilight hike to see nocturnal possums, raccoons and owls. The hike is $2 per person or $6 per family.

Info: 804/493-8821; dcr.vir ginia.gov/state_parks/wes.shtm

COLONIAL BEACH

The Potomac adjacent town of Colonial Beach will set off Fireworks on the fourth from the town pier at approximately 9:15 p.m.

There will be trolley rides through the town and boat rides on the river. Food vendors will also be available along the boardwalk.

There will be no fishing from the pier during the day due to the fireworks display.

The rain date for the event is Saturday, July 6.

St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Colonial Beach will also have their annual yard sale and bazaar from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. with games and crafts for children, a silent auction and a $1,000 prize in the bazaar raffle.

For information call 804/224-0732.

Parking in Colonial Beach will be available in multiple areas, but early arrival is strongly encouraged.

For $10, parking will be available on Wilder Avenue, at the town point at Castlewood Drive or in the grassy area on the corner of Colonial and Washington Avenue.

Meter parking is also available along the pier.

For a view of the fireworks, guests should bring chairs or blankets to watch from the two-mile stretch of beach front beginning at Castlewood Drive and ending at The Riverboat. Grills and alcohol are prohibited on the beach.

Regina Weiss: 540/374-5417

rweiss@freelancestar.com

PORT ROYAL

Port Royal will host its 14th annual Independence Day Celebration with a patriotic theme, featuring a reading of the Declaration of Independence, 18th-century dancing demonstrations and other events from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Activities will take place in the area of Main, Water and Frederick streets, near St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

Free parking is available throughout the town.

A parking lot in the area of Main, Water and King streets will also be available for the event, which could attract between 300 and 500 visitors.

More info: historicportroyal.com/HPR4THProgram2013.JPG

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