From the streets of downtown Fredericksburg and the banks of the Rappahannock to beaches of Stratford Hall, there’ll be plenty to do to celebrate Independence Day, and the fun all starts this Saturday in Spotsylvania.
Spotsylvania Stars & Stripes Spectacular
Saturday, June 29, 3 p.m. with fireworks at approximately 9:20 p.m. spotsylvania.va.us
On Saturday, the fun will begin at 3 p.m. at the Spotsylvania Courthouse area with an opening ceremony to include the singing of the national anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance and opening statements at Robert E. Lee Elementary School, 7415 Brock Road.
Four stages, with the main stage at the school, will host bluegrass bands, children’s bands, oldies music and dance groups, said Spotsylvania County spokeswoman Lindsay Leach.
“All of the stages start up at 4 or 4:30 and they go all night until the beginning of the fireworks,” Leach said.
A race car simulator, tow trucks, dump trucks, fire trucks, ambulances, a monster truck and four race cars will be at the event, along with inflatable slides, bounce houses and a kiddie carousel.
The Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Office will bring vehicles, and firefighters will be at the event to help children through a fire safety house.
Children will also have the chance to knock down targets with a fire hose, Leach said.
“It’s going to be super fun. We’ve got over 25 food vendors. We’ve got over 50 business vendors. There’s just tons and tons to do, a bunch of stuff to see,” Leach said. “We’ve got a little bit of everything.”
This year for the first time, the Stars & Stripes Spectacular will include the Stars & Stripes Parade starting at 3:30 p.m. at the Chewning store, 9100 Courthouse Road, and proceeding to the main stage.
“This is our very first Stars & Stripes Parade and we have 170 participants,” Leach said.
The fireworks will begin about 9:20 p.m. and will last about 35 minutes, Leach said.
“We really want to see a lot of people out there. The fireworks are really incredible, and we look forward to seeing everybody,” Leach said.
Parking for the event will be at Courtland Elementary School, 6601 Smith Station Road, and at Courthouse Road Elementary School, 9911 Courthouse Road.
Fredericksburg Heritage Festival
Thursday, July 4, 5-Mile Run begins at 7:45 a.m. and ends with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. facebook.com/FXBGHeritageFestival
The Fredericksburg July 4th Heritage Festival will start at 7:45 a.m. July 4 with a 5-mile run sponsored by the Fredericksburg Host Lions Club beginning at the Visitor Center.
The next event in the schedule will be the Children’s Heritage Day Parade, which festival spokesman Chip Willis said has grown to be quite something over the years.
“When they first started out, they just had a few kids on bikes in costume, but this thing has really grown. The parade has turned into something really special,” Willis said of the parade, sponsored by the Blue Star Mothers VA 4.
The parade is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. and run from the Virginia Railway Express lot to Caroline Street to George Street, to Princess Anne Street and to Lafayette Boulevard.
Willis said there will be prizes for the best costume and the best decorated bicycle.
The day continues with all kinds of activities during the Festival of the Streets, Willis said.
A craft fair, sponsored by Beth Sholom Temple, with more than 100 crafters, will be set up along Charlotte, Sophia and Hanover streets between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Local car lovers will also bring their cars to town, Willis said. “We’ll have a bunch of antique cars and that’s always a big hit. It turns into being something pretty special.”
This year, there will be a skating rink in addition to face painting, a moon bounce and a petting zoo.
At noon, folks from the American Legion will host a Presentation of the Colors and Fredericksburg Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw will give a welcome talk.
Between 1 and 3 p.m. there will be a public reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, 1020 Caroline St.
At 4:30 p.m., things start happening at John Lee Pratt Memorial Park, 120 River Road.
Food vendors will be on hand to feed people who will be able to enjoy live music between 6 and 7:30 p.m. while children play at backyard games.
The main event, the fireworks, sponsored by Stafford County and the City of Fredericksburg, will begin at 9:30 p.m. and can be seen from Pratt Park or Old Mill Park and many other places around the city, Willis said.
“You can see the fireworks from any high area in town,” Willis said.
Parking for the event will be at the Eagles Lodge, 21 Cool Springs Road, with trolleys running between the lodge, downtown Fredericksburg and Ferry Farm, George Washington’s boyhood home.
Fourth of July at Ferry Farm
Thursday, July 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. $1. ferryfarm.org
At Ferry Farm, visitors will be able to celebrate the day during a patriotic flag retirement ceremony and talk to reenactors, as well as members of the Patawomeck tribe.
There will be live history demonstrations and theater performances, along with educational programs, festive music, games, crafts and hands-on activities for the whole family, Willis said.
Admission is $1 per person. Parking is at the Eagles Lodge.
Handicap parking available at Ferry Farm, 268 King’s Highway.
Shuttles run between the Eagles Lodge, Ferry Farm and Downtown Fredericksburg.
Lees & Independence: Family Fun Festival
Thursday, July 4, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. stratfordhall.org
Stratford Hall Plantation will host its annual Lees and Independence Family Fun Festival from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 4.
Stratford Hall spokeswoman Anne Wilson said there will be face painting, history tents, Colonial games, a scavenger hunt and a “Sign Your Own Declaration of Independence” activity where children can practice their best Declaration signatures.
Stratford Hall, the home to the Lee family, is just off State Route 3 on State Route 214 in Westmoreland County, along the shores of the Potomac River.
The brothers, Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee, were the only two brothers to sign the Declaration of Independence, and Civil War Gen. Robert E. Lee was born at the plantation.
“Coming to a place that’s the home of the only two brothers that signed the Declaration of Independence—from a historical perspective—it’s a really cool place to be on the Fourth of July,” Wilson said. “It’s all free and a great day to be at Stratford Hall.”
Visitors to Stratford will also be able to look for fossils along the river shore, Wilson said.
“You can find sharks’ teeth along the beaches and we’ll have identification sheets for the kids to identify fossils,” Wilson said. “In addition to the great house, there’s lots to see and explore. We’ve got nature trails and the ability to have a picnic. It just offers a really neat experience.”
The musical group Colonial Fare will perform in the Great House between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.
The parade at Stratford Hall will be filled with critters.
“We encourage people to bring their pets in costume,” Wilson said.
The reenactors at Stratford stand ready to answer any questions, Wilson said.
“They are extremely knowledgeable and make it fun for all ages,” Wilson said.