After 31 years in the United States, I find myself more American than I ever expected to be, yet not so American in many ways.
Monday, July 01, 2013
You can tell it's getting close to the 4th of July when signs start appearing at the side of the interstate highways warning that fireworks are illegal in this state. They're not illegal in most neighboring states, so people go there to buy them and bring them back here for their celebrations. Of course, the fact that fireworks are not legal in this state doesn't prevent anyone from marketing to us - we even get cards in the mail advertising a big firework store just across the border. The cards do warn (in teeny-tiny print) that fireworks are not legal in all states, but they'll still sell to us anyway!
Cities and towns can have firework displays of course, and there's always plenty of choice since the 4th of July celebration is often not held ON July 4th! Within a half hour of here, you could see fireworks on:
July 3 (in 3 different towns)
July 4 (in 3 different towns)
July 6 (in 3 different towns)
A friend commented recently that he thought the fireworks we were watching weren't as loud as they had been in the past and I suddenly remembered going to the 4th of July fireworks when I was in graduate school (26 years ago!) and thinking they weren't very impressive - more noise than flash. The best firework show I'd ever seen before that was on Bastille Day in the French Pyrenees. We were sitting on a hillside above a football (soccer) field, and not only got to see the fireworks that were being set off from that field, but also the ones going off in two towns in the valley below us. I didn't bother going to any firework shows in the US for many years after that first, disappointing, one!
Most years now we go to two shows - an official town one, and an unofficial one. This one is held at a lake that has a lot of summer cabins around it. Several of the cabin owners set fireworks off after a day of canoeing, barbecuing and just generally relaxing at the lake. Everyone there chips in some money towards the cost of the next year's fireworks and there's some unofficial rivalry between the 2 ends of the lake as to who has the best show. They are always set off very safely from a metal boat moored in the middle of the lake. These are pictures from a couple of years ago.