Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In a few days time my whole town will shift into celebration mode. The Fourth of July is a big thing here, and it begins very early when people go down to the main street to stake out their sidewalk space. This is done by taping blankets to the cement and by parking chairs along the road.
At around eight the streets fill up with runners for the Fourth of July races. I will be running in the shorter of the two, and I am looking forward to it. I had hoped that I could do the longer race, but I just am not in shape to manage the hills along the route. Maybe next year I can tackle this longer run.
After the races there is the parade. This is a very large affair. In fact it is so large that numerous streets blocks away from the parade route have to be shut down to serve as staging areas. Vintage cars, stilt walkers, dancers, bands, dog brigades, floats and more will walk through town for a couple of hours. It is a wonderfully loud and entertaining spectacle.
After the parade, there is a reading of the Declaration of Independence in the park and live music. We like to take a picnic to this event and the town's children have a blast paddling in the river and eating ice cream, cotton candy, and other sweet confections.
This year is going to be special because a German friend of mine will be with us. I am looking forward to seeing what she thinks of this celebration. I am sure some of the parade entries will puzzle and amuse her.
The day wraps up with a spectcular fireworks display. This year we will be watching it from our front porch, sharing the time with lots of friends.
Every year I sit down with my daughter to read a book or two about the first fourth of July. We discuss the events that lead up to the writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence, and my daughter likes to read the opening lines of that famous document. If you are looking for books to help your child or children understand the story behind the Fourth of July, take a look at the Through the Looking Glass Book Review Fourth of July feature. This is an excellent collection of books for readers of all ages. Also check out the American Revolutionary War feature for related titles.

Happy reading! I'll have a review for you of In 1776 tomorrow.

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