Our Founding Fathers may not have been able to predict specifics about modern day society, but they knew our independence would always be something worth celebrating -- and no celebration would ever be too grand, too loud or too bright. John Adams wrote about his early expectations for future celebrations in a letter to his wife, dated July 3, 1776.
"I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival...It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."
While many argue we, as a country, have deviated from the principals set out by Adams and the rest of our Forefathers, It's clear we've maintained gratitude for our independence. If nothing else, we've certainly kept up the grand-scale celebrations that light up the sky.
These annual celebrations are tough to scale, but marginally easier when tracking money spent. According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, the fireworks industry in the U.S. has seen massive growth every year since 1998, with only one exception. In 2013, for the entire year, APA said the display fireworks industry saw $328 million in profits, while the consumer side saw $662 million in profits.
Separate data from the last four years shows almost half of all Americans either watch fireworks or attend a community event on the Fourth of July. In 2010, the National Retail Federation estimated that American's spent a combined total of around $3 million on everything from parties and food to entertainment and travel, in anticipation of Independence Day.
The public isn't the only one directly shelling out tons of money to celebrate, cities and towns across the U.S. are maintaining their large-scale Independence Day budgets even in tight economic times. It isn't out of the norm to see a big city, like New York or DC, pay well over $100,000 for a 20 to 30 minute show. Even small towns like Addison, Texas, have been putting up big money to be named one of the best fireworks displays in the country. In 2012, the small town reportedly spent $220,000 for their Independence Day display, which included both fireworks and an air show.
These larger-than-life shows attract tourists, bring communities together and, most importantly, commemorate our independence. From the peaks of Lake Tahoe to the shores of the East River, there will be thousands of fantastic fireworks displays around the country. We won't say which we think is the best -- though we will name the biggest -- we're outlining a few of the major shows and where you should go to get the best view.
Take a look at the best spots to see fireworks and let us know where you'll be watching.
-Diana Gerstacker, The Active Times
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