Friday Five (favorite things about the 4th of July)

Happy Independence Day weekend everyone! I hope all of you are off work today and already soaking in the long weekend (slash sleeping in because you went out last night oh heyy). While you grab some coffee and nurse that hangover, I am here to wax poetic on my all time favorite holiday. There is something about the warm weather, the overwhelming patriotism and the Americana iconography that really get me in the feels. I’m pretty sure my favorite things about the 4th of July are the universally acknowledged best things about the holiday, so don’t expect this to be a controversial list.

1. Barbecue/Picnic food – I would rank “Party Food” as one of my favorite foods right after Lemon Poppy Seed muffins and lasagne. Give me burgers, dogs, bbq chicken and corn on the cob off the grill, pasta salad, potato salad, salad salad with some nice beefsteak tomatoes, ruffles and veggies with onion dip, watermelon and cole slaw. And then give me seconds. I’m all about the homemade/pot luck stuff, but if you plan on going out I’d suggest Mission BBQ, Corner Stable or Andy Nelson’s. And if you feel like baking, I’m also a big fan of the American Flag Cake.

2. Rocket pops and ice cream – While you’re out and about in the gorgeous weather, exploring the harbor or participating in any of the other great 4th of July activities, do me a favor and buy a frozen sweet treat. Embrace the holiday with a red, white and blue rocket pop or grab an ice cream sandwich from the Cream Cruiser. The Cruiser will be at the Fells Point Farmers’ Market tomorrow morning and Rash Field tomorrow afternoon.  If you’re in the county grab a snowball from the Summer Shack and don’t forget to order yours with marshmallow!

3. ParadesI love a parade. And I’ve got to say, I’m a little bummed that there isn’t a big Baltimore City Independence Day parade. Growing up in Fairfax we always went to the parade and I’ve been to the 4th of July parades in DC and Philly as well. It looks like Towson and Catonsville have parades so check out this list of Maryland July 4th parades to satisfy your cravings for marching bands, floats and old fashioned cars. There are also some local neighborhood parades like the one in Federal Hill that encourage residents to come out in festive attire and travel the parade route with homemade floats.

4. Yard games and drinking games – Corn hole, bocce, ladder golf, horseshoes, and dare I say Kan Jam are all the perfect back yard, rooftop or block party game. And since we’re still young(ish) and our 4th of July won’t involve any babies/toddlers running around we can unabashedly add beer pong, flip cup and knockout to the list. Nothing says America like throwing ping pong balls into cold beer. We got the holiday started last night with a marathon corn hole session in our backyard parking lot.

5. Fireworks – Obviously. Living near Camden Yards we are spoiled with fireworks several times a year, but nothing compares to the fantastic show on the 4th of July. As a kid, I would often visit family in South Carolina for the holiday since my Uncle Alan was born on the 4th and he’d throw a big birthday party for America and himself.  It seemed like all fireworks were legal in SC and we’d spend hours waving sparklers and setting off roman candles in my Aunt and Uncle’s backyard. My Uncle has passed away, but I will always have great memories of him and a strong association of him with my favorite holiday. Unfortunately, setting off your own fireworks is mostly illegal in Maryland though that could be a good thing depending on how seriously you partake in #4.

Have a great holiday everyone and thanks to our Founding Father’s for approving the Declaration of Independence so we have the freedom to eat watermelon, drink Bohs and rock American flag apparel all weekend long.

And since it’s Friday let’s link up with these ladies across the web: Mar on the Run, You Signed Up for What, Eat Pray Run DC, and Life in Leggings.

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Fourth of July events in Baltimore

For me, the Fourth of July in Baltimore is all about cornhole, barbecues and watching the fireworks from a rooftop deck. I love the views of the water, the cheersing between balconies and ESPECIALLY looking down at streets below, knowing that I’ve avoided the dreaded holiday traffic.

If you find yourself without a rooftop party this year, here are some of your best bets for places to celebrate in the city:

Fourth of July Celebration. 7 to 10 p.m. The celebration at the Inner Harbor starts off with live music from the U.S. Navy Band Cruisers, followed by a fireworks show at 9:30 p.m. Watch the fireworks from anywhere with a view of the harbor, including Fed Hill, Fell’s Point, Harbor East and Canton Waterfront Park. Inner Harbor, Baltimore. Free.

The Glorious Fourth…An Old-Fashioned Fourth of July! Noon to 4:30 p.m. Head to Fort McHenry for a patriotic walk through the national monument, complete with fife and drum music, cannon firing, a musket salute, and a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Fort McHenry, Baltimore. Admission fee is $7 for adults 16+.

Independence Day Celebration. 6 to 10 p.m. The Baltimore Museum of Industry has a fab view of the Inner Harbor’s fireworks, and this event features food from Kooper’s Chowhound food truck, drinks, ice cream from the Miss Twist Truck and parking.You can also bring your own picnic. Baltimore Museum of Industry pavilion, Baltimore. $55 for advance tickets; $60 for day-of tickets; $7 per person for walk-ins at the gate. Discounts for BMI members.

Picnic at the Top! 7:30 to 10 p.m. Watch the fireworks–with a spectacular view–from the Top of the World Observation Level overlooking the Inner Harbor. Event includes food, nonalcoholic beverages, kids’ activities, a DJ and a photo booth. World Trade Center, Baltimore. $50 for adults; $25 for kids ages 3-12.

Baltimore July 4th Fireworks Dinner Cruise. 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. You might spend a bit more for this event, but you can’t beat the view OR the premium open bar + buffet. Dance the night away aboard this harbor cruise, then finish the evening with fireworks. Leaves from Inner Harbor, Baltimore. From $129/person.

AVAM’s July 4th: Visionary Pets on Parade! 10 a.m. The inspiration for this post’s photo, enter your pet in this parade to compete for tropies like Most Patriotic, Most Visionary, Owner/Pet Lookalikes, and Least Likely to Succeed as a Pet. If you thought it couldn’t get any better than that, stick around for a “Pet Talent (Or Not) Show” and a game of pet musical chairs. American Visionary Arts Museum, Baltimore. Free.

Rusty Scupper’s July 4th Crab Feast. Times based on your reservation. Another venue with a great view of the harbor, Rusty Scupper will host an all-you-can-eat buffet with #1 jumbo male crabs, shrimp and more. Be sure to make reservations in advance. Rusty Scupper, Baltimore. $99 for adults; $49 for kids 10 and younger.

What did I miss?? Let me know in the comments.