The Fourth of July is my favorite holiday (after my birthday; tied with Easter). I love fireworks more than most things (although, as you’ll learn later today, this is not an opinion shared by everyone) and it’s a great mid-summer chance to get together with friends for a bbq and some beer. (Or, in my case this year, a low country boil.)
My first Fourth of July in DC was the summer of ’92. Times were different back then. You could bring coolers – or even kegs – to the Mall, hang out all day and drink and snack and have your America Day celebration right there without anyone batting an eyelash. I even recall some folks bringing couches down to camp out for the day. Of course, times have changed, and the Mall isn’t nearly as much fun as it used to be, and so more often than not, I end up catching what I can from my patio, and then heading to Lincoln Park for the unofficial display there.
The thing is, the Lincoln Park display is by and large illegal. In the District of Coumbia, the only legal “fireworks” are sparklers less than 20 inches, torches, box fire, fountains, cones, dip sticks, non-poisonous snakes, paper novelty items, colored lights, and paper caps. So basically nothing more explosive than a Christmas popper.
Everything else including firecrackers or fireworks that explode, such as cherry bombs, salutes, Roman candles, floral shells, and artillery shells is illegal.
You’ve probably noticed that around this time of year, several temporary stands are erected for you to buy your snakes and sparklers. Here is a map listing all of the licensed vendors this year.
Whatever choices you make, be careful out there. Our houses are old and very close together; many are made of wood and/or have highly flammable roofs. Be mindful of children and pets. And if you’d rather be safe than sorry, walk the few blocks down to the Mall.
Happy Fourth, everyone!