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Governor McAuliffe Signs Deed to Transfer Fort Monroe Land to National Park Service

Governor Terry McAuliffe today signed a deed that transfers land at Fort Monroe from the Commonwealth of Virginia to the National Park Service, solidifying Virginia’s commitment to turning the fort into a national monument for the enjoyment of tourists and history-buffs from all over the Commonwealth and country. 

The deed was signed in a public ceremony at the Main Gate of the Fort by Governor McAuliffe and Peggy O’Dell, the Deputy Director of the National Park Service. The document formally and legally finalizes the transfer of land at Fort Monroe from the Commonwealth of Virginia to the National Park Service.

Governor Terry McAuliffe today signed a deed that transfers land at Fort Monroe from the Commonwealth of Virginia to the National Park Service, solidifying Virginia’s commitment to turning the fort into a national monument for the enjoyment of tourists and history-buffs from all over the Commonwealth and country

“Fort Monroe is a rich historical site that helps tell the story of our Commonwealth and our country,” said Governor McAuliffe. “By transferring this land to the National Park Service, we are creating the opportunity to enhance this great asset so that we can preserve our history and leverage it to draw greater tourism revenue and economic activity to the Peninsula. I am thrilled to sign this deed and help begin the next chapter in the history of Fort Monroe.”

The land transfer preserves a group of significant landmarks at Fort Monroe that highlight some of our nation’s most important events. Robert E. Lee lived at the Fort and helped design and construct the stone fortification. Jefferson Davis was imprisoned in a Fort casemate. Harriet Tubman spent time at the Fort after the Civil War, and Edgar Allen Poe was stationed there as a young soldier.

The Fort also tells the significant story of the beginning and the end of slavery in the United States. One such story includes three brave men — Frank Baker, James Townsend and Sheppard Mallory – who escaped enslavement and rowed a skiff to Old Point Comfort to seek asylum. General Benjamin Butler declared these men "contraband of war." This inspired tens of thousands of African Americans throughout the South to seek self-emancipation across Union lines.  This monument provides a unique opportunity to share this story with visitors from around the world.

The deed signing marks the culmination of years of hard work by state leaders, the City of Hampton, the National Park Service, the historic preservation community, the National Park Conservation Association and the Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park.

To learn more about Fort Monroe, visit http://www.nps.gov/fomr/index.htm.

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$5,000 Grant for First-Time Military Buyers

Making Homes More Affordable for Military Families

The Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation, , a non-profit organization that helps meet the needs of military personnel and their families, has developed the Dream Makers Program to offer financial aid to first-time military home buyers.

The $5,000 grant, which can be used towards down-payments and closing costs on the home, is available for active duty personnel, veterans and retired military members, as well as employees of the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.

The program ensures that the people who have helped serve our country, past or present, now have help in buying their first home.

The foundation has had fewer veterans apply for the grant in recent years, due to the economy and lack of awareness about the program. They have made it their mission to make sure as many active duty members and veterans know about the Dream Makers Program as possible. Please share this with anyone you know who may be eligible.

This program is a great service for our nation’s military personnel who are finally able to purchase a home and settle down.

.Find out more here  www.PentagonFoundation.org

Applying for a Dream Makers Grant

You don’t have to be a Pentagon Federal Credit Union member to benefit from Dream Makers, and you can apply the grant to a mortgage from any financial institution.

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President Signs Proclamation Naming Fort Monroe a National Monument

Known first as "The Gibraltar of the Chesapeake" and later as "Freedom’s Fortress," Fort Monroe on Old Point Comfort in Virginia has a storied history in the defense of our Nation and the struggle for freedom.

President Barack Obama signed an executive order Tuesday granting national monument status to Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, ending a five-year, grassroots effort to protect a storied spit of land that witnessed the beginning and end of slavery in the United States – and lots of military history in between.

Fort Monroe Hampton VaObama’s proclamation on Hampton’s Fort Monroe, which he signed in the Oval Office before more than a dozen witnesses, signals the start of a new chapter for the former Army base, built between 1819 and 1834. The National Park Service will manage more than half the land, including hundreds of acres of undeveloped waterfront property and the moated stone fortress itself.

