MANY FOURTH OF JULY CELEBRATIONS CAN BE FOUND CLOSE BY TO THE AVENUE
There’s no denying the importance of the date of July 4th in American history. July 4th, 1776, stands as the birth date of the United States as that is when the Second Continental Congress approved the final version of the Declaration of Independence, thus declaring to Great Britain that America was an independent and sovereign nation. (1) Of course, years of strife and struggle followed, but America eventually secured its right to be self-governing. Practically every community in the country celebrates America’s birthday on the Fourth of July through fireworks, barbecue, baseball, and music. Residents of The Avenue at South Orange, New Jersey, look forward to this holiday and are fortunate enough to have quite a few Fourth of July celebrations within a short commute from the apartment complex.
Today, South Orange is a quiet township of approximately 16,198 individuals. (2) While no direct fighting during the Revolutionary War took place in South Orange, George Washington and the Continental Army did use the local roads rather frequently during the conflict. The surrounding area around South Orange is rife with history from this time period. Many of those living at the luxurious The Avenue choose to honor the Fourth of July by visiting some of the local historical sites. In nearby Orange, there is a plaque at the Old Burying Ground cemetery that honors 78 patriots who fought in the Revolutionary War and are now buried in the cemetery. (3) Also of note in the cemetery is the remains of Mary Pierson Williams, who was a supporter of independence and chose to stay on the family farm when her husband and two sons, who were Loyalists, left for British-controlled New York City. In Belleville, New Jersey, there is a plaque in the local church cemetery honoring the memory of 68 Revolutionary War soldiers who are buried there, and there is also a plaque commemorating the Battle of Second River. This battle started on September 12th, 1777, when General Sir Henry Clinton led a force of 600 British troops into Belleville looking for supplies. Local militias arrived to fight off the British, and the battle eventually ended in a draw. Overall, the American forces had 2 men killed, and the British lost 8 men killed, 1 officer and 18 men wounded, and 9 men and 1 drummer boy reported missing. (4)
As for Fourth of July celebrations, residents of The Avenue at South Orange only have to go a couple of miles to take part in the Maplewood 4th of July Celebration. This event takes place on July 4th and begins at 7:30am in Maplewood Memorial Park. (5) This event features a car show, two stages, the Zerbini Family Circus, face painting, boardwalk games, food, and a fireworks display at dusk. One of the largest local Independence Day events can be found in Ridgewood. The Ridgewood Independence Day Celebration is expected to have over 30,000 visitors on July 4th. This patriotic festival kicks off with a flag raising ceremony at 9am, which is followed by a parade at 10am. Other entertainment includes a raffle and live music. The always-popular fireworks extravaganza begins at dusk, which has been rated the best 4th of July fireworks for 11 years in a row by (201) Magazine. (6)
Vivian Penha of The Avenue at South Orange notes, “It’s amazing to see how much Revolutionary War history permeates this entire region. I know quite a few residents of The Avenue like to commemorate our nation’s birthday by taking a tour of local historical sites, such as the monument to Joseph Bloomfield, who was a major in the Third New Jersey Regiment and fought in the Battle of Monmouth, located in Bloomfield. There are also several plaques there commemorating the Battle of Second River. Springfield and Millburn contain several plaques that mark the main locations for the Battle of Springfield, in which 1500 Continental soldiers and 500 militia under the command of Nathanael Greene held off a combined force of 5000 British and Hessian troops who were trying to reach Morristown and seize George Washington’s supplies. This battle was important as it marked the last major battle to take place in the north as subsequent campaigns were fought in the south. As for catching fireworks, there are several places that are having their fireworks early. People can choose to go to Mount Arlington or Rutherford to watch some impressive fireworks on June 30th and then go to Tenafly on July 1st to watch their fireworks display. As for July 4th itself, many municipalities are having fun-filled events that include parades, live music, games, rides, and then fireworks to cap the day off.” (7)
Those residing at the luxurious The Avenue at South Orange have quite a few Fourth of July options available to them. There are a good number of events taking place in the few days before July 4th, and many more occurring on America’s birthday. The upside is that one can enjoy a good number of fireworks displays as well as partaking in other activities, such as competitive eating contests or going on carnival rides. Many locals also take the time to visit the many markers and monuments that commemorate the actions and bravery of those who fought in the Revolutionary War. Visiting such locales gives the Fourth of July celebrations more meaning and makes one appreciate the country that they live in.
7) Quote from Vivian Penha of The Avenue at South Orange