Sweet Freedom

Jun 1, 2005
Outside Magazine
Faneuiel Hall, Boston

AWAITING THE CELEBRATION: Boston's Faneuiel Hall    Photo: PhotoDisc

Boston, MA
Boston calls itself "headquarters for America's biggest Independence Day party," and we have to agree. The free, all-day extravaganza draws upwards of 700,000 to the banks of the Charles River. The Boston Pops performs, fighter jets buzz overhead, and—for the finale—17,500 pounds of pyrotechnics are launched into the sky from barges. Best seat in the house? Why, the bow of your boat, of course. www.july4th.org

Galena, IL
Birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant, this hilly river town of 3,500 kicks off the celebration with a morning parade, just like any small town should, followed by rooftop parties, wine-and-cheese tastings, live music, art exhibits—sponsored by local merchants—and, at dusk, a patriotic sound-off in the midwestern sky. www.galena.org

Telluride, CO
Declare your independence at Telluride's fiercely funky parade, in which locals and visitors march, ride, skate, gallop, and dance down Colorado Avenue in homemade costumes (picture risqué cowgirls and dancing superheroes). After the local firefighters' ribs-and-roast barbecue, enter the pie-eating contest, then burn it off during the sack races. At sunset, lie back on the lawn—there's nothing like fireworks against all the purple mountains' majesty. www.visittelluride.com

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