Many Americans are getting an early start to the July 4 Independence
Day holiday in the United States, with a day off of work to enjoy the
long holiday weekend.
Banks and federal offices are closed and many government services curtailed Friday.
D.C. and New York are among the cities that will have spectacular
fireworks displays on Saturday. However, many small towns have been
forced to scrap or dramatically scale back their celebrations because
of the economic crisis.
The holiday marks the day on July 4,
1776, that delegates from the 13 original American colonies officially
declared independence from Britain. President Barack Obama will
celebrate Saturday with a Fourth of July event at the White House
accompanied by military families.
The Public Broadcasting
Service and the National Park Service will hold a free gala concert
Saturday in front of the U.S. Capitol building. The performers, who
include singers Barry Manilow and Aretha Franklin, are treating
spectators Friday to a full concert dress rehearsal.
York's Coney Island holds its famed hot dog eating contest every year
on the Fourth of July. The eat-off is broadcast nationally on the ESPN
sports TV network.
The AAA travel and automobile club says it
expects fewer people in the Washington area to be driving over the
holiday, compared to last year, due to the economic crisis. However,
it projects an increase in air travel, thanks to attractive deals on
Despite the money crunch, many Americans, whether at
home or traveling, will find ways to relax and enjoy the holiday with
outdoor summertime activities such as barbecues and beach parties, and
spending time with family and friends.