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Independence Day feels particularly special with COVID restrictions lifted
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A flag-waving good time

Independence Day feels particularly special with COVID restrictions lifted

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Our nation is celebrating 245 years of independence this Fourth of July, and there’s rarely been a more fitting holiday. After more than a year of dealing with a worldwide pandemic and its associated shutdowns, confinements and general lack of socializing, those of us in South Jersey can expect a veritable smorgasbord of Fourth of July festivities this year, celebrating our nation’s independence, but also our own freedom from a grueling period of worry and fear.

“Being able to schedule July 4 activities is a great opportunity to finally get out of the house at the end of the pandemic and be with our friends and family and have a wonderful summer,” says Atlantic County Commissioner Caren Fitzpatrick.

So gather your red, white and blue, your flags, your streamers and your sparklers, and get ready to celebrate. Here’s our guide to what Fourth of July festivities are happening where.

Atlantic City Fourth of July is ON! And that includes fireworks. Celebrate Independence Day with a boom at Borgata, where Fireworks by Grucci will light up the night sky starting at 9:20 p.m. on Sunday, after a performance of the National Anthem by Mara Justine (you’ll recognize her from Season 9 of “America’s Got Talent” and Season 16 of “American Idol”). A live broadcast of the festivities along with music programming is available on 95.1-FM WAYV. Public viewing is available from the property’s Surface Lot starting at 6 p.m. At Tropicana, the free fireworks take place 10 p.m. Sunday and can be viewed all along the Boardwalk as well as the beaches of Atlantic City.

There’s more to an Atlantic City Independence Day weekend than fireworks, however. From a Fourth of July Block Party & Celebration with games, music and giveaways from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, July 2, at Tanger Outlets; to a Sunset Silent Disco celebrating a return to the party scene at Showboat at 7 p.m. on Sunday; to Uncle Sam’s Summer Sing-a-Long at 5 p.m. Sunday at The Claridge, there’s an Independence Day Celebration just about everywhere you look.

At Bally’s, guests can celebrate Fourth of July with “Motown Forever,” a Motown Tribute concert production taking place every Saturday from July 3 through Sept. 4 at 4 and 8 p.m. Or head to a celebration on the beach with Bally’s Beach Bar & BBQ, where guests can enjoy plenty of grub while also toasting to the Fourth with red, white and blue cocktails. And they sound delish: The red is a Watermelon Splash featuring Deep Eddy Lemon Vodka, fresh watermelon, cucumber and lime; white is a Cool Vibe featuring Gray Goose Watermelon and Basil Vodka, St. Germaine, and cucumber soda; and blue is either Blue Eyes (available at Jerry Long’s Meatballs & Martinis) featuring Blueberry Vodka, Giffard Blue Curacao, and lemon or Bowl’s Bowl for two (available at Guy Fieri’s Chophouse) featuring New Amsterdam Peace Vodka, Bacardi Mango Rum, Jack Daniels Honey, blue Curacao, kiwi syrup, pineapple juice, orange juice and Coconut Berry Red Bull.

Galloway Township Head out for the biggest Fourth of July Parade in the state 9 a.m. Saturday, July 3. Created about 23 years ago to honor our nation’s veterans and active military personnel, the parade — which starts out of Smithville Town Center — continues under the leadership of Mike DiLullo and a committee of 15 people and usually sees crowds three to nine people deep on both sides of the street.

Last year, the Galloway Independence Day Parade, like most Fourth of July activities across the country, was cancelled due to COVID. It wasn’t expected to happen this year either, but when Gov. Phil Murphy lifted restrictions, DiLullo’s phone blew up.

“My battery died,” DiLullo says about how many phone calls he received. “At first, it was ‘Let’s put something together, even if it’s a kid in a red cart’.”

Instead, DiLullo is up to an almost full-fledged parade, albeit without prizes, parade ad book, or the traditional post parade ceremony due to his substantially shortened timeline.

“We usually have 75 to 100 entries in a normal year. So far this year, we have 75 entries,” DiLullo says.

And while the parade may be slightly smaller than in usual years, this is hardly a usual year. And the parade has been greatly missed.

“The community loves it. We normally get anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 people out there,” says DiLullo. “And people have cabin fever. I think they are itching to be out.”

The rain date is Saturday, July 10.

Elsewhere in Atlantic County

In Absecon, head to Heritage Park 7 p.m. July 4 for free music from Either Way Band.

The Independence Day Parade in Northfield takes place 10 a.m. Sunday, running down Shore Road to Mill Road before ending at Birch Grove Park. The annual tradition features Northfield’s First Baby, Citizen of the Year, Miss Fourth of July and more, and ends with complimentary hot dogs, soda, and frozen treats at Burton Ave. Fire Station Pavilion. Rain date is Saturday, July 10.

