Fireworks may be the main event on July 4, but we have a roundup of activities, recipes and more to help make this year’s Independence Day dazzle.

Don’t forget to see a full lineup from the Going Out Guide.


The District and surrounding areas will be crowded this week. Plan ahead by looking at road closures and advisories. Arlington County Police Department has released a list of 2012 Independence Day Road Closures while WMATA has information on Metro and bus service.

Eat and Entertain:

If you’re planning a picnic this upcoming holiday, Bonnie Benwick has light, packable recipes from chef Virginia Willis. Some options? Individual fruit cobblers and oven-fried chicken on a stick.

Individual Fruit Cobblers photographed in Washington, DC. (Deb Lindsey/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Eat, Drink & Be Healthy Columnist Jennifer LaRue Huget also has tips on how to keep backyard barbecuing healthy and satisfying.


If you’re in the area for more than just Independence Day, the annual Smithosnian Folklife Festival runs June 27 through July 8 on the National Mall. The Festival, in its 48th year, includes music, crafts and food and a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

The annual Capitol Fourth concert this year features Matthew Broderick, Kool and the Gang and the National Symphony Orchestra, among others. A special send-off for Team USA to the London Olympics is also planned. Get there early — it gets crowded.

Can’t make it to the District? There are plenty of other displays in the area. Takoma Park is celebrating with fireworks at 9:30 p.m. while the Mount Vernon estate will have a daytime display at 12:45 p.m.

More places to view fireworks are listed from the Going Out Guide, including in College Park, Greenbelt, Reston and more.

Here is video coverage of last year’s firework display on the National Mall.


Put out some of these pieces for the celebration, but don’t worry about taking them down. Freelancer Lindsey Roberts says many of these pillows and decorations are timeless.

View Photo Gallery: These red, white and blue home accessories don’t need to be put away after July 4.