Most people know the classic Fourth of July locales -- the inspiring fireworks show over Washington, DC; the riverside spots of New York City (which moved last year to the Hudson, giving New Jersey a front-row seat -- to the chagrin of Brooklyn and Queens residents); the added historic punch of Boston or Philadelphia; even the lights over the Arch in St Louis.
But what about the smaller or lesser-known Independence Day traditions?
We're looking for your votes for best lesser-known July 4th celebrations that you'll be hitting the road for this year. To get things started, here are some picks from our Oakland staff.
According to this funny video, 'you can't get more Vermont than this' -- an all-out green, 'eco rules!' parade with 'More Soil, Less Oil' banners, remarkably bad songs sung by reasonable people painted green and hilarious last-second, homemade '$300 limit' floats that defy description.
Nothing may be more American this year than the celebration in Hingham, sweet wee Hingham, which also is celebrating its 375th birthday this year. It begins with a parade and fireworks, then finishes with a red-white-and-blue concert at the waterfront AND a vintage baseball game.
Oakland's little sister by the bay is home one of the country's most surprisingly big July 4th celebrations, the nation's second-largest Independence Day parade with 170 floats and 2500 participants on a three-mile route -- it's so big locals say half of the community comes out to watch the other half march to the best of marching bands, car horns and politicians' waves.
It's like a living time capsule on the island...everyone decorates their house with swags and flags, there's a bbq happening in every backyard, and my favorite - the secret society guys wearing fezes. Strange that something so old school Americana takes place literally in the shadow of San Francisco.
FORT WORTH, TEXAS
Is there anything more perfect than July 4th, a stockyards (a Texas stockyards), then add a dash of America and a big fat heaping dose of Willie? That's right, Fort Worth's Stockyards is hosting the Willie Nelson 4th of July Picnic.