Fourth of July Fun Facts
In 1776, the US population was 2.5 million colonists. In late 2006, the US population surpassed 300 million people.
Fourth of July is synonymous with barbecue and this year Americans will consume around 150 million hot dogs on this holiday. If you laid all those hot dogs end to end, they'd stretch all the way from Los Angeles California to Washington DC. Now that's a lot of hot dogs! It is estimated that more than 68 million Americans will take part in a barbecue sometime this year.
Americans love their 4th of July fireworks displays and waving the American flag. Every year the US imports nearly $200 million worth of fireworks with over 90 percent coming from China. Likewise, the US imports $5.5 million worth of American flags again with over 90 percent coming from China. However, when it comes to flags, the US makes most of them right here in the good 'ole USA. American manufacturers shipped nearly $350 million of flags, banners and flag emblems last year.
Our US patriotism abounds in the names of our cities. Did you know that 30 cities have the word "Liberty" in them and 11 cities have the word "Independence" as part of their name?
Be sure to check out our 4th of July gifts to celebrate this year's Independence Day!
A Celebration of Independence - July 4th
In school we are all taught about the importance of the Fourth of July and why we celebrate it. America celebrates July 4 as Independence Day because it was on July 4, 1776, that members of the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, adopted the final draft of the Declaration of Independence. Following its adoption, the Declaration was read to the public in various American cities. Whenever they heard it, patriots erupted in cheers and celebrations. Today Americans celebrate that freedom and independence with barbecues, picnics, and family gatherings. Here are some other interesting facts about Fourth of July celebrations and things surrounding this important day in history.
- The first American Flag was sewn by Betsy Ross in its traditional red, white and blue colors.
- In 1846 the Liberty Bell could not be rung anymore because of the famous crack.
- The American Bald Eagle has been a national symbol of the USA since 1782.
- Geographically, the United States is the world's third largest country after Russia and Canada.
- The 13 stripes on the US flag represent the original colonies - the 50 stars represent the 50 states.
- The National Anthem of the United States is The Star-Spangled Banner
- Calvin Coolidge was the only president to be born on the Fourth Of July
- John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe all died on the Fourth of July,
- The parades, music and fireworks so closely linked with the America's Fourth of July observances are actually common ways to celebrate independence. During the month of July, America, Canada, France and the Bahamas all observe their independence holidays with lively parades and music.
Many people hang flags in honor of this celebration, but did you know that the United States Flag Code stipulates that as the symbol of a living country, the flag is considered in itself a living thing and should be properly displayed and cared for. The code outlines the proper ways to display the American flag. There are actually more than thirty rules and regulations as to where, how and when the flag should be displayed. Here are just a few:
- Raise the flag briskly. Lower it ceremoniously.
- Never allow the flag to touch the ground or floor.
- Do not fly the flag in bad weather, unless it is an all-weather flag.
- The flag should always be allowed to fall free.
- The flag should never be used to carry, store, or deliver anything.
- Never fly the flag upside down except to signal an emergency.
- The flag can only be flown at night if properly illuminated. Otherwise, it should only be flown from sunrise to sunset.
John Adams wrote that the Fourth of July "...ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other..." And that's what we do each year on the Fourth of July.
Fourth of July Crafts for Kids: Firework Flowers
If you're looking for an easy way to dress up your 4th of July picnic tables, this fourth of July craft for kids is bursting with patriotic colors!
This is a great craft for children of any age. The smaller children will needs help with the cutting, but everyone will love painting the flowers.
What You Need:
- basket coffee filters
- chenille stems (red, white, blue, gold and/or silver)
- red and blue watercolor paint
- 2 pieces of paper towel
- Cover table with newspaper
- Place one coffee filter onto a paper plate and flatten it out. Paint the coffee filter with water color paint. Paint some solid red, some solid blue and others a combination of blue and red, leaving some areas unpainted. Move the coffee filter to the towel and lay flat to dry. Repeat with the second coffee filter.
- Leaving the center of the filter in tact, cut the coffee filter in strips, working you way around the circle.
- Cut a 1.5" piece off of one end of a chenille stem and set aside. Take the longer piece of chenille and poke it through the center of the coffee filter. There should be about 2" of chenille poked through.
- Turn the entire thing upside down and grasp the filter with your fingers. Gather it around the chenille and secure it by wrapping the extra piece of chenille stem that you cut off in an earlier step. Twist it around the part you are holding and turn the flower back upright. Manipulate with your finger until strips are spread out and it looks the way you want it to.
Don't have time to make your own Independence Day centerpieces? Check out our Fourth of July theme gift baskets that can do double-duty as the centerpiece and as the grand prize for your Independence Day games and events!
Fourth of July Party Theme Ideas
Fourth of July comes at the perfect time; we need a holiday to get us through until Thanksgiving! While we celebrate our independence, we also use the 4th as a time to have parties, get together with friends and family, and break in the new grill. Here are some fun Fourth of July party theme ideas to consider before your big bash.
Stars and Stripes. The centerpiece of any fourth of July theme is the flag, and you can proudly display your stars and stripes in other ways. You can find stars and stripes pennants, decorations, candle holders, window clings, plastic tablecloths, paper plates, and balloons.
If you don’t want to buy them, make your own. Buy white balloons and draw (or delegate this to your children) blue and red stars. Yes, it’s a bit backwards, but your color theme is right on! Draw the flag on a plain plastic tablecloth and litter it with stars. Buy some inexpensive red, white, and blue bandanas at the dollar store and stitch them together for a quick, patriotic table runner.
