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Unique 4th of July Celebrations
Most people celebrate the 4th of July pretty similarly: by throwing meat on the grill for a good, old-fashioned backyard barbecue followed by some explosive fun with fireworks. There’s nothing wrong with a traditional celebration, but Independence Day is a great day for celebrating in new and unique ways, too!
On 4th of July weekend all across the country, you’ll find small festivals and celebrations that are unlike anything you’d expect! These are five of our favorites, and we hope they’ll inspire you to create our next favorite!
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island.
Legend has it that on July 4, 1916, four immigrants met at Coney Island to hold their own hot dog eating contest, the winner of which would have proven himself to be the most patriotic. Although the story has since been revealed to have been an elaborate publicity stunt, that hasn’t stopped tens of thousands of people from flocking to Coney Island each 4th of July to watch the event in person. In fact, the event is so well engrained in American culture that ESPN broadcasts the event each year. The world record is 69 hot dogs and buns, and while you probably won’t beat it (we hope), why not add a little friendly competition to your 4th of July bash?
The San Francisco Mime Troupe Opening Show.
Despite its name, the San Francisco Mime Troupe performs live musical comedy and political satire. Shortly after the troupe’s foundation, a court ruling gave anyone the right to perform in the city’s public parks — whether they have a permit or not. Each year since then, the San Francisco Mime Troupe has opened its season with free, energetic shows in parks throughout the Bay Area on the 4th of July. Today, they are one of San Francisco’s most well loved traditions! Want to add a little drama to your celebration? Pull out some prompts and throw an impromptu, revolutionary improv show with help from your guests!
Hannibal, Missouri’s Tom Sawyer Days.
St. Petersburg, Missouri, where the Adventures of Tom Sawyer takes place, was based on the real town of Hannibal, Missouri, where its author, Mark Twain, grew up. The town celebrates the life of America’s favorite fictional character with a festival spanning 4th of July weekend. The four-day festival is filled with events, like the Boy Scouts’ frog jump, a comedy hypnotist, a pet show, and a horseshoe tournament. And don’t forget the Tomboy Sawyer look-alike contest! Looking to put a little skip in your party’s step? Lawn games and unconventional contests like those at Tom Sawyer Days make an excellent addition to any backyard bash!
Oregon’s Escatada Timber Festival.
Logging was instrumental to the westward growth of the United States, and in few places is that lumberjacking spirit more alive than in the city of Escatada, OR. Escatada celebrates its rich history with the annual Escatada Timber Festival, a daylong festival on the 4th of July. In addition to live music, the festival boasts a wide variety of logging games, including a horse pull, logrolling, axe throwing, and tree pole speed climbing — all followed by a magnificent fireworks display, of course! Use it as inspiration for your get-together with a Titans of Industry look-alike party! All that’s required is for your guests to dress like any of the American heroes who built our country from the ground: oil barons, steel magnates, iron aficionados, lumberjacks, etc.!
Mr. & Ms. Muscle Beach.
What celebration of the United States of America would be complete without a California beach bod showdown? In Venice, California each Independence Day, more than 100 men and women compete in the Mr. and Ms. Muscle Beach competition, which includes bodybuilding, figure, and physique contests. Your guests can strut their stuff, too, with an all-American, who wore it best stars-and-stripes costume contest!
Need even more help spicing up your own 4th of July celebration, or just aren’t sure how to take your ideas from concept through creation? Check out our collection of DIYs, tips, cocktail recipes and more for an incredible Independence Day!