The Hammonton Independence Day Parade is back! Celebrate our nation’s freedom 11 a.m. Sunday, July 4, with a parade that features dance troupes, bands, organizations, and, of course, a Patriotic Bike Decorating Contest with decorated bikes, scooters, wagons and strollers. The parade runs along Bellevue Avenue from Egg Harbor Road to Third Street. Later that night, head to Lake Park for fireworks at dusk.

The July Fourth Bike Parade in Linwood is held 10 a.m. July 5. Hosted by the Linwood Historical Society, the hometown parade starts at the Leedsville School Museum and features plenty of decorated bikes. Head back to the Linwood Volunteer Fire Department for refreshments, fun and games.

Want to do something different? Head to Longport for The American Mile Fourth of July Run. Sponsored by the Longport Volunteer Fire Department, the event starts at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday at the end of Longport at 11th and Atlantic Avenues.

The annual July Fourth Fireworks Show in Margate, sponsored by the Margate Mothers’ Association, takes place on Huntington Avenue 9 p.m. Sunday. Bring your beach chairs, blankets, and kids. Rain date is July 5.

Head to Somers Point for a special show of the 29th Annual Somers Point Beach Concert Series, “Everybody Loves Ernie”, dedicated to the memory of Ernie Trionfo. With Tony Mart Allstars and special guests Billy Walton, Danny Eyer and Patty Blee, the Fourth of July show starts 7 p.m. Sunday.

And in Ventnor, celebrate the holiday with the 49th Annual Ventnor Mile and Independence Day Celebration starting 7 p.m. July 2, at Swarthmore Avenue and the Boardwalk.

Start the Fourth of July weekend at Renault on Thursday, July 2, to catch great music by 52 Pick up at 6 p.m. followed by an impressive fireworks show at 9 p.m. With the view of the fireworks on display, head to The Tasting Room to enjoy the sound of The Philly Keys Dueling Pianos from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., and come out for the whole weekend to celebrate with various bands, fireworks and great food.

Cape May

Things are just as patriotic in Cape May County, where Cape May is preparing for a weekend of activities.

“Anything we can do outdoors this year, we want to do,” says Zack Mullock, Mayor of Cape May. “We want to revamp the Independence Day Parade and really have a lot of fun with it, and return it back to a really fun family event.”

With that said, there are a plethora of Fourth of July celebrations in Cape May including free music in Rotary Park all weekend featuring the 63rd Army Band 7 p.m. July 2; the Jack Melton Swing Band 7 p.m. July 3; America’s Sweethearts 7 p.m. July 4, and John Clark Band 7 p.m. July 5.

In addition to lots of free music, Cape May is welcoming back their annual Independence Day Parade noon on Saturday, July 3. As the parade travels down Beach Avenue from Philadelphia Avenue to Patterson Avenue, spectators can expect a new “Best Decorated” contest where participants can win 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for best-dressed golf carts, bicycles or baby carriages, in addition to string bands, classic automobiles, performing groups and more. .

“Not only will the City be hosting the annual Independence Day parade, but we are thrilled to welcome back the fireworks extravaganza,” says Kacie Rattigan, Director of Convention Hall and Recreation Activities in Cape May. “The display will be staged on Sunday, July 4 at 9:15 PM on the beach in front of Congress Hall. A rain date is scheduled for July 5th.”

The WildwoodsThe Wildwoods may comprise several municipalities, but come Fourth of July Weekend, it’s one big party. The party starts 5 p.m. Thursday, July 1, with the Anglesea Night Market and Food Truck Event, filled with tons of food, crafters, live music and loads of excitement, before a 7:30 p.m. Boardwalk Parade at 16th Avenue featuring the Duffy String Band; a 7:30 p.m. concert with the Juliano Brothers at Byrne Plaza; and a live show featuring Disco Fever, a Trammps Tribute, at 8 p.m. at the Lou Booth Amphitheatre in North Wildwood. Friday through Sunday head to a free Sports Card, Toys, Comics & Collectibles Show at The Wildwoods Convention Center, or do some yoga on the beach (behind the Convention Center). On Saturday, head to the Downtown Wildwood Farmer’s Market from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; to the Jersey Shore Spikefest, a roundnet event, outside of PigDog Beach Bar; or to the Boardwalk Craft show, which also takes place on Sunday. And that’s all before the serious Independence Day celebrations begin.

