Colonial Williamsburg Celebrates the Birth of America with Full Day of Patriotic Festivities July 4

Colonial Williamsburg Celebrates the Birth of America with Full Day of Patriotic Festivities July 4

Colonial Williamsburg celebrates Independence Day with a full day of patriotic programs and activities culminating in a grand show on the Palace Green and iconic fireworks display.

"America's birthday is an opportunity to reflect upon our Nation's founding," said Mitchell B. Reiss, president and CEO of Colonial Williamsburg. "It is also an opportunity to reflect upon our Nation's enduring story: where we have been, where we are today and what the future holds for us as Americans. At Colonial Williamsburg we share America's enduring story with our guests every day, and I cannot think of anywhere more fitting to celebrate and reflect upon that story on Independence Day. We are excited to present our engaging programs and dazzling fireworks to guests from all over the world."

"Lights of Freedom: A Fourth of July Procession and Fireworks" kicks off at 9 p.m. on the Palace Green and is inspired by the words of Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in 1795 that "light and liberty go together." The program includes a reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonial Williamsburg's Thomas Jefferson, Kurt Smith, and a torch-lit patriotic procession by the Fifes and Drums.

This year's procession features a premiere reading of Commonwealth of Virginia poet Laureate Henry Hart's new work, "Independence Day: An Invitation," by special guest and Colonial Williamsburg Revolutionary in Residence Anika Noni Rose. The Tony-award winner, NAACP Image Award nominee and voice of Princess Tiana in Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" will also sing the National Anthem live during the program.

The fireworks display is set to classic Americana music and includes recordings by The Gentlemen of the College of William & Mary and The Watermans, Colonial Williamsburg's tavern troupe.

Prime fireworks seating on the Palace Green is available for $25 per chair at all Colonial Williamsburg ticketing locations and online. The fireworks soundtrack will be available to stream live on FM 93.5 THE BURG and AM 740 WMBG.

As part of her residency, Anika Noni Rose presents a special Revolutionary in Residence Conversation on her career experiences and perspective portraying women in various works including "Dreamgirls," "Roots," Disney's "The Princess and the Frog," the Starz hit series "Power," BET's "The Quad," Lifetime's "A Day Late and a Dollar Short," "Half a Yellow Sun," CBS's "The Good Wife' and ABC's "Private Practice" at 2 p.m. in the Hennage Auditorium of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. General Colonial Williamsburg admission and a special $10 program ticket are required. More information is available at

"The foundation's spirited observance of July 4 is one of my earliest personal memories of Colonial Williamsburg and something I continue to look forward to each year," said Bill Schermerhorn, Colonial Williamsburg creative director for signature events. "We are especially excited to have Anika Noni Rose with us this July 4 to share not only her talent and vocal abilities but also her professional experiences and perspectives."

Colonial Williamsburg's Revolutionary in Residence program is made possible by a generous grant from The Grainger Foundation of Lake Forest, Illinois.

Independence Day festivities begin at 7:45 a.m. with a Shields Tavern Breakfast Celebration with Thomas Jefferson in the Pavilion area. A special ticket is required; $39.95 per adult, $17.95 per child.

Historic Area sites are open to ticketed guests beginning at 9 a.m. A reading of the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson from the Capitol west balcony begins at 9:30 a.m. Next for the public at 10 a.m. is Salute to the States, a special military muster on Market Square celebrating the original 13 states.

New this year, the Chowning family presents "Washington's Birthright," a music retelling of events that happened in Williamsburg on the Play House Stage at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Colonial Williamsburg admission is required and seating is first come, first served.

A group reading of the Declaration of Independence takes place at noon on the Courthouse steps by a cast of diverse Colonial Williamsburg Nation Builders. Immediately following, they share their personal perspectives on the meaning of the historic document.

Also new this year, the museum theatre experience "Created Equal" explores early African-American perspectives on the Declaration of Independence at 3:30 p.m. at the Charlton Stage. Colonial Williamsburg admission is required and seating is first-come, first-served.

The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg are open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. to guests with Art Museums or Colonial Williamsburg admission. A special music hall program, "Over There! A WWI Music Hall Sing Along" is presented at 4:30 p.m. in the Hennage Auditorium and is included with Colonial Williamsburg and/or Art Museums admission.

Throughout the day, food and beverages are available to the public for purchase at the McKenzie Apothecary Orchard on Palace Green.

For dinner, a Chowning's Tavern July 4 Holiday Party is held 4-8 p.m. and offers a VIP dinner experience before the fireworks with games and live music. A special ticket is required; $76 per adult, $38 per child.

From 4-8 p.m. guests can dine at an All-American Buffet at the Williamsburg Lodge featuring live music, a cash bar, games and crafts. A special ticket is required; $49.95 per adult and $19.95 per youth aged 3-10. For more information and to make dining reservations visit

Guests are invited to sing along to live music performances by the 504 Supremes at 4 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. with the Truetone Honeys on the Social Terrace of the Williamsburg Inn.

Tickets and additional information are available at Colonial Williamsburg ticketing locations, online at by calling 855-296-6627 and by following Colonial Williamsburg on Facebook and @colonialwmsburg on Twitter and Instagram.

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