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We wanted to bring you all a guide for celebrating July 4th in Williamsburg! Though states across the country are slowly reopening after months trying to slow the spread of Covid-19, we all remain aware that safety protocols are critical for preventing more cases. Therefore, Williamsburg will set its sights on what it does best—exploring and sharing historical perspectives of this monumental day in our nation’s history. After all, there is so much to acknowledge!
Here’s what you can expect if you’re seeking a place to celebrate safely.
Due to social-distancing requirements and state gathering restrictions intended to limit health risks, Colonial Williamsburg and the city of Williamsburg are canceling this year’s free community fireworks.
Featured sites will be open with the following special programming in place.
Reading of the Declaration of Independence at Capitol Circle
Hear a reading of the Declaration of Independence as it was read in 1776, when just a few weeks earlier, Virginia’s representatives adopted their own Declaration of Rights and a Constitution for the new state.
“Created Equal” at Charlton Stage
The Declaration of Independence asserts that ‘all men are created equal’ and are endowed with certain unalienable rights—“life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” When those words were written, over 52% of Williamsburg’s population was enslaved. “Created Equal” is an outdoor theatre exploration of African American perspectives on the Declaration, the revolutions it inspired, and the ongoing struggle for equality and freedom in America.
Chownings’ July 4th Celebration Pig Roast in the Garden of Chownings’ Tavern
Families will be seated at their own picnic tables socially distanced from others. Guests will enjoy a large serviced buffet. Separate prepaid tickets and reservations can be made by calling 1-844-811-8229. Tickets are $45.00 for adults and $22.00 for youth (3-10) plus tax and gratuity.
At 5 p.m., bells will ring out along Duke of Gloucester Street and throughout Williamsburg, inviting guests and the community to reflect on the historic events of the day as we commemorate the 244th anniversary of the United States of America and salute those who, throughout our nation’s history, have endeavored to meet the challenges of their times.
Jamestown Settlement will be observing the Fourth of July with the Liberty Celebration and a salute to the 244th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will offer a special lineup to mark the patriotic occasion.
From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., visitors can enjoy interpretive programs, artillery demonstrations and learn about the challenges that faced our nation’s founders, including those who signed the Declaration of Independence, as well as those for whom the new nation’s rights of freedom and liberty did not apply.
Indoors and out, enjoy these liberty experiences:
“Forgotten Soldier” Special Exhibition
As Patriots fought for the freedom of a nation, thousands of men, women and children remained enslaved. Showing through July 8, “Forgotten Soldier” shares the personal stories of African-Americans soldiers and their contributions toward establishing an independent nation. This special exhibition features rare documents, artifacts and art that trace the experiences of enslaved and free African Americans on both sides of the Revolutionary War.
Artillery & Military Drills
Feel the thunder of a cannon blast as historical interpreters fire a salute to our nation’s founders outdoors in the outdoor artillery amphitheater. At the re-created Continental Army encampment, historical interpreters describe and depict daily routines of American soldiers, with demonstrations of military drills, musket and artillery firing, 18th-century surgical and medical practices, and the role of the quartermaster in managing troop supplies. Artillery demonstrations are scheduled at 11 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. in the artillery amphitheater, and a program on feeding the troops is scheduled at 2 p.m.
Revolution-Era Farm Life
In “From Field to Fabric,” visitors can learn how farmers during the American Revolution became more self-sufficient by growing and processing flax, cotton and wool to make clothing. This effort became both a necessity and a political statement of patriotism.
Throughout the day, visitors can also watch historical interpreters cook and prepare a variety of 18th-century dishes on the farm kitchen hearth, using historical recipes from Virginia’s earliest cookbooks, as well as foods of enslaved people and the evolution of period dishes through cultural influences.
We hope you enjoy this guide for celebrating July 4th in Williamsburg. Have a happy Independence Day!