In North Wildwood, begin the Fourth of July with a Sunrise on Sunday veteran Flag Service at the Lou Booth Amphitheater at 5:30 a.m., before heading to the Independence Day Family and Patriotic Pooch Parade. Starting at 9 a.m., the parade starts at 9th and Atlantic Ave. and proceeds north to 1st and Surf Avenues, with prizes awarded for best decorated bikes, strollers, scooters, golf carts and more. Get to Wildwood Crest for a 7:30 p.m. Fourth of July show at Centennial Park with Don’t Call Me Francis on Sunday. And in Wildwood, catch music from Sensational Soul Cruisers at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Fox Park Amphitheater, then hit the boardwalk for a Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular at 10 p.m. Enjoy the celebration with a musical score that is played all along the Boardwalk and simulcast on 98.7. Launched from Pine Ave. & the Beach, fireworks are best viewed from anywhere on the Boardwalk. Rain date July 5.

Elsewhere in Cape May County

Enjoy an Independence Day Festival & Fireworks in Lower Township, 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 3. The celebration takes place on the bayfront in North Cape May and includes rides, food, and entertainment for the whole family. Fireworks, which start after 9 p.m., are launched from a barge off of Emerson Avenue. Rain date is July 5.

Also in Cape May County, a fun-filled celebration of independence takes place in Middle Township 5 p.m. Sunday at the Goshen Sports Complex with games, food vendors, ice cream, and music from Animal House Band followed by fireworks at approximately 9 p.m.

At the Yacht Club of Stone Harbor, the festivities begin with a Fourth of July Carnival on Sunday that includes two parades: the Parade of the Feet Pet Parades at 10 a.m., and the Parade of the Fleet Boat Parade at 11:30 a.m., as well as food, games, DJ, magician and more family fun. Later, fireworks launched at dusk on July 4 can be seen from any beachfront.

Independence Day Weekend in Avalon kicks off 4 p.m. Saturday, July 3, with a patriotic-themed Boat Parade, launching from the Avalon Yacht Club. At 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 4, the celebration continues with an outdoor performance from the Bay-Atlantic Symphony Brass Ensemble with Percussion, who will perform the Star-Spangled Banner, as well as a selection of other tunes ranging from George Gershwin to Scott Joplin and more. The concert takes place at Surfside Park (30th Street and The Beach) and is followed by Fourth of July fireworks, set to patriotic music.

The festivities are also on in Sea Isle City! Kick off Independence Day Weekend with a concert under the stars—with Lights Out, a Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons Tribute)—7:30 p.m. Saturday at Excursion Park. The party continues on the Fourth of July with an Independence Day Fireworks Show at 9 p.m. on Sunday at 50th Street Beach.

In Upper Township, the celebration kicks off in Strathmere with their annual Fourth of July Parade. Starting 10:30 a.m. Sunday, the parade ends with an awards ceremony and refreshments at the Deauville Inn. Afterwards, head to Amanda’s Field in Petersburg as early as 1 p.m. for a day of celebrations including live music from Cape May Entertainment, food vendors, craft vendors, games and more, including the requisite fireworks display at dusk. Rain date is July 5.

Head to Ocean City for several Independence Day activities. At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the holiday weekend kicks off with a free outdoor concert featuring the Ocean City Pops at Carey Stadium. On Sunday, the festivities continue at 10 a.m. with a bike parade starting at the Longport Bridge parking Lot, followed by a kite-flying competition at 7 p.m. on the beach next to the Music Pier, before 9 p.m. fireworks. The weekend wraps up with a show from Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes 7 p.m., July 5, at the Music Pier.

Cumberland County

Head to Millville for their Independence Day Parade 10:30 a.m., Monday, July 5, with live music by Tommy Guns. Later that night, check out fireworks at 10 p.m. at the Little League Field.

Head out to Giampietro Memorial Park in Vineland to enjoy a free Fourth of July concert 7 p.m. Sunday featuring Bud Cavallo Duo and the Rowan College/Cumberland Campus Wind Symphony, followed by fireworks at dusk at Vineland High School. Rain date is July 5.

Ocean County

At Tuckerton Seaport, there’s a double whammy of Independence Day Celebrations with a parade and fireworks, both on Saturday, July 3. The parade, which begins promptly at 10 a.m., starts on Marine Street, heads onto Main Street, and ends at the Tuckerton Seaport. Fireworks take place at dusk that night (about 8:45 or 9 p.m.) over the lake in Tip Seaman Park. Best seats in the house are on Main Street, mostly in front of the Seaport.

Celebrate the Fourth in LBI by heading out to see fireworks at Bay Village. Scheduled for dusk (approximately 9 p.m.) on Sunday, the rain date is July 5.

And in Barnegat, the fireworks take place on July 2 at Barnegat High School with a rain date of July 5.

* As usual, with all events COVID related, we recommend double checking on any last-minute cancellations prior to heading out to events.

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