Fourth of July, History, and Barbecue Grills

History of the Celebration

Fourth of July in the U.S. is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire. Up to this date, Independence Day has been a national holiday marked by patriotic displays. Similar to other summer-themed events, Independence Day celebrations often take place outdoors, with barbecue grills, of course. No matter what BBQ you are serving, it is the patriotism that’s within you that’s important. Anyway, below is a sample invitation to an Independence Day celebration in 1825, and an Independence Day promotional clip from 1940:

A  sample Independence Day celebration invite from year 1825. Source: Wikipedia Commons

A sample Independence Day celebration invite from year 1825. Source: Wikipedia Commons

 

My Present Day Celebration Experience at Foster City, California

Come present day, in the San Francisco Bay Area, you might expect that the best location to celebrate this historic event is in downtown San Francisco. This may present itself as an argument, as there are other locations within the Bay Area that locals highly prefer and tend to go to more often for this event. While you can go all touristy on cruises, free walking tours, and fireworks display events in downtown SF, you can go local and feel this all-American tradition at Leo Ryan Park in Foster City, CA.

On the Fourth of July, this wide park turns into a picnic area, packed with a huge crowd, camping tents, and barbecue stands, which for me is the star of this event. People in their festive and patriotic moods, dressed in American themed hats, shirts, pants, and shades listen and party to live country music while munching on freshly grilled food straight from their own BBQ pits. Inflatable play areas and slides and wall climbing stuff are set-up to provide additional entertainment to children as well. Young men and women play football in the busy picnic grounds. A stage has been setup for the night’s concert. American flags are everywhere. It really feels like what you see in American movies. Not like the festival in SF, where everything feels touristy (don’t get me wrong; I love SF, too).

As for the body of water serving the fireworks event, a huge lagoon with canals leading to locals’ homes is Foster City’s answer to SF’s bay. The wide lagoon right in front of the park has been very busy, thanks to the locals arriving in the park in their little boats from their homes in the canals, and also to the event staff preparing for the night’s fireworks event.

The boardwalk of this lagoon at Foster City is a VERY busy spot during Independence Day.

The boardwalk of this lagoon at Foster City is a VERY busy spot during Independence Day.

4th of July Celebration Independence Day 1

Families set-up picnic and camping sites in the lush greens all over Leo Ryan Park.

Families set-up picnic and camping sites in the lush greens all over Leo Ryan Park.

As with every other celebration with mass attendance in the US, security is tightened and is all over the place during the Fourth of July.

As with every other celebration with mass attendance in the US, security is tightened and is all over the place during the Fourth of July.

4th of July Celebration Independence Day 4

The American Flag, standing proud, is the representation of the patriotic spirit of the American.

The American Flag, standing proud, is the representation of the patriotic spirit of the American.

Rock climbing and other kiddie activities are all present during this event.

Rock climbing and other kiddie activities are all present during this event.

Event goers set up camp at the concert stadium instead of the grass to secure a good spot at that night's Independence Day concert.

Event goers set up camp at the concert stadium instead of the grass to secure a good spot at that night’s Independence Day concert.

4th of July Celebration Independence Day 8 Table Setup

4th of July Celebration Independence Day 9

Ahhh, freshly grilled succulent Lobsters!

Ahhh, freshly grilled succulent Lobsters!

The barbecue and grill stand, an icon of this celebration.

The barbecue and grill stand, an icon of this celebration.

4th of July Celebration Independence Day 12

4th of July Celebration Independence Day 13

A rock and country music concert to celebrate the day of Independence.

A rock and country music concert to celebrate the day of Independence.

The main event, a 30-minute fireworks display!

The main event, a 30-minute fireworks display!

 

If you wish to join next year’s event at Foster City, a few notes: since picnic and camping area is huge but limited, it is advisable to arrive before 8AM to reserve your prime spot (prime spot is by the lagoon for an undisrupted view of the fireworks and stunning views of the lagoon) and just bar-b-q the day away. The portable toilets are also limited and of course dirty after a while, so be sure to bring sanitizer sprays and do your business even before the line becomes a blockbuster prior to the fireworks display (event is from 9:30PM-10PM). Drinking alcohol is allowed until 5pm, and by alcohol it means you have to expect some disruptions, policemen, and the fire department later into the day. Once the fireworks display is done, the crowd starts to pack things up and leave, and police starts to rove around as well so I suggest you start packing your stuff before and during the big bangs so you can leave once it’s done to avoid the crowd and traffic.

Best,

FRUSTRATEDBILLIONAIRE

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FrustratedBillionaire