Fourth of July in Lititz, PA

Lititz fireworks

Lititz fireworks

In Lititz, PA the Fourth of July is a very big deal. Forget Christmas—Fourth of July is THE social event of the year in Lititz.

Volunteers organize several days of festivities in Lititz Springs Park. The Lions Club puts on the all-American small town parade. College students home for the summer reunite with high school friends. Parents tow wagons filled with babies dressed in red, white, and blue . This is Americana at its finest.

2011 marked the 200th July 4th celebration in Lititz (194th if you track by continuous years).

Friday night was the Independence Day Parade. My favorite part was the Rajah Temple String Band from Reading, PA.

Rajah Temple String Band

Rajah Temple String Band

Most kids are wise to the candy situation and bring bags to collect the loot.

parade loot

parade loot

After the parade, we all head down to Lititz Springs Park to do the Twist and the Hand Jive along with Flamin’ Dick and the Hot Rods, the popular, traditional pre-Fourth oldies band.

Saturday is The Big Day, starting with the National Anthem and Bell Ringing and ending with one of the best fireworks displays you’ll see anywhere. Seriously.

Actually, The Big Day starts at 8 AM, when people in the know begin hauling chairs and blankets into the park.  You can set up, leave, and return later in the evening, knowing your stuff will be untouched and waiting.

early bird chairs

early bird chairs

If you’re in the Park early, you can see a “before” glimpse of the upcoming candle display. At 8 AM, the only evidence is some wood over the stream and a few disgruntled ducks.

early morning in the park

early morning in the park

By early evening the candles are in place.

candles ready to go

candles ready to go

The lighting begins after the ultra silly Queen of Candles pageant.

lighting the candles

lighting the candles

This year’s schedule allowed for ample time to admire the candles before the fireworks started.

Type E photographs the candles

Type E photographs the candles

When men with leaf blowers come around to extinguish the flame, it’s time to find the folding chair or blanket you set up at 8 AM and wait for the fireworks.

waiting for the fireworks

waiting for the fireworks

In recent years, the always-spectacular Lititz fireworks have been kicked up a notch with the addition of sound. After all, Lititz is home to Clair Brothers Audio Systems, and they do it up right. Because 2011 was the 200th anniversary of the celebration in the park, the Clairs added even more speakers. Fireworks with surround sound!

Lititz fireworks

Lititz fireworks

Though there could have been a few more patriotic tunes, seeing fireworks perfectly timed to Bohemian Rhapsody in surround sound is pretty impressive. And the grand finale was Sousa—can’t argue with that.

Happy Fourth of July!

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