A spectacular fireworks display is scheduled on the Washington Monument grounds tonight, part of the celebration of Amity Day that marks 200 years of friendship between the United States and The Netherlands.
The fireworks, by the famed Zambelli firm of New Castle, Pa., are scheduled to start about 8:45 p.m. after a joint band concert by the U.S. and Netherlands Marine bands at the outdoor Sylvan Theater on the Monument grounds. (In case of rain, the concert will be held tonight in George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium and the fireworks will be shot off Thursday).
According to National Capital Parks spokesmen, the overhead fireworks will be visible from all directions, but three ground-level "set pieces" -- a blooming tulip and representations of the American and Dutch flags -- will be visible only from the side of the Monument grounds facing the Capitol. A 32-foot scaffolding has been erected to set these off.
The display is taking place during the visit of Holland's Queen Beatrix to Washington, but her majesty will not attend (though one hopes she takes a look). The fireworks are being underwritten by the privately sponsored Netherlands-American Bicentennial Commission.
Also on today's agenda: a ceremony and festival between 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. alongside the C&O Canal in Georgetown, just west of Wisconsin Avenue. Effi Barry, wife of the mayor, will read her husband's Amity Day proclamation, after which free Dutch beer and chocolates will be dispensed. Later, area Girl Scouts will present a tulip to each member of Congress assembling in the Capitol to hear a speech by the Queen.
Amity Day takes its name from the negotiation in 1782 by envoy (and later president) John Adams of a Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the fledgling United States and The Netherlands. As one result, Holland loaned $12 million to the U.S. to pay off its Revolutionary War debts.