By John Burton
Happy Fourth of July!
The celebration of July 4 has always been a cause for fun and fireworks and on this nation’s 238th birth is no exception.
John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail about July 2 when a resolution of independence was first approved – and later revised on July 4- that he believed the day “will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.[
Some of those celebrations taking place in this area include:
Atlantic Highlands: The borough’s volunteer fire department is holding its annual fair now.
The event, which began Tuesday and continues through Saturday and runs from 6 to 11 p.m. each day, will feature July 4 fireworks at about 9:45 p.m. The fair, which features games, rides and a large food court, is being held at the municipal marina on Simon Lake Drive at the eastern end of First Avenue.
Additional parking and shuttle buses will be available on fireworks night at St. Agnes Church on Center Avenue; Fireman’s Field at Avenue C and West Highland Avenue; and the Masonic Lodge on East Garfield Avenue.
Long Branch: Long Branch’s Chamber of Commerce is holding its 24th annual Oceanfest from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 4, on the city’s Promenade. The chamber advertises it as the largest 4th of July celebration in the state featuring multiple stage areas for live entertainment, family-friendly activities, artists and crafters presenting their work, as well as food and refreshments. The day will culminate with a fireworks display that evening.
Asbury Park: The city will hold its annual July 4 fireworks display on the beachfront. The display, sponsored by the city’s chamber of commerce, is scheduled to begin at dusk.
In addition, a carnival, which began Tuesday, continues through Saturday at from 2 to 10 p.m. each day at Atlantic Park, in the area of the boardwalk near Convention Hall.
Red Bank: The First Presbyterian Church at Red Bank (Tower Hill) is offering its Liberty Extravaganza, an annual red, white and blue musical celebration, at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 6, at the 255 Harding Road church.
The 26th annual church event will include a concert of patriotic, traditional favorites and gospel music by the Liberty Choir, consisting of church and community members, soloists and a brass ensemble. A portion of the concert will feature a tribute to the armed forces. The evening will conclude with the raising of the American flag.
Church doors open at 6:45 p.m. for admission to the concert. While admission is free, the church would welcome offerings to benefit the concert series.
Before the concert will be the church’s strawberry festival on the church patio. The festival, which will begin at 5 p.m. will feature music from the Hot Taters band. There will be a $5 charge for the homemade strawberry dessert.
Keansburg: Fireworks have been scheduled for dusk on Thursday and Friday, July 3-4, at Keansburg Amusement Park, 275 Beachway Ave.
Freehold: The 11th annual reading of the Declaration of Independence is slated for 9 a.m. July 4 at the borough’s municipal building.
Mayor J. Nolan Higgins will portray Thomas Jefferson and will read the first portion of the Declaration, followed by members of the audience who will each read a few words. The names of the signers of the Declaration from each of the original 13 states will be read aloud at the end of the reading, and the fire bell next door at the firehouse will toll as each of the states’ names are announced. Copies of the document will be distributed at 8:45 a.m. to those who would like to take part.
Later on July 4, Freehold Raceway will be the site of a concert and fireworks. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m. The rain date is Sunday, July 6. Downtown Freehold is the sponsor of the concert and fireworks.
Ocean Grove: An Independence Day parade, sponsored by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, July 4.
The Ocean Grove Summer Band will present its Independence Day Concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 5, in the Great Auditorium. The concert is free but donations will be accepted.
Bradley Beach: The borough’s annual fireworks display has been slated for 9 p.m. Saturday, July 5, on the beachfront. The rain date is Saturday, July 12.