Saturday, July 1, 2006

Hundreds of thousands of area residents and tourists are expected to attend Fourth of July celebrations Tuesday in the District.

The main attraction again will be the annual Independence Day Parade along Constitution Avenue. The parade, held in conjunction with the National Park Service, will include various bands, and military and specialty units.

Organizers expect more than 300,000 people to attend the parade.

The Smithsonian’s 40th annual Folklife Festival also will be on the Mall. The festival, which began Friday and runs through Tuesday, features cultural exhibits, presentations, crafts and food on the Mall between Seventh and 14th streets. The festival resumes July 7 to 11.

Later in the evening, “A Capitol Fourth,” the annual post-parade musical concert, will be held on the West Lawn of the Capitol. The concert will be broadcast live on PBS.

Jason Alexander of “Seinfeld” fame will host the concert, which will feature Michael Bolton, Vanessa Williams, Stevie Wonder and Jo Dee Messina performing with the National Symphony Orchestra.

The concert will be followed by a fireworks display at the Washington Monument.

Several streets will be blocked starting at 6 a.m. and will remain closed to traffic throughout the day.

The streets include: Fourth, Seventh and 23rd streets from Independence Avenue to Constitution Avenue; 15th Street from Pennsylvania Avenue to Main Avenue; 17th Street from Independence Avenue to E Street; 19th and 21st streets from C Street to Constitution Avenue; and Constitution and Independence avenues from 14th Street to 23rd Street.

Additionally, 14th Street will be closed from Independence Avenue to Constitution Avenue from the beginning of the parade until about 11 p.m. Police will also shut down Third Street from Independence Avenue to Constitution Avenue during that time, depending upon the flow of pedestrian traffic.

The city’s 19 closed-circuit surveillance cameras, which are mounted primarily on buildings near the Mall, will be activated.

Roads in and around the District will likely be packed with motorists. AAA Mid-Atlantic predicts roughly 629,000 area residents will travel 50 miles or more for the holiday, a 1.6 percent increase from last year.

For those opting to get around using Metrorail, trains will operate on a holiday schedule and will run from 8 a.m. until 1 a.m. The Smithsonian Metro station will be closed for the day.

Other jurisdictions throughout the region will celebrate the holiday with various ceremonies.

At Mount Vernon, the daylong Red, White and Blue Celebration will include 18th-century patriotic music, a reading of the Declaration of Independence by “George Washington,” and the annual performance by the National Concert Band of America.

In Montgomery County, a fireworks display will be held at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington.

Pre-fireworks activities beginning at 7 p.m. will include children’s entertainers and live music. The fireworks will begin at 9:15 p.m.

In Arlington County, the community of Barcroft will hold its annual parade, which starts at 10 a.m. at the Barcroft Community House on South Buchanan Street.

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