Fireworks, fireworks, and yet more fireworks. Americans are expected to honor the nation’s 245th birthday Sunday with pyrotechnic displays lighting up a land celebrating both patriotism and freedom from (most) coronavirus restrictions.
Reuters reports two of the biggest fireworks shows in the country will fill the skies over the National Mall in Washington, and over a mile stretch of New York City’s East River, separating Manhattan from the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn.
All this while parades, concerts and food-filled celebrations with friends and family take place across the land, with Americans eating an estimated 150 million hot dogs on July 4th alone, the single biggest hot dog consumption day of the year.
Holiday weekend traffic is expected to reflect the sense of release most Americans are feeling, with July Fourth road travel forecast to be the busiest on record.
An estimated 43.6 million Americans are expected behind the wheel, or five percent more than a previous record set in 2019, the American Automobile Association (AAA) said, even as gas prices soar to new levels.
Gas prices across the U.S. are at their highest since late 2014 with shortages predicted ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend. https://t.co/tGpRYEssKb
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 1, 2021
In Washington on Sunday, marching bands will gather for a traditional parade on Capitol Hill’s Barracks Row.
After sunset, the National Mall is expected to draw big crowds to a 17-minute fireworks display set off from both sides of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, Reuters predicts.
Some 16,000 July Fourth fireworks displays that typically occur in cities and towns are expected to return in some form after being canceled last year.
Only a “scant few” went on with the show 12 months ago, said Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association.
“Approximately 70 percent are scheduled to return, and many will be bigger and better than pre-pandemic levels,” Heckman forecast.
Air travel is also making a comeback of its own.
🚨 We are anticipating our highest passenger volumes since before the pandemic this weekend! 🚨
Please arrive AT LEAST 2 hours before your flight to allow time to find parking, check in, and get thru security. We're excited to see you again, let's make the journey stress-free! pic.twitter.com/vt4ZkMnOvc
— DFW Airport (@DFWAirport) July 2, 2021
The record comes a day after air travel exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time, ABC News reported.
Friday was forecast to be the busiest departure day, while Monday the busiest day to return, according to travel-booking app Hopper. United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby told ABC News he is expecting Monday to be a record-breaking travel day.
AAA forecasts that more than 47.7 million Americans will travel this Fourth of July holiday, from July 1 to 5 — which would make it the second-highest Independence Day travel volume on record.
Independence Day was formally established as an official holiday by Congress in 1870, but workers weren’t paid for that day. In 1938, it became a paid national holiday across the whole country.