Fourteen Fun Facts About the Fourth
As far as holidays go, the Fourth of July is the perfect poster child for live entertainment. From fireworks spectaculars to neighborhood block parties to backyard barbecues, the Fourth is all about friends, family, food, and fun — in other words, live experiences.
If you don’t already have plans for each day of the long weekend, there’s still time to get tickets to some cool stuff: 4th of July Fireworks at Dodger Stadium, Jazz Legend Chick Corea at Chicago’s Ravinia Pavilion, Independence Day Family Fireworks in New York, and tons more, from dance parties to drag to burlesque. Find live events in your area this weekend.
And while you’re out and about with friends or sharing a beer around the barbecue, here’s some Fourth of July trivia to stump them with.
Did you know?…
1. Americans eat about 150 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July — enough to stretch from L.A. to D.C. more than five times.
2. About 43 million people (a record number) are expected to travel this Fourth of July weekend.
3. 80% of Americans will attend a barbecue or cookout.
4. More beer is sold on Fourth of July than on any other holiday.
5. There are more than 14,000 fireworks displays nationwide on the Fourth.
6. Early fireworks, which originated in China more than 1,000 years ago, burned in pale shades of white and gold (the natural tints of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate).
7. The oldest continuous Independence Day celebration is in Bristol, Rhode Island; it began in 1785.
8. The biggest fireworks display in the U.S. is Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks in New York, which features 40,000 fireworks lighting up the sky over the Hudson River. If you’re not in New York, tune in to watch it on NBC.
9. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island is a Fourth of July tradition. The current record is 69 hot dogs (including buns) in 10 minutes for a man, and 40 for a woman. (Catch it live on ESPN.)
10. July 4 is the day the Declaration of Independence was adopted, but Congress actually voted for independence two days earlier, on July 2, 1776.
11. Some of the first Independence Day celebrations included mock funerals for King George III, as well as concerts, bonfires, parades and the firing of cannons and muskets.
12. In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state to make the Fourth of July a state holiday. It became a federal holiday in 1870 (and a paid federal holiday in 1941).
13. Founding Fathers John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826 — 50 years to the day after signing the Declaration of Independence.
14. Today’s 50-star flag was designed by a high school student for a class project. Though he only got a B- on it, President Eisenhower loved it and chose it as our new flag. (After which, the teacher changed the student’s grade to an A.)