Tuesday marked Obama’s first use of the Antiquities Act of 1906, which empowers presidents to designate federally owned land of significant historical value as a national monument. Politicians from both parties supported the idea, which was first suggested and long advocated for by a local group of history buffs that formed an alliance called Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park.

Work on the stone fortress began in 1819 under President James Monroe, who sought to protect the fledgling democracy from invasion after the British navy sailed up the Chesapeake Bay and burned Washington during the War of 1812. When it was completed in the 1830s, the "Gibraltar of the Chesapeake," surrounded by an 8-foot-deep moat, enclosed 63 acres.

Fort Monroe was a military base until mid-September, when the Army moved its personnel to comply with a 2005 base realignment and closure decision. A little over half of its 570 acres will be managed by the park service. A state entity, the Fort Monroe Authority, will oversee the reuse of the rest of the property, including limited development in certain sections.

A yet-to-be-announced park superintendent will begin working at Fort Monroe this week, Barna said, with the rest of the staff assembled in the coming months. In the meantime, he said, rangers and staff from other sites will be temporarily assigned to the fort.

Fort Monroe, designed by Simon Bernard and built of stone and brick between 1819 and 1834 in part by enslaved labor, is the largest of the Third System of fortifications in the United States. It has been a bastion of defense of the Chesapeake Bay, a stronghold of the Union Army surrounded by the Confederacy, a place of freedom for the enslaved, and the imprisonment site of Chief Blackhawk and the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. It served as the U.S. Army’s Coastal Defense Artillery School during the 19th and 20th centuries, and most recently, as headquarters of the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.

Old Point Comfort in present day Hampton, Virginia, was originally named "Pointe Comfort" by Captain John Smith in 1607 when the first English colonists came to America. It was here that the settlers of Jamestown established Fort Algernon in 1609. After Fort Algernon’s destruction by fire in 1612, successive English fortifications were built, testifying to the location’s continuing strategic value. The first enslaved Africans in England’s colonies in America were brought to this peninsula on a ship flying the Dutch flag in 1619, beginning a long ignoble period of slavery in the colonies and, later, this Nation. Two hundred and forty-two years later, Fort Monroe became a place of refuge for those later generations escaping enslavement.

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Fort Monroe To Become National Monument

Fort Monroe in Hampton Virginia is expected to be designated a National Monument by  President Barack Obama this Tuesday.

fortmonroeU.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said in a phone interview Saturday that Obama would use powers granted to him under the Antiquities Act to preserve the former Army base  and hundreds of acres of open space along the Chesapeake Bay

Hampton Va, Mayor Molly Ward said, “We are thrilled and grateful that the President has chosen to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate a major portion of Fort Monroe as a National Monument.”

Since the closing of the base was announced in 2005, the City has worked with citizens and other elected officials to ensure that the history and beauty of the fort be protected as a public place.

“This effort has shown what we can do when we put our political differences aside and work for the common good,” said Ward. “We have achieved this goal with bipartisan support of Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner; Congressmen Randy Forbes, Scott Rigell, Bobby Scott and Rob Wittman; Governor Bob McDonnell and his administration; the City of Hampton; a variety of dedicated conservation partners including the National Park Conservation Association and the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and individual advocates, historians and citizen groups, particularly the Citizens for a Fort Monroe National Park.

“A National Monument at Fort Monroe will give the fort the stature it deserves in our Nation’s history. Very few Americans know the story of the Contraband Slaves, and how slavery really ended in the United States. I believe the significance of the President’s designation, and the significance of Fort Monroe, will continue to grow in years to come as its story becomes known.”

In addition, said Ward, it will provide an economic boost to Hampton and help strengthen the Hampton Roads region as a strong tourist attraction.

“Having a National Monument, especially one of such importance, will have an enormous impact on the economy of the City of Hampton and the Hampton Roads region. Studies consistently show that National Parks create jobs, and increase adjacent property values. This designation will help the City and the village of Phoebus regain the vitality and jobs lost through the Army’s departure and the base closure.”

Fort Monroe is the largest stone fort ever built in the United States and it has seen an interesting history over the years since construction began in 1819 as part of a plan of coastal defenses after the British burned Washington, D. C. during the War of 1812. This designation will help ensure that Ft. Monroe will exist as a tourist destination and that its history is not lost..

