July 2, 2014

Princeton’s Independence Day Events: Fireworks, Molly Pitcher, and Bluegrass

This year’s Independence Day holiday begins early in Princeton with the traditional Spirit of Princeton fireworks display taking place tonight, Wednesday, July 2, on the fields next to the Princeton University Stadium, along Western Way.

This year marks the 15th Annual Independence Day Fireworks, which will begin at 9 p.m., rain or shine, thanks to the Princeton-based non-profit organization that brings the community together with this event as well as the Memorial Day Parade, Flag Day celebration, and Veteran’s Day ceremony. Only lightning will put a damper on the show.

All are welcome to the free display, for which the fields will be open at 7 p.m. for picnicking. Visitors should note that no alcohol is allowed and, since there is artificial turf on the field, smoking is not permitted. Parking, however is available in University Lot 21 off Faculty Road, as well as in the University parking garage on Prospect Street.

For more information, visit: www.spiritofprinceton.org.

Morven’s July Fourth Jubilee

On the day itself, a number of history-inspired events around town are guaranteed to keep family, visitors, and history buffs entertained and informed, not to mention well-fed and having fun.

Morven Museum & Garden will host its annual July 4 Jubilee from noon to 3 p.m. This free family-oriented event has grown since it began in 2008. This year, in honor of New Jersey’s 350th birthday, the historic residence that was home to Richard Stockton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, will offer visitors a chance to “sign” their own name to the historic document, albeit in facsimile form.

Along with bread and ice cream made as in colonial times, there will be period demonstrations of spinning, guns, leaf printing, and music making. Stacy Flora Roth will channel the character of Molly Pitcher and celebrate the role that women played during the American Revolution. Bill Agress will do justice to George Washington as he shares the general’s personal correspondence.

Guests are invited to bring blankets or chairs and relax on the front lawn of this National Historic Landmark that once served as the official New Jersey Governor’s Mansion. The Riverside Bluegrass Band will entertain and Oink & Moo BBQ will be on hand with refreshments.

Morven Museum & Garden is located at 55 Stockton Street. For more information, call (609) 924-8144, or visit: www.morven.org.

Battlefield State Park

Also on Friday, Independence Day will be celebrated from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the site of one of the most crucial battles of the Revolutionary War. Visitors to the July 4 celebration in Princeton Battlefield State Park, will discover a wealth of free activities evocative of colonial times, as well as an informative talk on the 1777 Battle of Princeton at noon and a public reading of the Declaration of Independence at 1 p.m.

Re-enactors forming Mott’s 6th Company, 2nd Continental Artillery will demonstrate drill, artillery, and flintlock muskets and costumed volunteers will showcase domestic skills and games of the era. The Thomas Clarke House will be open and there will be an exhibit of “Arms of the Revolution.” Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy hiking on the trails of the adjacent Institute Woods. For more information, call (609) 921-0074.

Other Festivities

Ewing Township will host its own “Happy Birthday America” parade on Parkside Avenue from 10 a.m. on Friday, July 4 with music by the Odessa Klezmer Band. For more information, call (609) 883-2900; or visit: ewingnj.org.

At Grounds for Sculpture, 126 Sculptor’s Way, Hamilton, there will be a Fourth of July BBQ, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with made-to-order cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and veggie burgers. For more information and costs of admission, call (609) 584-7800, or visit: www.ratsrestaurant.org.

Re-enactors will present a window into the past through military exercises, musket firings, and three readings of the Declaration of Independence from the steps of McKonkey’s Ferry Inn when Friends of Washington Crossing State Park celebrate from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the park on Route 32, Washington Crossing, Pa. The $8 admission includes entry to Bowman’s Hill Tower, the Thompson Neely House, and the Lower Park. For more information, call (215) 493-4076, or visit: www.ushistory.org/washingtoncrossing.

Celebrations on Saturday, July 5, include a 6 p.m. concert by the Mercer County Symphonic Band followed by fireworks at 9 p.m. on the Main Street in Cranbury. For more information, call (609) 395-0900.