Independence Day celebrations |

Independence Day celebrations

Sam Bauman
Appeal Staff Writer

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal file photo Members of Pyro Spectaculars fireworks crew ignite the 4th of July fireworks show over Mills Park last year.

The Fourth of July is observed as the nation’s birthday throughout the 50 states. Fireworks dazzle, speeches are made, barbecues are lit.

But you may be surprised to know, according to the Web, that the United States observes no holidays mandated across all 50 states by the federal government. The U.S. Congress or the president can only legally establish a holiday for its federal employees and the District of Columbia.

States and municipalities are free to adopt holidays enjoyed by the federal government or to create their own. However, most states observe the federal legal public holiday.

The first official state celebration of the Fourth occurred in Massachusetts in 1781. Boston was the first municipality to officially designate the Fourth as a holiday. In 1783, Alexander Martin of North Carolina was the first governor to issue a state order for celebrating the independence of the country. In 1870, the first federal legislation was passed giving federal employees a holiday from work – but without pay.

In 1778, General George Washington directed his army to put green boughs in their hats, issued them a double allowance of rum and ordered a Fourth of July artillery salute. Who would have thought that our lofty first president would have ordered his troops to go “green” and bought a drink for them all.

All of which brings us to our own celebration Wednesday. We can safely assume that the correct proclamations have been made.

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• Jumping the gun is Squaw Valley’s famous fireworks extravaganza Tuesday, July 3. Celebrations all day with fireworks about 9 p.m.

• The RSVP fireworks show will start about 9:15 p.m. and is best seen from Mills Park and is free. The RSVP fair starts the next day.

• Republicans’ July Fourth Celebration at 4 p.m., Riech home, 2701 Manhattan Dr. Annual fundraiser with a Yankee Doodle Hoedown; full Western dinner and hosted bar, carnival games, palm reading by “Karnac.” Tickets are $45 for adults; children 11 and younger are free. Call 841-2142.

• Motor Car rides from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Nevada State Railroad Museum, 2180 S. Carson St. A special run of the 1926 Edwards Motor Car every 30 minutes. Fares are $4 for adults; $3 for seniors (65-older), free to children 5 and younger. Call 687-6953.

• Annual Fourth of July Spectacular, downtown Virginia City, C Street. Features parade at noon with Sierra Highlanders Pipe Band, veterans groups, scouting and 4-H clubs, equestrian groups and more. After the parade, many saloons have live music; train and trolley will be running; museums open; face painting; historical characters on the street; 6 p.m. David John and the Comstock Cowboys perform free at Delta Saloon parking lot, and fireworks after the concert. Call 847-4386.

• “Star Spangled Sparks” takes place on Victorian Square in downtown Sparks. This eighth annual celebration is highlighted by a 20-minute state-of-the-art pyrotechnic display. Members of the Nevada Air National Guard will fly a C-130 Hercules aircraft over the event. The fireworks will begin at approximately 9:45 p.m.

• Tahoe City’s celebration begins at 9:30 p.m. at Commons Beach. Prime viewing spots are from the beach, where family picnics are popular, as well as various locations throughout town along North Lake Boulevard.

• It’s an old-fashioned celebration in Truckee with a 10 a.m. hometown parade in historical downtown, followed by an evening fireworks display at 9 p.m., at Donner Lake’s West End Beach. Tickets must be purchased in advance, as beach access is limited to local residents and homeowners.

• Incline Village and Crystal Bay the festivities culminate with a picnic, concert and dueling fireworks display at 9 p.m., at the Village Green.

• Wrapping it up, here’s the fireworks schedule for the following:

Kings Beach – July 3

Squaw Valley – July 3

Tahoe City – July 4

Truckee (Donner Lake) – July 4

Incline Village – July 4

West Shore Lake Tahoe – July 5

• Contact reporter Sam Bauman at or 881-1236.