Perhaps the grandest Fourth of July celebration in the National Park System will be held in Washington, D.C., on the National Mall, where you can watch a parade, enjoy the Folklife Festival, listen to the U.S. Navy Band, and, of course, marvel at one of the largest fireworks displays in the country.
“The National Park Service has been planning since the last Fourth of July to ensure that our visitors have a fun-filled and safe holiday,” said Bob Vogel, superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks.
In preparation for Independence Day, NPS maintenance employees will oversee the installation of 18,000 linear feet of chain link fencing and 14,000 feet of bike rack. Almost 350 portable toilets are placed throughout the Mall. U.S. Park Police has been working in conjunction with multiple agencies to ensure the safety of visitors. About 150 National Park Service employees and more than 100 volunteers will work on the holiday itself. A multi-agency team will be manning a total of six medical aid stations, five on the National Mall and one at Arlington Memorial Circle. Cleanup crews begin their work at 10 p.m. on the Fourth and work into the next day. George Washington Memorial Parkway will be staffed by another 50 people.
As always, safety is the top priority for the Park Service. The U.S. Park Police will again be using a text notification service to quickly deliver important and emergency information to visitors. Cellphone users can receive emergency notifications via text message by texting JULY4DC to 888777. This year, the U.S. Park Police will also be using GPS technology to aid in family reunification.
“We are utilizing the latest technology to keep the public safe and informed," said Rob MacLean, acting chief of the U.S. Park Police.
NPS contractor, Garden State Fireworks, will fire more than 6,000 shells between 9:10 p.m. and 9:27 p.m. for one of the best displays in the country.
The National Mall is a prime spot for viewing the fireworks, but not the only place. In Washington D.C., Meridian Hill Park and Lincoln Park, both administered by the Park Service, provide a good vantage point. In Virginia, the fireworks can be seen from Gravelly Point, the Mount Vernon Trail, the United States Marine Corps War Memorial and Arlington Ridge.
Parking is very limited on both sides of the Potomac, and public transportation is strongly encouraged. Parking in Virginia is limited to Gravelly Point and the north Pentagon parking lot. Parking will not be allowed on grassy areas at Gravelly Point.
The fireworks will only be postponed in case of heavy rain, thunderstorms or high winds. The rain date for the fireworks is July 5.
Highlights of the day include:
Ranger Talks – Korean War Memorial, Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King Memorial and World War II Memorial
Talks are every hour on the hour 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. The last talk at the World War II Memo is at 3 p.m.
Fourth of July Parade – Constitution Ave., N.W. from 7th to 17th St.
11:45 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival – National Mall, between 7th and 14th Streets
11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The 2014 annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, co-sponsored by the NPS, will be open on the National Mall from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. between 9th and 14th streets. For more information, please visit:www.folklife.si.edu or call 202-633-1000.
Concert – Sylvan Theater on the Washington Monument Grounds
6 p.m. – 9:10 p.m.
Featuring the U.S. Navy Band
A Capitol Fourth Concert – West Lawn the U.S. Capitol
8 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
The concert will be hosted by television personality Tom Bergeron. Gates open at 3 p.m.
9:10 p.m. - 9:27 p.m.
Complete information on all events can be found at www.nps.gov/foju.