Hear ye, hear ye!

All citizens near and far, a Proclamation to be read aloud in the manner of -- but not on the same date as -- the Declaration of Independence.

Knowing full well that Tradition dictates Independence Day be observed on the same calendar square -- July Fourth -- every year, nevertheless, the Takoma Park Town Parentage has designated Monday, July 5, to be July Fourth.

And though sister villages of Wheaton, Falls Church, College Park, the Palisades in Northwest Washington and just about every other area hot spot are kicking out jams on Sunday, Takoma Park -- once home to Goldie Hawn, Matt Drudge, Root Boy Slim and the Sex Change Band, and Dominique Dawes -- is not.

On the morning of the Glorious Fifth, Takoma Parkers shall gather at the intersection of Carroll and Ethan Allen avenues to make merry and, in accordance with the Fifth of July holiday statutes, peruse floats, antique cars, Morris dancers, fez-wearing Shriners poised on undersize motorbikes, clowns, canine trainers, Abraham Lincoln, steel bands, Uncle Sam and Lawnmowers Against Global Warming. The spectacle shall commence at 10 a.m.

T-shirts will be sold. So, too, Cold Drinks.

A concert shall be staged in the evening, featuring the lilting sounds of Lemonface, officially described as "a young teenage power-pop band with a punk edge."

Yea, like our Forebears, we herald the holiday with a Punk Edge.

Belle Ziegler, a valuable and venerable octogenarian Takoma Parker who is in her fifth decade of service on the Independence Day Committee, opines that the Fourth will be on the Fifth this year because otherwise the community would have an insufficient number of celebrants to mount a satisfying parade. Even in this most secular of ages, too many revelers attend religious services in the morning, and staging the procession in the afternoon might be dangerous, Ziegler explains, because the last time the city attempted such a schedule, the heat was an oppressor and "kids passed out left and right."

She recalls that "the ambulances that were in the parade were going up and down the street taking people to the hospital."

She adds: "This has nothing to do with religion."

In summary, whether the world be understanding and supportive of Takoma Park's decision or not, the Community will still do as it sees fit. It will continue to be a nuclear-free zone.

It will hold yard sales so that Old Hippies can always exchange batik bedspreads for wooden-bead door curtains and, this year, the Fourth of July will be on the Fifth.

For in this Peoples Republic of Takoma, this funky little island-state just northeast of the District, the citizenry is independent. Meanwhile, it is yet to be seen whether the Town Elders will choose to once more confound the laws of mathematics and calendar-making by celebrating the Fifth of July on the Fourth.

In 2002, Abe Lincoln (Terry Seamens) and Uncle Sam (Chris Turner) walked in the Takoma Park Fourth of July parade, which was held on -- how about that -- July 4. This year it's a day late, if not a dollar short.