Our nation’s birthday is upon us, so get ready to have some July 4th fun! The pyrotechnics will still dazzle, just not at Jones Beach this year. While the Jones Beach extravaganza surely will be missed by the region’s many July 4th celebrants, there are still plenty of ways and places to share in the spirit of Independence Day, extending through next week.
Celebrate America at Eisenhower Park
Think Eisenhower Park instead of Jones Beach as the main venue for this year’s countywide celebration. Many thousands are expected to visit Eisenhower Park on Saturday, July 3, to see the skies light up in what is the county’s seventh annual display of sparkling fireworks.
TD Bank will once again sponsor the return of “Celebrate America” at the Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre in Eisenhower Park, beginning at dusk. The fireworks, put together by the world-famous Grucci family, are part of a special night in the park that includes a performance by The Beach Bummz, a Beach Boys tribute band.
The Theatre area gates will open at 6:30 p.m. The musical performance begins at 7:35 p.m. and the fireworks start at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are required for admission; free tickets are available at any TD Bank location, while supplies last. There is no formal seating; visitors should bring blankets or chairs. Space is limited and overflow will be directed to other viewing and parking areas.
The expected crowds and parking issues have been the subject of much discussion and planning by county officials. Overflow parking will be allowed in lots at Nassau Community College, the Museum Row parking areas, and on the shoulders of Earl Ovington Blvd.
Fireworks at Valley Stream’s Fireman’s Field
Another venue that always draws a large crowd is Fireman’s Field in Valley Stream. There, the Valley Stream Chamber of Commerce and the Incorporated Village of Valley Stream is hosting its 21st annual Fourth of July Fireworks Show, on Sunday. The rain date is July 5.
With over 25,000 people who attend annually, this is considered to be one of the largest fireworks displays in the area, according to Valley Stream Chamber of Commerce officials. Visitors will be treated to a gloriously patriotic display of pyrotechnics, with a concert by the Powerglide Band before the light show.
For a more informal experience, some just watch the fireworks outside the gates of Fireman’s Field. However, Valley Stream officials prefer that people actually come into the park. Tickets, which sell out quickly, are $5. They are available at the Hendrickson Pool facility and Administration Building, the Henry Waldinger Public Library, and at Collision Concepts, Rockaway Ave. (corner of Sunrise Hwy.) Gates open at 6 p.m. Enter at the Emerson Place or Albermarle Ave. entrances to Fireman’s Field.
Free parking and transportation to Fireman’s Field is available beginning at 6:30 p.m. from the Hendrickson Pool Parking Lot.
Old Fashioned Fourth of July
While fireworks receive most of the attention during July 4th festivities, there’s more to an Independence Day celebration than the pyrotechnics. For those want something else, try enjoying the holiday the way 19th century Long Islanders did.
Experience a 19th century version of the holiday, on Sunday, courtesy of Old Bethpage Village Restoration. This year’s festivities celebrate a rousing Fourth of July as it would have been commemorated in 1865 at the end of the Civil War.
“We’re celebrating the end of the Civil War, which was a time of great joy and great sadness, with the assassination of President Lincoln,” said Site Director Jim McKenna. “It wasn’t until July fourth of that year that we celebrated the victories of the northern armies.”
Old Bethpage Village’s celebration marks the return to Long Island of Union soldiers and the nation’s 89th anniversary, with a traditional Independence Day parade with a marching band (at 2 p.m.), returning soldiers and village residents. Then, the soldiers will drill one last time (at 3 p.m.) and fire a salute to their fallen comrades, followed by a performance of historical musical selections by the Old Bethpage Village Brass Band. Guests are invited to bring their own picnic lunches to a “Victory Parade” behind the Noon Inn, where the sounds of old-fashioned fiddle music can be heard from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
As an added attraction, a circa 1880s all- star “base ball” game will be played at Hewlett Field at noon, as OBVR recreates the exciting matches held in Brooklyn and Queens at the time. The game will feature some of the finest fielders and batters from the Brooklyn Excelsiors and the Mineola Washingtons, who will compete according to 1884 rules and wear uniforms and use the equipment of that era.
Step back in time, July 4, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission: $10, $7 children 5-12 and seniors. Old Bethpage Village Restoration is located on Round Swamp Rd., Old Bethpage. For more information, contact (516) 572-8400.
Red, White and Blue Fourth
Independence Day was an important holiday for President Theodore Roosevelt, who often spoke at the festivities at his Oyster Bay home and then gathered his extended family and friends at Sagamore Hill for a day of celebration.
Bring the family to share the holiday in the Roosevelt tradition, at the former presidential residence, Sunday and Monday. July 4th festivities begin at 11 a.m. with a “Birds of Prey” demonstration presented by the Theodore Roosevelt Audubon Sanctuary. Learn about birds of prey and other animals that live at the Sanctuary, many of which can be seen in our own backyards.
At noon and 2 p.m., storyteller Jonathan Kruk presents a show featuring heroes of American history, combined with interactive children’s fairy tales and local lore.
During the afternoon, beginning at 1 p.m., an old-time red, white, and blue Fourth of July celebration will start with an equestrian demonstration by the “Rough Rider” re-enactors. The “Rough Rider” Cavalry Troop of the Nassau-Suffolk Horsemen’s Association demonstrates riding techniques used by mounted soldiers in the Spanish American War.
Kids can take part in old-fashioned games (including a three-legged race, potato sack race, and tug-o-war), at 1:30 p.m., in the field near the historic garden.
A band concert, at 2 p.m. with the Sagamore Hill Band, features music of the time and an appearance by the President himself, as portrayed by re-enactor James Foote. Monday’s events include guided tours of President Roosevelt’s home and walks throughout the estate's grounds with National Park Service rangers. President Roosevelt, portrayed by James Foote, will be at his home to welcome visitors throughout the weekend.
Sagamore Hill is at Sagamore Hill Rd. in Oyster Bay. For further information, call (516) 922-4788 or visit www.nps.gov/sahi.
Fireworks Extravaganza in Long Beach
The City of Long Beach honors Independence Day next Friday, July 9, with its annual beach party. The festivities begin at 8 p.m., with a concert by T’Bazco Road to get the celebration started. The band entertains with its New Orleans-style blend of blues, honky-tonk piano, and funky rhythms at the bandstand between Long Beach Blvd. and Riverside Blvd.
The fireworks, begin at 9 p.m., from a barge off the Long Beach shoreline. Visitors can sit on the beach to watch the show, or view the lights from any point along the 2.2 mile boardwalk. City officials urge everyone to arrive early and use public transportation as parking will be limited. For further information, visit www.longbeachny.org.
Rockville Centre Holiday Celebration
The Village of Rockville Centre marks its anniversary with festivities on Saturday, July 10. The celebration, which is funded by the RVC Conservancy, features the South Shore Symphony performing a program of summertime favorites, at 7 p.m.
A fireworks display over the Mill River follows, produced by the Grucci family, beginning about 9 p.m. It takes place at Centennial Park in Rockville Centre. Bring a lawn chair and blanket and arrive early. For further information, visit the RVC Conservancy Facebook page.