Party Time At Fort Monroe

With the Army gone, Fort Monroe is hosting its first public event at the historic Hampton fortress.

imageIt’s called a "Shuck `N Shag Feast at the Fort" and the Kiwanis Club event is planned for this Thursday. It is hoped that this is the first of many parties, concerts and festivals at the waterfront property.

Just last week, the U.S. Army handed over responsibility for managing Fort Monroe to Virginia, which wants to turn much of the fort’s valuable land at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay into a national park.

What: Kiwanis Clubs of Division 13 Shuck ‘N Shag Feast at the Fort, featuring live music from ‘Bill Deal’s Original Rhondels’, FRESH buffet-style seafood from the Virginia Seafood Council, beer and wine included

When: 5:30-8:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011
Where: Fort Monroe,Hampton

Tickets: $35 donation per ticket

Info: http://www.shuckandshag.com

Summerfest By The Bay In Hampton VA

image

 

For Concert info call Fort Monroe MWR: (757) 788-3151

Note: You must have Photo ID, Drivers License and Vehicle Registration to get on the base. You do not need a military ID. Civilians are allowed on base.

Map and Directions to Fort Monroe

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4th of July Fireworks and Celebrations in Williamsburg, Yorktown and Hampton Roads VA-2010

 
Here is my 2010 annual list of area fireworks and 4th of July celebrations for the Williamsburg, Yorktown and Hampton Roads VA areas .

View Independence Day fireworks at any of our region’s displays this weekend, and ooh and ahh en masse. Or watch the sky light up from the relative privacy of a neighborhood street, the top of a building, or a park bench near the water.

If I missed any please drop me a line at John@MrWilliamsburg.com If you have questions about the specific events please contact them directly. The list includes events in Chesapeake, Gloucester, Hampton, New Kent, Newport News, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Yorktown, Williamsburg and VA Beach, Virginia

Have any secret tips about what to do or where to park. Please add them in them in the comments section below for all to share.

Thanks and Have a Happy 4th !

 

Chesapeake VA Independence Day Concert & Fireworks at the Bagley
Date: Saturday, July 03, 2010
Chesapeake City Park
900 Greenbrier Parkway
Chesapeake, VA 23320
Phone: (757) 382-6411
Email: prgeneral@cityofchesapeake.net
Opens: 7:30:00 PM
Children Welcome
Join us @ 7:30pm for a holiday concert with/ Fireworks on the Bagley Stage featuring the renowned “U.S. Fleet Forces Band.” Come out and celebrate our nation’s birthday under the stars, featuring lively music and a fireworks finale! FREE admission. ($5 fee for site parking will help us continue this great family event!) Bring lawn chairs and/or blanket. You can purchase food at the concessions for a picnic supper. 

Chesapeake VA 4th of July Celebration at Lakeside Park
Date: Saturday, July 03, 2010
Lakeside Park
1441 Bainbridge Blvd
Chesapeake, VA 23324
Phone: (757) 382-6411
Email: prgeneral@cityofchesapeake.net
Opens: 10:00:00 AM
Closes: 4:00:00 PM
Children Welcome
Parade, entertainment, food, games and paddleboat rides. Event is FREE to the public.

Gloucester VA- Celebration & Fireworks. A day of family FUN at the beach…picnic, swim or fish. A variety of entertainment throughout the day. Gloucester Point Beach on the York River north side of the Coleman Bridge. Watch the Yorktown Fireworks here.
Sunday July 4th, 2010 10 am – 9 pm.
(804) 693-2355.

Hampton VA Fourth at The Fort-

Sunday July 4, 2010 from 4:00pm – 11:00pm

Fourth at the fort Fort Monroe

Fort Monroe
Hampton, Virginia 23651
757 788 3151
Get Directions

This lively celebration of our nation’s independence takes place at the largest stone fort ever built in the U.S. Enjoy live music, children’s games and rides, food and beverages, military exhibits and of course, fireworks! Walker Field. Free.

