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June 24, 2010

Celebrate July 4th in the 18th-century Capital of Virginia That Witnessed the Birth of a Nation

Celebrate the Fourth of July in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area where the story of American independence began more than 200 years ago.

10 a.m. on Market Square, Salute to the States kicks off the day’s programming. A special militia muster in commemoration of the anniversary of the birth of our nation honors the 13 original colonies. Colonial Williamsburg’s Fifes and Drums play while the flags of each state are displayed. Muskets and cannon fire salute the event. No ticket is required to attend.

11 a.m. on the Capitol Green, guests can witness the program, The Times that Try Men’s Souls: An American Patriot Speaks about Revolution. Patriot Patrick Henry recalls the origins of the American Revolution in Williamsburg and remembers important lessons in citizenship learned in the colonial capital. He challenges citizens to consider what independence might mean, and what their rights are and responsibilities will be in a self-governing republic. No ticket is required to attend this event.

11:35 a.m. in the backyard of the Coffeehouse, catch The Promised Land. Gowan Pamphlet, a popular 18th-century African American Baptist preacher, talks about his hopes for the future in a new society where all citizens are equal and where there will be no state church connected with the government. A young soldier confronts him with questions of faith in the face of war and world-changing events. No ticket is required to attend this event.

12:30 p.m. at Capital Circle on Duke of Gloucester Street, A Declaration of Independence will take place. The Declaration of Independence is read to the citizens of Williamsburg. This news arrives only a few weeks after Virginia’s representatives have adopted their own Declaration of Rights and a Constitution for the new state. No ticket is required to attend this event.

Hear music from the collections of our Founding Fathers as well as some of the patriotic pieces that inspired the Revolution during Planters and Patriots: Songs of the Revolution at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Join the Cobham Consort for a spirited concert of political songs and popular ballads and tunes from colonial Virginia. Admission to this program is included in all Historic Area or Museum admission passes.

At 8:15 p.m., Music for the Fireworks leads up to the fireworks display. The Fifes and Drums perform a concert of patriotic music on stage behind the Courthouse. No ticket is required to attend this event.

Fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m. The best places to see these spectacular fireworks are from Market Square or Palace Green. Parking is available at the Visitor Center. Due to heavy traffic, shuttle bus service to the Historic Area is not available between 8:45 and 10:45 p.m. Shuttle bus service is available with or without Colonial Williamsburg admission tickets.

Guests are encouraged to bring a blanket or a lawn chair, and park at the Visitor Center and take Colonial Williamsburg’s buses to the Historic Area. No ticket is required to enjoy this program.

Also happening this summer, Spirit of Liberty will take place at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Former slave, Gowan Pamphlet, recalls the events of 1776 and their impact on the enslaved community. The program will run every Friday, July 2 through Friday, Sept. 3. The time for the event is 3:30 p.m. Admission to this program is included in all Historic Area or Museum admission passes.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121