Celebrating the Red, White, and... grey in New England
July 2, 2009 7:55 AM   Subscribe

Looking for alternative Independence Day activities in New England...

So, it's a bit soggy for our original aspirations to go camping this weekend, and we're a bit wary of the crowds and congestion that accompany the large Fourth-of-July celebrations in Boston, Providence, etc. Where might one find small-ish community-oriented festivities within a couple hours' drive of Central Massachusetts?
posted by zachxman to Society & Culture (10 answers total)
Have you considered visiting Minute Man National Historical Park?
posted by anastasiav at 8:03 AM on July 2, 2009

I recommend the 4th of July parade in Warren, VT on Saturday. It is a different take than you'll usually see. Get there early (by 9:00). Here are some pictures I took there a few years ago.
posted by meinvt at 8:18 AM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

My husband is always telling me how awesome the Pittsfield Independence Day Parade is. Pittsfield's in the Berkshires so it's relatively close to you. USA Today has this to say about it:

Pittsfield 4th of July Parade
Pittsfield, Mass.

"Once billed as 'Your Hometown America Parade,' the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade dates back to 1824, when the procession consisted of Revolutionary War veterans and politicians riding in horse-drawn carriages," Schmader says. "Today's modern parade has floats, balloons and marching bands, but still retains the small-town, patriotic flavor of its roots." 413-447-7763; pittsfieldparade.com

And while you're there, hit up Teo's, if it's open. Awesome hot dogs.
posted by FergieBelle at 9:00 AM on July 2, 2009

A bit far afield -- 2-1/2 hours -- is Bath, Maine, which has 'Heritage Days,' starting tomorrow. Sales, carnival, musical acts, parade, boat parade, triathalon, chili-chowder contest, BBQ, antique car show, fireworks, etc. Small-town, riverside fun for all!

Details here: http://bathheritagedays.com/
posted by mmw at 9:48 AM on July 2, 2009

btw, That 2-1/2 hours I cited is from Boston.
posted by mmw at 9:50 AM on July 2, 2009

Head down to Bristol, RI for the nation's oldest Fourth of July celebration.
posted by lazywhinerkid at 10:03 AM on July 2, 2009

Glocester, Rhode Island has the Ancients and Horribles Parade.
posted by Kattullus at 11:19 AM on July 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

I harp on this a bit, because it's my home town and boy HOWDY is this quirky --

The Boom Box Parade in Willimantic, CT. Just like it sounds like -- there are no bands; instead, everyone in the parade carries portable radios, which are all tuned into the local radio station which is broadcasting a four-hour marching music playlist. Anyone can even take part, so long as you all meet in the park by the movie theater in time. Quirky costumes or homemade "floats" are encouraged, but you would be just as welcome if you wore a red t-shirt and some face paint.

And yes, it is every bit as endearingly dorky as you can imagine.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:19 AM on July 2, 2009

Oh -- Willimantic is in the northeast corner of Connecticut, so you're pretty close (I'd say just a couple hours tops; I grew up there, and my grandparents lived just by the Cape and that was just under two hours' drive, if that gives you any sense of scale). If you're willing to venture a little further south, there is a fantastic diner near Hartford that makes one of the most amazing cheeseburgers you will ever see or taste.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:24 AM on July 2, 2009

Thanks guys--great ideas... We're still contemplating our final plans (especially with the sun shining at the moment) but appreciate all the suggestions.
posted by zachxman at 7:53 AM on July 3, 2009

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