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Colonial Williamsburg celebrates July 4 like no one else—probably because our nation’s history began right here over 300 years ago, and has been preserved in a community that values the lessons that can be found in stories of the past. Locals and visitors alike enjoy the patriotic thrill that is Celebrating Independence Day in Colonial Williamsburg, and you can too!
Colonial Williamsburg’s July 4 celebration goes from 9:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., with various events happening throughout the day (most of which, happily, are dog-friendly!). Here’s the schedule of events!
9:30 a.m – 9:50 a.m.
Reading of the Declaration of Independence (no event ticket required)
What better way to kick off America’s birthday than with a reading of the Declaration of Independence presented by Thomas Jefferson? Colonial Williamsburg is lauded for its historical interpreters—that is, actors/historians who bring history to life for us. Go back in time to July 25, 1776 and gather with the citizens of Williamsburg at the Capitol West Balcony, and we promise, you’ll see America in a whole new light.
10:30 a.m. – 10:55 a.m.
Salute to the States (no event ticket required)
Nothing is more patriotic than the pomp and pageantry of the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums. This event takes place at Market Square North (behind Courthouse), where the Virginia Military Garrison will present musket volley salutes to the original thirteen states of the Union.
10:15 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.
11:15 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
1:15 p.m. – 1:40 p.m.
Concert of Celebration
(CW Day Pass, Annual Member or Good Neighbor Pass ticket required)
Head to the Playhouse Stage to hear the amazing Jug Broke Theatre Company play the music of the season! This is an audio festival of 18th-century songs and tunes that celebrate current or historical holidays.
Based in Colonial Williamsburg, the Jug Broke Theatre Co. uses history as a resource for telling stories that focus on the 18th century. This troupe of actors and musicians do their research to develop poems, music and period plays that incorporate period acting techniques and recreate the sounds of the past. Come transport yourself back in time to experience the true spirit of 18th-century theater!
12:00 p.m.- 12:20 p.m.
Noon Reading of the Declaration of Independence (no event ticket required)
Residents of the 18th-century Williamsburg community will read the Declaration of Independence from the steps of the Courthouse and surrounding area, and afterward will share their personal perspectives on the meaning of this historic document.
1:30 p.m. & 3:00 p.m.
Nation Builders Discuss the Cost of Freedom
(CW Admission or Good Neighbor Pass required)
Two Nation Builders will discuss the cost of freedom during the formation of the United States—the impact on soldiers and civilians in the war, the fight for religious freedom and separation of church and state, the self-liberation and emancipation of some enslaved people and the return to and continuance of bondage for others, and more. This will take place at the Hennage Auditorium at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.
4:00 p.m. – 4:35 p.m.
(CW Admission or Good Neighbor Pass required)
When the words of the Declaration of Independence were written—“all men are created equal” and are endowed with the rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”—more than half of Williamsburg’s population was enslaved.
Come to the Charlton Stage to experience Created Equal, a museum theater exploration of African American perspectives on the Declaration, the revolutions it inspired, and the ongoing struggle for equality and freedom in America.
5:00 p.m. – 10 p.m.
(no event ticket required)
Join the party on the lawn of the Art Museums before the fireworks! Enjoy music from Good Shot Judy from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Lighting of the Cressets
July 1 – 4, 2022 from 8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
This exciting evening event will take place on the historic Duke of Gloucester Street. Enjoy the evening as they bring our Colonial Williamsburg’s 18th-century streets will be brought to life with strolling musicians, lively taverns serving drinks, and plenty of shopping and dining options.
Lights of Freedom: Fireworks Display
Before the thrilling Fourth of July fireworks display, The American Music Concert Series will finish the day with a patriotic celebration of the words and music of the American Revolution. The day ends in a grand display of fireworks at 9:30 p.m on the Palace Green.
TIP! The best fireworks viewing locations are on the Palace Green, Market Square, and the East Lawn of the Art Museums. If you have your dog with you, be sure to bring them home before the fireworks start if they don’t react well to loud noises!
We hope you get the chance to enjoy Celebrating Independence Day in Colonial Williamsburg! As always, end your visit by staying at your home away from home, King’s Creek.