Mz B’s Wild Fourth


Written by blogger and vlogger June Brown with Tazewell County Tourism


Most of us know (or do we?) that three of our first five presidents died on July 4th, two of them on the exact same day. Thomas Jefferson (82) and John Adams (90) died on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1826) and James Monroe (73) died exactly five years later. Here is a fact I just learned: John Adams believed that July 2, 1776 was the correct date on which to celebrate the birth of American independence since that is the date on which the Continental Congress voted for independence. However, it was two days later that the delegates from all thirteen colonies formally adopted the Declaration of Independence. President Adams reportedly turned down invitations to appear at July 4th events in protest. He had written to his wife, Abigail, on the evening of July 2nd that “July 2nd will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great Anniversary Festival,” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade, Games, Sports, Guns, Bonfires and illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.” (Note the President’s use of capitals and remember this was in 1776.)

The city of Philadelphia held the first annual Commemorization of Independence on July 4, 1777 while Congress was still occcupied with the Revolutionary War. George Washington issued double rations of rum to all his soldiers to mark the anniversary of independence in 1778. The tradition of patriotic celebration became even more windspread after the War of 1812 in which the United States again faced Great Britain. It wasn’t until 1870, however, that the U. S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday and not until 1941 that the provision was expanded to grant a paid holiday to federal employees. Falling in midsummer, the 4th of July has, since the late nineteenth century, become a major focus of leisure activities and a common occasion for family-community get-togethers, often involving fireworks and outdoor barbecues.

Now, here’s what the people in our great county have planned for the Independence Day/s celebration this year: (If I’ve missed any event, I’m sorry – I really tried to get them all.)

On Sunday the 2nd, the Jewell Ridge Community will have a community church service, concessions (hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries, funnel cakes and more) with exhibits and entertainment beginning at 10:30 AM.  The Prince of Bluegrass – Nathan Stanley – will perform a free concert at 3:00 PM.  Fireworks conclude the day long celebration at 9:30 PM.

The Historic Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park festivities will begin July 3rd with a Civil War 150 History Mobile being parked in front of Fort Witten. It will be there until July 5th. A Revolutionary War reenactment will begin at 3PM on July 4th. The Museum will be open from 10:00AM.

The Town of Pocahontas will begin their celebration at 6PM on the 4th. There will be a DJ; the Pocahontas Volunteer Fire Department will be serving food and there will be fireworks at dark.

The Town of Tazewell’s celebration will begin at 6PM on the front lawn of Tazewell High School on the 4th. There’ll be “Food, Fireworks, and Family Fun,” for everybody! Live music from 7:00-9:30PM; Kid’s Bounce House from 6:00-8:00PM; Free Watermelon at 8:00PM – First come, first served; and fireworks at dark. They have a rain date planned for the 5th – just in case.

The Town of Bramwell will have children’s activities from 1:00-3:00PM – including bounce houses. Adults will be helping children build boats for the Annual Bluestone River Yacht Club Race at 3:00PM. The boats will be placed in the river; prizes for first, second, and third place will be awarded. Every child who participates will receive a prize. A concert featuring Bobby Ramsey and his band, performing the music of Johnny Cash, will begin at 7:00PM.

Bluefield is home to the Bluefield Blue Jays, a farm team of the Toronto Blue Jays. It just so happens that the Bluefield Blue Jays and the Princeton Rays will be playing at Bowen Field on July 3rd and they’ll be having a great fireworks show after the game. With a season running from June to August, these “boys of summer” provide family friendly entertainment and exciting athletics all summer. Famous ball players to come from Bowen Field include Boog Powell, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken, Jr, and Don Bailey. You can follow them on Facebook or Twitter and their website is BLUEFIELDJAYS.COM. What could be a better way to celebrate our Independence than baseball, hot dogs and fireworks on July 4, 2017?

The community of Tannersville will have a big celebration including food, fun and lots of fireworks.  The festivities begin at 5 at the fire department.

One more thing (or two): Richlands will be having their Annual Freedom Festival (4th year) on June 30 and July 1 this year. So you can get in some fun and fireworks BEFORE the 4th. Two full days of fun!

Guess what location has the biggest fireworks display in the U.S. on July 4th? New York, of course, go where the money is??!!! I’ll stay right here in Tazewell County, thank you very much!