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The Fourth is Full of Festivities this Year in Washington, D.C.

If there is one thing that Washington, D.C. knows how to do better than any other city in this country, it is celebrating America.

With this Thursday being the birthday of our nation, the town takes it to a whole new level with numerous festive celebrations, all of which are wonderful ways to partake in Fourth of July fun.

Any proper celebration of America should involve its beloved pastime. This year the Washington Nationals are making attending a baseball game on the Fourth of July much easier. The past several years have been blisteringly hot in Washington, D.C. over the holiday. This year the temperature isn’t expected to soar nearly as much, making it easy to go out and support Washington’s team.

They’ll play the San Diego Padres at 11:00 a.m., a special start time designed for you to sit in the stands without sweltering in midday temperatures. It also begins early enough so that if you have a full Fourth of July planned you’ll be able to get to all of it.

What are some other festivities you might want to enjoy? The standard for the day is and forever will be A Capitol Fourth, held on the West Lawn of the Capitol, a prelude to the biggest fireworks display in the area.

The concert begins at 8:00 p.m. but anyone wishing to see the show can arrive at the West Lawn as early as 3:00 p.m.

The acts this year are as diverse and famous as always, with Barry Manilow headlining the event followed by several winners of American Idol and Darren Criss of Glee fame. One of the biggest attractions will be Oscar-winning conductor John Williams, who will lead the the National Symphony Orchestra in songs from the score of Lincoln.

Afterward, right around 9:00 p.m,. the fireworks extravaganza will take place.

If you aren’t interested in making it down to the Mall on Thursday night, there are still a number of places to catch the big display. Several spots in Arlington that are excellent for gazing over the river are the Iwo Jima Memorial in Rosslyn and the Air Force Memorial in Crystal City. Both sit high above the city and provide exceptional vantage points for catching the bright hues and exploding shells shooting above the National Mall.

In Crystal City is Arlington’s Independence Day Party, which takes place at Long Bridge Park, beginning at 3:00 p.m. and going until the fireworks end around 10. Long Bridge Park sits right on Roaches Run Waterfowl Sanctuary, which is adjacent to the Potomac at the 14th Street Bridge and should offer unparalleled views. Plus all day there will be live music, kickball games and arts and crafts vendors. Like all these locations, the Arlington Independence Day Party is entirely free to attend.

Gaithersburg, Maryland will have its own firework celebration, for those who not making it near D.C, at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. The party will start with several local cover bands playing before the real treat right comes on right around dusk.

West of Washington, D.C., the town of Vienna, Virginia will be have an all-day festival that concludes with fireworks as well. The July 4th Festival and Fireworks Show is a packed event, with both a chili cookoff and an antique car show. It also includes another delightful treat: what might be the day’s only pet parade. Bring your pet down to the festival dressed however you’d like and at noon everyone and their dogs and cats will march down the street. The fireworks display, if that’s what you are more interested in, begins at 9:15 p.m.

So this Thursday, wherever you are in Washington, D.C., there’s no excuse not to spend the day in the most patriotic ways possible.

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