Let freedom ring and the fireworks bang.

July Fourth is an incredibly significant day in American history. This is the day the United States officially became its own nation. The Declaration of Independence was adopted on July Fourth, 1776, and America was born. 

As American citizens we celebrate our nation's birthday with festivals, parades, fireworks, barbecues, sparklers and other festive activities.

A little reminder of history helps us understand the significance of such celebrating. America was first comprised of 13 colonies established by Great Britain. 

The first colony was settled in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607. European countries, especially Great Britain, continued to colonize America throughout the 17th century and a good portion of the 18th century. 

By 1775, an estimated 2.5 million settlers lived in the 13 colonies: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Tensions grew as Great Britain began passing legislation that gave it more control within the colonies, especially when it came to taxing the colonists. The colonies didn’t have a say in the crown’s policies. This became known as taxation without representation and quickly became the foundation of the American Revolution.

The Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party further escalated tensions between British occupiers and American colonists. Those tensions exploded in April 1775 when the Battles of Lexington and Concord broke out in Massachusetts as British forces attempted to confiscate weapons from the colonists. 

It was the first time colonial militias battled British troops, and thus, the American Revolution War began.

June 1776 Continental Congress had a meeting in Philadelphia. Here, Virginia statesman Richard Henry Lee proposed a motion for the colonies to declare independence from Britain. A committee was formed to draft an official independence document, which became known as the Declaration of Independence. 

On July 2, 1776, Lee’s motion for independence was approved. Two days later, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was officially adopted, and America became a free nation. After declaring independence, America continued to fight in the Revolution War and officially defeated Great Britain in September 1783.

The history of the Fourth of July is quite interesting, but there are other interesting Fourth of July facts to take note of:

Some colonists celebrated Independence Day during the summer of 1776 by putting on mock funerals for King George III of England – symbolizing the death of the crown’s rule on America.

The first annual commemoration of Independence Day happened on July 4, 1777, in Philadelphia.

John Adams, a Founding Father and the second president of the United States, strongly believed Independence Day should be celebrated on July 2. He even refused to attend Fourth of July events because he felt so strongly about July 2 being the correct date.

Adams, along with Thomas Jefferson, another Founding Father, both died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe, another U.S. president, also died on July 4, but he passed in 1831.

Thomas Jefferson was the first president to celebrate Independence Day at the White House, in 1801. The celebration featured horse races, parades, food, and drinks, similar to our celebrations today.

Although the Fourth of July has been celebrated each year since 1776, it didn’t become a federal holiday until 1870. And it didn’t become a paid holiday for federal employees until 1941.

Many modern Fourth of July traditions stem from America’s early independence celebrations. People would attend bonfires, concerts and parades to celebrate their new nation. It was common for the Declaration of Independence to be read aloud, followed by muskets and cannons firing. It is most likely that the earliest Americans celebrated the Fourth of July loudly and proudly.

Over time, those traditions evolved and became the Independence Day traditions we know today. 

Fourth of July fireworks. Whether you buy your own fireworks or watch a local fireworks display, lighting fireworks is a longstanding tradition for Americans on the Fourth of July. The Cannon Falls Fair puts on a magnificent fireworks display. If you happen to be in the grandstand you can also enjoy the ground fireworks also. The fireworks begin at dusk.

Fourth of July barbecues. What’s a Fourth of July celebration without a barbecue? Many Americans host or attend barbecues on Independence Day. Hot dogs and hamburgers, baked beans, corn on the cob and potato salad are Minnesota favorites for the Fourth.

Backyard celebrations. You can’t have a barbecue without some backyard fun. Many people have backyard games while celebrating America’s independence.

Fourth of July parades. Many communities gather to march in the streets to celebrate. You’ll see floats, music, and a whole lot of red, white and blue. The Cannon Falls parade starts at 11 a.m. 

Fourth of July Sing Alongs. Singing will ring out across our nation. For over 45 years it has been a tradition of the historic Episcopal church of the Redeemer to have a community sing along of patriotic songs. This starts before the parade at 10 a.m. inside the church at 230 N. Third St. All are welcome.

Wearing red, white and blue. Every heart beats true under red, white and blue. Wearing the colors of the American flag is another tradition many people like to participate in. Get out your Fourth of July attire.

Waving mini American flags. What better way to celebrate America’s birthday than to wave the flag? Come and wave your flag at the Cannon Falls parade.

The 4th of July is a holiday many of us hold near and dear to our hearts. On this day, we remember the country’s fight for freedom and celebrate the United States with friends, family, food and fun. Happy birthday, USA.

You can participate in another Fourth of July Cannon Falls tradition by volunteering to help at the fair gates July 1, 2 and 3 and help make the Cannon Valley Fair a success.

Call Lora Bremer at 507-263-2136 or email

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