Celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence by visiting the homestead of the father of our country. Mount Vernon, George and Martha Washington’s home and burial place at the south end of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, offers a number of Independence Day activities. David and Ginger Hildebrand will sing patriotic tunes starting at 8:30 a.m.; the Sons of the American Revolution will conduct a wreath-laying ceremony at 10:15 a.m. and the National Concert Band of America will perform at 11 a.m. For those craving sweets, there will be free “birthday” cake while supplies last. Admission is $5 to $11. 703/780-2000.
History lessons and family fun combine as the National Archives takes over Union Station tomorrow with a day filled with free patriotic activities. The Dunlap Broadside, owned by producer Norman Lear and one of the 25 remaining original printed broadsides of the Declaration of Independence, will be on display. Additional activities include time-traveling “guests” Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin (among others), portrayed by the American Historical Theatre, children’s activities sponsored by the Capital Children’s Museum, and a dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. Stop by 50 Massachusetts Ave. NW, between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. See www.archives.gov.
If you live in Wheaton, there’s a good reason to skip the city traffic and stay in the suburbs, as the town pays a glitzy tribute to the nation’s birthday tomorrow night. Live music and children’s activities fill the streets of downtown Wheaton’s Marketplace, Reedie Drive and Grandview Avenue, at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks light up the sky beginning at 9:30 p.m. And it’s free. 240/777-8100.
Men and women in uniform
Here’s another way to show your support for your country: Stop by one of the three free military band concerts going on tomorrow. At 6 p.m., the U.S. Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants perform at the National Air and Space Museum, 7th and Independence Ave. SW. (202/767-5658). The Silver Wings, the premier country music ensemble of the U.S. Air Force, infuse a little country flavor at 7 p.m. at the Netherlands Carillon, George Washington Memorial Parkway near Arlington National Cemetery. (202/767-5658). And you can celebrate “American Pride, Courage and Independence” as the U.S. Navy Band and specialty groups join the National Park Service’s Fourth of July Blowout, from 4:30-9 p.m. at the Sylvan Theater, grounds of the Washington Monument, near Independence Ave. Aaron Tippin headlines the event. (202/619-7177).
America’s national emblem is the main attraction at the National Zoological Park’s latest exhibit, “The Bald Eagle Refuge.” Revel in the exhibit’s opening tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the free Bald Eagle Refuge Day. There will raptor demonstrations, arts and crafts, costumed characters and a feeding of two recently acquired eagles. Head to 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202/673-4800.
A different view
Those who want to watch the fireworks tomorrow from a riverside view have two options. Both of them board from Pier 4, 6th and Water streets, SW. The Spirit of Puget Sound offers an alcohol-free family cruise that boards at 7:30 p.m. and sails from 8 to 10 p.m. The $35 ticket per person price includes heavy appetizers. The Spirit of the Potomac boards at 6:30 p.m. and sails from 7 to 10:30 p.m. The $129 per person ticket price includes a buffet dinner and unlimited beer, wine and soda. 866/211-3811.
Children, city officials, the Washington Scottish Bagpipe Band and others take to the streets of the Palisades tomorrow for an old-fashioned parade, the community’s 37th annual march in celebration of Independence Day. The parade begins at 11 a.m. at the corner of Whitehaven Parkway and MacArthur Boulevard NW, and continues to the Palisades Park and Recreation Center, Sherier and Dana places, NW, just in time for a free lunch of hot dogs, juice and watermelons. 202/363-7441.
The big blowout
People from all over the nation will be watching it on television, but you have the chance to see PBS’ “A Capitol Fourth” live. Music by Dolly Parton, the Chieftains, Kristin Chenoweth, Earl Scruggs, Jerry Douglas, the National Symphony Orchestra and others reminds us why this is still one of the biggest parties in the country celebrating the Fourth of July. Don’t forget the post-show fireworks display over the Washington Monument. The concert begins at 8 p.m. tomorrow on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. See www.pbs.org/capitolfourth.
— Stephanie K. Taylor