Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016 - NewsMaker

For a Truly Different Independence Day Go Beyond the Fireworks at These Alternative Events

BOSTON, MA -- (Marketwired) -- Jun 21, 2016 -- Barbecues, parades and fireworks. They're the trifecta of Fourth of July celebrations, and some Americans wouldn't have it any other way. But what if you'd like to experience a different kind of celebration to mark Independence Day?

To offer you some alternatives, the travel experts at, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, have collected a choice group of Independence Day celebrations around the U.S. in their Beyond fireworks: 10 alternative Fourth of July traditions to try. Ranging from eating contests and body-building displays to lesser-known events like tapping on the Liberty Bell, one of these celebrations might become a new family tradition.

Here's a sampling of alternative celebrations across the land:

  • See the Mr. & Ms. Muscle Contest, Muscle Beach, Venice, California - Muscle Beach in Venice, California, is a symbol of the most famous and celebrated bodybuilding champions of the world (the official Venice Muscle Beach logo features a silhouette of Arnold Schwarzenegger) and a year-round workout destination for extreme fitness devotees. On July Fourth each year, professional and amateur bodybuilders from around the world flock here to strut their stuff in the annual Mr. and Ms. Muscle Beach Contest. Any athlete can enter the contest for $100 (registration begins at 7 a.m. on July 4). Pre-judging begins at 10 a.m. and the final competition is at 1 p.m.

  • Witness the tapping of the Liberty Bell, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Like the ad for Visit Philadelphia says, "Nobody does the 4th like those who did it 1st." Philadelphia hosts an eight-day birthday party for America known as the Wawa Welcome America! June 27 to July 4. Festival events include a patriotic ceremony in front of Independence Hall, a parade through the streets of Historic Philadelphia, three fireworks shows and a massive, outdoor free concert on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway featuring Tony-nominated Leslie Odom, Jr. of Broadway's hit show "Hamilton." One of the most moving ceremonies of Wawa Welcome America! is the annual tapping of the Liberty Bell hosted by the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution and the Descendants of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. To avoid cracking it more, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846, so it's symbolically tapped 13 times instead (one time for each of the 13 colonies). The event begins at 1:45 p.m. on the Fourth of July when descendants of signers of the Declaration of Independence and children who have newly become U.S. citizens will tap the Liberty Bell. Admission is free, but plan to be in line at the Liberty Bell Center by 1 p.m. for the tapping. An alternative is to watch the related outdoor ceremony at 1 p.m. in Independence Square, behind Independence Hall. This is where the Declaration of Independence was originally read aloud on July 8, 1776 (marking American's first Independence Day celebration).

  • Step back in time at a Colonial Faire, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia - Step back in time with a special militia muster, faire and fireworks during a four-day commemoration of the anniversary of the birth of the nation in Colonial Williamsburg, a 300-acre re-creation of the capital of the largest and most populous British colony at the outset of the American Revolution. Events held include Salute to the States at 10 a.m. in Market Square, a special militia muster to honor the 13 original states with the playing of fifes and drums, display of flags, as well as muskets and cannons in Market Square; a screening of "1776," a musical film that showcases the days leading up to July 4, 1776, at The Kimball Theatre; a reading of the Declaration of Independence at 11 a.m. on the courthouse steps; and the Colonial Faire, an event for children to engage in 18th century-inspired activities, such as foot races, hobby horse races, tomahawk throwing and cannon firing. Many events are included with admission ($40.99/adult, $20.49/child 6 to 12, free/child under 6).

  • Listen to a reading of the Declaration of Independence, Boston, Massachusetts - The American Revolution began in Boston, so it's fitting that the city hosts annual celebrations that are a testament to Bostonians' civic pride and maritime tradition. The 35th annual Boston Harborfest includes four days of fun July 1 to 4 with two readings of the Declaration of Independence and a fireworks show on the Esplanade set to music by the Boston Pops Orchestra. Begin July Fourth by listening to a reading of the Declaration of Independence at 10 a.m. at the Old State House or watch a dramatic reading at 1 p.m. at Old North Church.

Throughout the nation, there are even more unique takes on the Fourth, like midnight fireworks in Alaska; fence painting in Hannibal, Missouri; a viewing of the Declaration of Independence at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.; a world famous eating contest at Coney Island; a Presidential reenactment at Mount Rushmore; and America's oldest Fourth of July celebrations in Bristol, Rhode Island. For the complete list, check out's Beyond fireworks: 10 alternative Fourth of July traditions to try at

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