Free Concert:
Emily West performs at 7pm
Jimmy Wayne at 815pm
:
Fort Monroe MWR: (757) 788-3151

Note: You must have Photo ID, Drivers License and Vehicle Registration to get on the base

 
Mathews County  Sunday, July 4, at Mathews High School Athletic Field. YMCA Family Olympics with games for all ages for kids from 5 to 7 p.m., followed at 7 p.m., Riptide (band), and professional fireworks display until 11 p.m. Food available on grounds. Free. Call (804) 725-1488.

Newport New Va 4th of July Stars in the Sky
Date: Sunday, July 04, 2010
Victory Landing Park
50 26th Street
Newport News, VA 23605
Phone: (757) 926-1400
Opens: 6:00:00 PM
Closes: 10:00:00 PM
Children Welcome
Everyone is invited to the Virginia Peninsula’s biggest Fourth of July party – Fourth of July Stars in the Sky at Victory Landing Park. This waterside park, which offers spectacular views of the James River, is filled with 30,000 people who come to celebrate our nation’s birthday. The evening begins as crowds gather to enjoy summer’s favorite foods from a variety of vendors and children check out the rides and crafts. As dusk approaches, the stage comes alive with the music of a nationally-known entertainer. As the last note from the concert ends, the sky over the James River explodes with a kaleidoscope of color in a spectacular fireworks show. Free parking. Victory Landing Park is located at exit 6 from I-664, just minutes from Colonial Williamsburg, Norfolk, Virginia Beach and all Newport News attractions.

4th of july colonial downsNew Kent VA Colonial Downs’ "Racing to the Stars and Stripes"
Date: Sunday, July 04, 2010 Colonial Downs
10151 Colonial Downs Parkway
New Kent, VA 23124
Phone: (804) 966-RACE
Opens: 5:00:00 PM
Closes: 10:00:00 PM
Admission Fee
Children Welcome
Enjoy a horse racing/live concert/fireworks tripleheader at a special 5:00 PM post time. After the fireworks, stick around for a live concert, entertainment, free ice cream, kids activities & a $500 cash harborfest fireworksgiveaway! Get the best seats in the house & buy a trackside "Blast Zone" Table for 4 — you’ll have the best vantage point for the fireworks! 

Norfolk VA   Town Point Park… located at the tip of Norfolk’s Downtown on the Elizabeth River, is the site of Norfolk’s daylong Independence Day Celebration. Lots of Musical Acts and Entertainment start in the afternoon, and end with a really big Fireworks Display at 9:30 PM. Thousands of People will turn out, but you can also view the fireworks from a variety of `less crowded‘ spots nearby. July 4th at Town Point Park activities begin at 2 PM and end at 10 PM.

Norfolk VA
  The Shore Thing Concert and Independence Day Celebration, music by The Janitors at 6 p.m, fireworks (9:30 p.m.) and more. 6 to 10 p.m. Sunday at Ocean View Beach Park, 111 W. Ocean View Ave., Norfolk. 441-2345. www.festevents.org.

 

4th of july portsmouth va Portsmouth VA 4th of July Fireworks over the Elizabeth River
Date: Sunday, July 04, 2010
On the Elizabeth River between Downtown Norfolk and Olde Towne Portsmouth
Crawford Parkway, between Washington and North Streets
Portsmouth, VA 23704
Phone1: (757) 393-5111 Portsmouth Visitor Information Center
Phone2: (757) 441-2345 Norfolk’s Festevents
Email: festevents@festevents.org
Opens: 9:30:00 PM
Closes: 10:00:00 PM
Children Welcome
Pets Welcome
View Independence Day Fireworks from the Seawall in Olde Towne Portsmouth or along Crawford Parkway, between Washington Street and North Street. Cradock’s Historic Patriotic Salute begins with a children’s bike parade at Afton Parkway and George Washington Highway at 9:30 a.m. Music and a flag ceremony continue at the Cradock gazebo.

 
Suffolk, VA Stars & Stripes Spectacular
Date: Sunday, July 04, 2010
Constant’s Wharf Park
100 East Constance Road
Suffolk, VA 23434
Phone2: (866) SEE-SUFK Suffolk Visitor Center Toll Free
Children Welcome
Celebrate Independence Day Suffolk-style with fireworks, live music, food and family fun at the Constant’s Wharf Park & Marina in downtown Suffolk on the Nansemond River. Free and open to the public. 