Use a star-shaped cookie cutter to make cookies, brownies, sandwiches, rice crispy treats, pineapple, or cantaloupe or pipe stripes onto baked goods with a decorating bag.
Red, White, and Blue. You can combine this with your Stars and Stripes fourth of july theme or do it separately. Choose red, white, and blue decorations; they do not have to be “special” Fourth of July items; look for discounted solid color items like tablecloths, plant pots, cups, etc. You can carry your theme to your food: serve juicy strawberries and watermelon, cheesecake with cherries, blueberries and whipped cream, blue and red punches, popsicles, cupcakes, cookies, and more.
If your guests are willing, have them dress in red, white, and/or blue. Have a face painting station for children so they can choose a patriotic design: a red, white, or blue star, a mini flag, or USA in all three colors; or let children try a 4th of July-themed craft project.
All-American Games. Celebrate Independence Day with fun, traditional games. You can go to your backyard and travel back in time to do: relay races, sack races, baseball games, basketball games, three-legged race, water-balloon tosses, or a good game of tag with Super Soakers.
You can also serve some all-American favorites like grilled hotdogs and hamburgers, chips, potato salad, corn on the cob, fruit salad, apple pie, fried dough, and ice cold beer or soda.
Fireworks! Is your favorite part of the Fourth of July the fireworks? If so, why not make them last all day or evening. A fireworks-themed party will be fun for everyone, and, if you time it right, it can culminate with a big show in the sky if your town or city puts on a display.
You can decorate your cupcakes with white frosting with bursts of color, shining shimmering metallic decorations, large glitter on the tables, flickering candles, colored light bulbs, and colorful Chinese lanterns with bulbs. Give guests glow sticks in various colors and arm them with confetti guns. When the sun goes down, put on your own fireworks display with sparklers (or check with your town or city to see what you can do for private fireworks, if you have room in your budget).
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry. What could be more American than getting together with friends, chatting over a hamburger, and having a beer in the backyard? The best part of the 4th of July is that we are celebrating us. We don’t need fancy themes, expensive decorations, or Martha Stewart-worthy centerpieces. We need good friends, good food, and cold drinks. Make sure you have plenty of each on hand, a big backyard, and citronella candles to keep away unwanted guests.
This Fourth of July throw a party that no one will forget!
Fourth of July Party Food Ideas
Getting Festive With It
If you're searching for a fun party food to bring as a Fourth of July gift, be a great guest and show up with something delicious. Here are some ideas on what you can bring that will look festive and be gobbled up by happy party goers.
Think fresh and sun-friendly. Since Fourth of July parties usually end up outside under the hot July sun, make sure your dish is not based in mayo or any other ingredient that could spoil easily. You want to bring something that will be fresh and won't wilt or melt before it's served. Show up with your dish in a pretty bowl with ice under it if it's perishable. At least that way you can stretch the life of it on the table.
Red, White & Blue Fruit Salad
Why not consider bringing a red, white, and blue fruit salad to the party? You can mix in some strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and of course some whipped cream for the white part.
Other red, white, or blue foods you can think of will also work for other types of savory or sweet "salads." A red Jell-O salad is always a good idea. Mix in blueberries or strawberries and whipped cream or yogurt for a thicker texture much like a parfait might be.
Fourth of July Dessert - Frozen Lime Cheesecake
Independence Day Cupcakes
If you want to go the cupcake route, which is never a bad idea, try going with chocolate-cherry cupcakes! They are simple and easy. You'll already have the red with the cherry, and the white with the frosting, so you'll need to add in some sort of blue.
Add in some blueberries on the top or use blue cupcake liners to get the full red, white, and blue effect. If all else fails, make Fourth of July cookies or sugar cookies with white frosting, and blueberry and strawberry bits on top.
Betty's Fourth of July
- 3/4 cup(s) whole-wheat pastry flour (see Note)
- 3/4 cup(s) cake flour
- 1/2 cup(s) unsweetened
- cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
- 3/4 cup(s) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup(s) canola oil.1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup(s) nonfat buttermilk (see Tip)
- 1 1/2 cup(s) chopped pitted cherries fresh or frozen (thawed and drained)
- 12 fresh cherries with stems for garnish
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- 6 ounce(s) reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchtel), at room temperature
- 1/2 cup(s) reduced-fat sour cream
- 1 cup(s) confectioners' sugar, packed
- To prepare cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups with paper liners.
- Whisk whole-wheat flour, cake flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Beat granulated sugar and oil in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined. With the mixer on low, alternately mix in the dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with dry ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Fold in chopped cherries until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared cups (they will be full).
- Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 22 to 26 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
- To prepare frosting: Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sour cream, and confectioners' sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Refrigerate the frosting until very cold, about 2 hours. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and decorate with a cherry on top, if desired.
- Exchanges: 3 carbohydrates (other), 2 fat. Carbohydrate Servings: 3
Tips & Techniques
Ingredient note: Look for whole-wheat pastry flour in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets and natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.
Another tip: Out of buttermilk? You can make "sour milk" as a substitute: mix 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar to 1/2 cup nonfat milk! No one will ever know the difference.
- Fourth of July Fun Facts
- A Celebration of Independence - July 4th
- Fourth of July Crafts for Kids: Firework Flowers
- Fourth of July Party Theme Ideas
- Fourth of July Party Food Ideas