O Say Can You See Those Great Fireworks?
Considering the summer we’ve had so far, it’s probably wise to have a weather-resistant plan in place for this weekend. So we went looking for Fireworks Plus—agendas rich enough to sustain revelers in case Mother Nature turns on the a.c. yet again and deprives us of the warm, starlit night we so richly deserve. With distractions like the following, who would even notice perfect weather?
An Old-Fashioned Independence Day Celebration at Clermont
On Saturday, July 4th, Clermont State Historic Site will celebrate with an afternoon crammed full of nostalgic Independence Day fun and games. Designed with families in mind, this event will include music, stories, food by Spacey Tracy, and fun children’s crafts, culminating in the evening with an exquisite view of the Saugerties fireworks reflected in the Hudson River after dark.
But at 11 a.m., well before the festivities officially begin, there’s a tour of the historic house for children and their parents, during which visitors will interact with characters from Clermont’s history portrayed by actors. (This may be boring and/or frightening to very small children) . At 3 p.m., the party kicks off outdoors with a visit from The Headless Horseman Fife and Drum Corps, who will march around the grounds, playing 18th-century tunes. Contests commence promptly at 4 pm. with Cherry Pit Spitting, a Three-Legged Race, and the hilarious Grinning for Cheese. Prizes will be awarded. At 5:30 p.m. story-teller Tom Hanford will perform a delightful, historically-inspired show full of music and audience participation. Throughout the afternoon, children will also be able to play 18th-century games, including the Games of Graces, stilts, and rolling hoops. There will be a crafts tent where children can learn the “language of the fan” while they decorate their own old-fashioned paper fan, as well make Liberty Caps (to protest English rule in America), and design their own American flags. Vivacious face painting will be available..
Then at 6 p.m., a live demonstration entitled “Under Where?: Women’s Clothes in the 18th Century” will let visitors in on the alarming secrets underpinning women’s fashions of 250 years ago. This will be accompanied with a talk by Curator of Education Kjirsten Gustavson.
Finally, from 8 p.m. until dusk The Providers will perform classic soul and rock on the hills overlooking the Hudson River. Dancing and picnicking are encouraged, while revelers await a clear view of the Saugerties fireworks across the river once night falls. Those who wish to see the fireworks are encouraged to come early as the gates will be closed once capacity is reached.
Clermont State Historic Site
Saturday, July 4
1 Clermont Avenue, Germantown; 518.537.4240
Saturday, July 4; house tour 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.; outdoor activities 3 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Admission to grounds: $8 per vehicle, $10 after 8 p.m.
Tour: $5/adults, $4 /seniors/students, free/children 12 and under.
Family Fest in Chatham
Fireworks, free rides (3-years-old and up), music, magic. Country/rock performed by the White Water Band from 6:30 p.m. in the Beer Pavilion, then continuing after the 9:30 fireworks.
Cruisin’ 93.5, the area’s Oldies station, returns for another year with the big prize wheel. Merdwin the Magician will do two shows, while arts and crafts activities take place on the fairhouse porch. There’s a free hay maze and a small petting zoo, as well as pony rides for a modest fee.
Columbia County Fairgrounds
Route 66, Chatham, from 3 p.m., rain or shine.
Admission: before 8 p.m. $5/person; free/children under 3; after 8 p.m. $10/car
Lime Rock Park Fireworks
Fireworks start around 9; the refreshment stand will be open.
Lime Rock Park
497 Lime Rock Rd. (Rte. 112); Lakeville; 860.435.5000
Saturday, July 4th (Rain date: Sunday, July 5th)
6 - 10
Admission: $10 per car; no dogs allowed
Fireworks 2 Nights in Rhinebeck
Friday night, July 3, after the Demolition Derby there will be a Fireworks Show, then again on Saturday, the same pairing plus the Hudson Valley Philharmonic at dusk. Other treats include children’s games, carnival rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, frog jumping, homemade apple pie, and other great food.
Dutchess County Fairgrounds
Route 9, Rhinebeck
July 3: gates open 4 p.m.; derby, 7 p.m.; fireworks after
July 4 gate to open 11 a.m.; derby, 1p.m., Philharmonic, 7 p.m.; fireworks after
Admission with advance reservations: carload/$30; walk-ins/$7;
Without reservations: carload/$40; walk-ins/$11
Demolition derby/$7 (seating limited)
Friday, July 3, 4 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Saturday, July 4, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
All events: rain or shine
Pittsfield Parade: On the Move
The Pittsfield 4th of July Parade has been around since 1824, when the procession consisted of Revolutionary War veterans, plus sundry patriots and politicians riding in horse-drawn carriages. Over the years, the event has grown in size and popularity to become a living piece of Americana, a combination of flag-waving and show biz. The fireworks come later, at the ballpark. While they can be seen from outside the ballpark, they don’t start until after the game. The parade, which starts at 10 a.m. on South Street and continues straight up North Street (it will not go around Park Square this year) and on to Wahconah Park, customarily attracts over 50,000 people. In addition to marching politicians (Governor Patrick and Senator Kerry both joined the spectacle last year), there are cheerleaders, color guards, marching bands, giant balloons, bagpipers, the Pittsfield American Defenders ballplayers, firetrucks, rollerskating teams, and step dancers. Bring a lawn chair!
Saturday July 4, July 4, 10 a.m. - noon.
Baseball and fireworks at Wahconah Park
Saturday, July 4, game at 6:35 at historic Wahconah Park; fireworks after (usually 9-ish)
39 Alford Road; between Pittsfield and Great Barrington; 413.447.3853
Tickets: $5/general admission; $9/box seats