July 4th Fun Facts

Picnics, fun, and fireworks. These are three of the first memories that come to most Americans when thinking of July 4th. “Our American Experiment” in democracy, which is also the name a popular high school history textbook, is celebrated each summer dating back over 200 years.

Our intern historians scoured the archives to find these Fun Facts about July 4th – which is prefect timing to impress your friends and family on the holiday. Check out these tantalizing teasers about fireworks, American history, and traditional celebrations.



  1. John Adams stated that the great national holiday should be celebrated “with illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward, forevermore.”
  2. The first fireworks lit the sky on July 4th, 1777.
  3. There are approximately 16,000 Independence Day fireworks displays each year -that’s $1 billion worth of fireworks.
  1. The largest fireworks display is the famous Macy’s fireworks show in New York City.
  2. 99% of consumer fireworks are imported from China.

You may be asking yourself: self, where are some great places to see the skies light up? Don’t fret. You can check out our recently published blog on the Top 5 US Cities to Watch July 4th Fireworks .

July 4th & the Declaration of Independence

July 4th & the Declaration of Independence

  1. The Continental Congress officially voted for independence on July 2, not on July 4.
  2. John Adams steadfastly believed that July 2 was the real date and he reportedly turned down invitations to appear at July 4 events in protest.
  3. John Hancock is the first founder to sign the Declaration of Independence and has the largest signature – hence the expression, “give me your John Hancock.”
  1. The Pennsylvania Evening Post was the first to publish the Declaration of Independence in its July 6, 1776 edition.
  2. The famous line “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” was originally drafted as “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Property.” It was Benjamin Franklin who smartly convinced Jefferson to change “Property” to “Happiness.”
July 4th in History

July 4th in History

  1. The first official Independence Day celebration took place on July 4, 1777, in Philadelphia.
  2. Three US presidents and Founding Fathers died on the Fourth of July: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson each in 1826, on the 50th anniversary, , and James Monroe in 1831.
  3. America’s 30th president, Calvin Coolidge, was born on July 4, 1872.
  1. The Continental Army was still fighting the Revolutionary War on the Fourth of July in 1778 so George Washington ordered a double ration of rum for his soldiers to celebrate.
  2. July 4th wasn’t an official holiday until almost 100 years later in 1870.


  1. It was once considered disrespectful to keep your business open on the 4th of July.
  2. Other countries including Denmark, England, Norway, Portugal, and Sweden all take part in hosting commemorations for the Fourth of July.
  3. Every July 4, descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence tap the Liberty Bell 13 times in honor of the original 13 colonies.
  1. The new Freedom Tower in New York was designed to be 1,776 feet tall.
  2. The first July 4th parade was in Rhode Island which has been happening since 1785.


  1. The 4th of July has the highest beer sales out of all federal holidays, and even the Super Bowl.
  2. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest is held on July 4th every year in Coney Island, New York. The record: 14-time champion Joey Chestnut ate 76 hot dogs in 10 minutes.
  3. According to the USA Today, the Top 5 July 4th Foods are: Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, Wings, Potato Salad, and Cupcakes.
  1. Among other 4th of July celebrations are a marshmallow fight in San Diego, a national fence painting contest in Hannibal, Missouri, and Lobster Races in Bar Harbor, ME.
  2. The Philippines also celebrates July 4. They gained independence from the U.S. by signing the Treaty of Manila on July 4, 1946.


What are your favorite July 4th traditions?


What do you THINK?

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