The dog days of summer offer little in the way of holiday cheer. Fall gets Thanksgiving and Halloween, while winter can boast of Christmas and New Year’s Day. However, summer does get the most patriotic of holidays, the Fourth of July. It’s always a joy to celebrate the birth of the United States with a day of music, burgers and hot dogs, a baseball game, and a massive fireworks show. Luckily for the residents of The Avenue at South Orange, New Jersey, they have a plethora of Fourth of July events they can choose to enjoy.
Like every person who’s attended grade school, the residents of The Avenue at South Orange know the facts behind this American holiday. While the Continental Congress voted for independence on July 2nd, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was not formally adopted until July 4th. Due to the eloquence of this document and its vital place in American history, the country recognized the Fourth of July as its founding date. It took until 1870 for Congress to make July 4th a federal holiday, and federal employees had to wait until 1941 to get the day off with pay. (1)
The township of New Orange, New Jersey, is one of a closely-knit community of townships in Essex County. The population of 16,340 people look forward to celebrating the Fourth of July every year with lots of outdoor fun, such as concerts, barbeques, and fireworks. (2) Of course, locals can pay their respects to some Revolutionary War heroes at the Old Burying Ground cemetery at the First Presbyterian Church in Orange where some veterans of America’s fight for independence are laid to rest.
Residents of the luxurious The Avenue apartment complex at South Orange are spoiled with choices when it comes to celebrating the Fourth of July. Most of the townships within a few miles have their own celebration, complete with fireworks display. East Orange is starting their celebration at 5pm on July 4th at Robeson Stadium. The doors will open at 5pm, and the show will begin at 7pm. (3) West Orange is starting their event at 4:30pm at the West Orange High School’s baseball/soccer field. This event features plenty of games, music, an eating contest, giveaways, and a fireworks show that begins at dusk. (4)
Maplewood, just a couple of miles from South Orange and The Avenue, has probably the largest Fourth of July celebration in the area. The event kicks off at 7:30am with a 5K run, followed by a parade at 8:15am and a car show from 10am to 3:30pm. There is also a baking contest, a kids’ relay, and a circus. The Zerbini Family Circus is putting on five shows between July 3rd and July 4th, and it should be noted that the family has been in the circus business for over 250 years. There is also plenty of food, and 16 bands spread across two stages for musical entertainment. The massive fireworks display begins at 9:25pm. (5) The fireworks spectacular is being put on by Garden State Fireworks, Inc., who has been in the fireworks business for over 120 years. The company has even done the Independence Day Celebration on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
Cynthia Hernandez of The Avenue at South Orange says, “There is no other holiday like the Fourth of July. Between chowing down on burgers and hot dogs and watching a massive fireworks show, I remember that our country started off as an almost improbable dream. It’s always humbling to hear the words of the Declaration of Independence being read out loud during this holiday. As for fun, there are so many options to choose from. Many of our residents at The Avenue love to celebrate the Fourth by attending the massive celebration in Maplewood. Almost every township in Essex County holds a special event to celebrate this patriotic day. People can go to West Orange, Millburn, Belleville, Maplewood, Verona, Cedar Grove, Montclair, East Orange, Livingston, and Nutley to play some games, listen to live music and watch as fireworks light up the night sky. Every person living at The Avenue has their own favorite spot to go to for celebrating the founding of our country.” (6)
6) Quote from Cynthia Hernandez of The Avenue at South Orange