Mt Trashmore Va Beach July 4th Celebration at Mount Trashmore
Date: Sunday, July 04, 2010
Mount Trashmore Park
310 Edwin Drive
Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Phone: (757) 385-2990
Email: smoore@vbgov.com
Opens: 4:00:00 PM
Closes: 10:00:00 PM
Children Welcome
Celebrate America’s birthday and salute the military with live main stage musical entertainment, children’s activities and delicious festival foods! The night concludes with a BANG – ooh and ahh at our fabulous fireworks display that will fill the summer sky. Free and open to the public with on-site (fee), sponsored by The City of Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation. Experience the Fun!

Va beach fireworks VA Beach Stars and Stripes Explosion
Date: Sunday, July 04, 2010
Virginia Beach oceanfront
on the beach at 20th Street and in the 17th, 24th and 31st Street Parks
Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Phone: (757) 491-SUNN Virginia Beach Visitor Center
Children Welcome
Multiple performance venues at the oceanfront attract thousands of out-of-town visitors and locals alike for a "Star-Spangled" salute to this great country of ours! With a program that encompasses patriotic songs, Broadway tunes, movie themes and folk music, nostalgia reigns as the presentation segues into a magical fireworks show that explodes over the oceanfront. Stars and Stripes Explosion is an unabashed tribute to the United States of America.

colonial williamsburg fourth of july Williamsburg VA –Colonial Williamsburg’s Fourth of July Activities celebrate the founding of a nation.

The Declaration of Independence, drafted by Virginian Thomas Jefferson, was adopted July 4th, 1776. Celebrate the nation’s birthday with Fifes and Drums, militia parades, and Colonial Williamsburg’s famous Historic Area fireworks. Colonial Williamsburg offers programs throughout the day that honor the birth of our nation.

At 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.

At 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.

At 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.

At 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 28th annual "Ice Cream Social" has become a tradition for locals and visitors and is sponsored by Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center Auxiliary. Money raised from the social helps support the auxiliary’s community programs, including free mammogram, bone density and health screenings for the uninsured, scholarship programs, pediatric gift bags in emergency, chemo cap program and holiday tray favors for patients.

The event takes place on July 4th in the Wren Courtyard at the College of William and Mary from 4:30pm until 7pm.  We will be serving hot dogs $3 each, cake and ice cream $3 each and soft drinks and water $1 each.  The Smith Wade Band will provide entertainment/music.  It is a great community event and a nice place to picnic before the fireworks in CW.

There are always a lot of people–and especially families–who attend and we look forward to good weather.  Rain date is July 5th.

Please plan to attend and bring your co-workers and friends and family!

Busch Gardens Fireworks 4th of july Williamsburg VA-  Four Nights of Fantastic Fireworks at Busch Gardens as it  Celebrates Independence Day  2010- Prepare to “ooh” and “aah” as the sky above the world’s “Most Beautiful Park” explodes with color to top off Independence Day festivities. Celebrate America’s birthday at Busch Gardens with four nights of patriotic fireworks set to music July 1 – 4. The fireworks extravaganza, “Boom ‘n July,” is included with park admission and begins each night at 9:15 p.m..

The villages of Oktoberfest and San Marco are prime viewing areas for the fireworks show.
Guests also can dine in the park’s Black Forest Picnic area behind Das Festhaus during a pre-fireworks buffet that also includes access to an exclusive fireworks-viewing area near Festhaus park. Dinner seating begins at 8:30 p.m.. For more information on the Boom ‘n July fireworks or to make dinner reservations, visit www.buschgardens.com/va  or call (800) 343-7946.

LOCALS TIPS: For those trying to watch the Busch Gardens fireworks for free, don’t try to park on the flyover from Interstate 64. Police will move you along. There are a few places to view them along Rt 60 and Rt 143

Yorktown Fourth of July Fireworks. 9:15 p.m. over the York River. The best viewing areas are along the waterfront and at the Yorktown Victory Monument. The beach picnic area will not be open to the public as it will be used as the launch site for the fireworks show. Visitors are urged to arrive in Yorktown before 5:30 p.m. for the fireworks show due to heavy traffic. Once the parking area has reached capacity, the entire town will be closed to vehicular traffic.

Visitors arriving early can enjoy these activities:
4 p.m. – The Fifes & Drums of York Town – Victory Monument, Voices of the Yorktown Chorale – York Hall (Main and Ballard Street)
4 p.m. – Children’s fun and games area – (Main and Nelson Street)
5 p.m. – Sounds of Liberty Bell Ringing Ceremony – Nelson House (Main and Nelson Street)
6 p.m. – Parade on Historic Main Street – begins at Main and Ballard Street to Victory Monument- background music by U.S. Coast Guard Band
7 p.m. – The Fifes & Drums of York Town – Victory Monument
7:30 p.m. – The story behind the hallowed words of the "Pledge of Allegiance," presented by Guy Manchester at Victory Monument
8 p.m. – U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band – Victory Monument
9:15 p.m. – Fireworks display over the York River
For information, call 890-3500; or http://www.yorkcounty.gov/fourth
Liberty Celebration. 9 a.m. Saturday, and Sunday, July 4. Visitors can observe tactical and artillery drills, take part in a variety of military exercises, discover the origins of "American" dishes such as apple pie, and learn about the sacrifices of our nation’s founders. A rare early broadside printing of the "Declaration of Independence," is featured in the museum’s gallery.The Yorktown Victory Center, located on Route 1020, near Colonial Parkway in Yorktown. Admission is $9.50 for adults and $5.25 for youth ages 6-12. 888-593-4682, 253-4838; http://www.historyisfun.org.

 

Secret Viewing  Spots  From Locals:

Watch the Yorktown Fireworks aboard a boat on the York River. The reflection of the fireworks against the water is magnificent.

Rent a room at The Duke of York Motel in Yorktown. “Viewing from the fourth floor pool area is exquisite,”.

The Yorktown Fourth of July Celebration Committee recommends viewing from the Victory Monument. Fireworks are launched from the beach picnic area directly below the monument.

Parking in Yorktown is difficult. Arrive early enough to score a spot in the parking deck at Riverwalk. From there, it’s a short left down Water Street to the Colonial Parkway or Route 17.

Want a postcard view? Climb to almost any rooftop or parking deck top in downtown Norfolk to catch a sweeping vista and watch the lights play over the city skyline and waterfront. Bring a chair and a beverage. Add your own music. Relax. Leave the traffic delays for the workweek.

The Pagoda and Oriental Garden in Norfolk’s Freemason neighborhood. It’s off West Tazewell, which puts the location slightly away from Town Point Park, but close enough that you feel part of the action. Grab a bench or sit on the steps by the water and people-watch as you wait for the fireworks to start. Some condominiums stand between you and the park, but the fireworks are high enough in the sky that you don’t notice. Plus there’s a nice view of Portsmouth across the water.

The view from the other side
  Lots of folks enjoy the fireworks and a nice view of Norfolk from across the water in Portsmouth’s Olde Towne.

Plum Point Park along the Elizabeth River in Norfolk’s West Ghent provides close-up views of the downtown fireworks. Driving there is a challenge – there’s no parking. But walking or biking make access easy: Just follow the Elizabeth River Trail, either from Southampton Avenue in the Freemason neighborhood or from an opening off Claremont Avenue just off Redgate Avenue.

Trashmore from a distance
  Some people park at the old Kmart lot on Holland Road to watch the Mount Trashmore displays, some setting up lawn chairs or sitting on the roofs of their cars. The spot is great for avoiding the tangle of traffic on Independence Boulevard.

Suffolk sights Folks who live in Suffolk’s Eclipse/Crittenden community can walk to their favorite viewing spot toting lawn chairs. People like us, who drive in from other locations, park near the Ebenezer United Methodist Church or the community swimming pool. If you drive to the end of the road afterward, it’s sometimes possible to see Newport News’ fireworks in the distance.

Get out on the water
. Take a cruise from downtown Norfolk on the Victory Rover or American Rover, or head out on your own craft.

On the beach in Willoughby
you can see Hampton, Newport News, Virginia Beach and Ocean View’s fireworks. Private homes on the beach put on some pretty spectacular fireworks displays as well. Or check out the beaches in Ocean View, at one of the public parks on the Bay.

 

Search 4th of July Fireworks and Celebrations around Virginia here