For almost two months now I have been traveling back and forth from Roanoke Rapids to South Hill, Virginia, for rehearsal.
In case you are wondering what I have been rehearsing for, it’s “Steel Magnolias.” Yes, the play that inspired the movie with the same name. The show opens July 23 at The Colonial Center for the Performing Arts. Visit colonialcenterva.org for more information.
I’ve always wanted to be in a production of this play, so it was worth the drive, plus two other ladies from Roanoke Rapids are in the show as well. Thank God, since gas went up, we share in the cost, taking turns driving.
I’ve noticed for weeks now, as we approach the turn to go into South Hill, all these small flags on the right. But, with merging traffic from the exit it’s not somewhere to stop and take a picture.
So, once again, I took advantage of being in the back seat of Mandy Matthews’ convertible and told her to, if possible, slow down just a little. I was able to take three pictures with my phone. When I later looked at the photos, I noticed the flagpole and the American flag flying in the background. I also saw a sign that said Flags for Heroes, South Hill Rotary.
The display is perfect for the July 4th holiday. You know, Independence Day — the day the Second Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence to announce the colonies’ separation from Great Britain.
I found some notable and interesting facts regarding July 4 from Reader’s Digest:
• Some colonists celebrated Independence Day during the summer of 1776 by putting on mock funerals for King George III of England — symbolizing the death of the Crown’s rule on America.
• The first annual commemoration of Independence Day happened on July 4, 1777, in Philadelphia.
• John Adams, a Founding Father and the second president of the United States, strongly believed Independence Day should be celebrated on July 2. He even refused to attend 4th of July events because he felt so strongly about July 2 being the correct date. (The document was approved on July 2, but wasn’t signed and officially adopted until July 4.)
• Adams and Thomas Jefferson, a fellow Founding Father, both died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe, another U.S. president, also died on July 4th, but he passed in 1831.
• Thomas Jefferson was the first president to celebrate Independence Day at the White House, in 1801. The celebration featured horse races, parades, food and drinks — similar to the 4th of July celebrations we see today.
• Although the 4th of July has been celebrated each year since 1776, it didn’t become a federal holiday until 1870. And it didn’t become a paid holiday for federal employees until 1941.
Many are traveling and making plans for the weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July, but there are some local events if you are sticking close to home:
• Sponsored by the Halifax County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Weldon will hold its festivities on July 2 at River Falls Park. There will be food vendors serving up hot dogs, ice cream, funnel cakes, snow cones and more. Backyard Groove will provide live music beginning at 6 p.m., with a little soul, funk, beach, country and rock music. Abrams Amusements will be there with rides and games for the kids, and then for the finale, a fireworks display at dark. For safety reasons, please do not bring pets, alcohol, glass containers, fireworks or weapons.
• Historic Halifax will celebrate the holiday on Monday. The visitor’s center, 25 Saint David St., will be open from 1 to 4 p.m. The Eagle Tavern, Taproom, 1838 Jail, Joseph Montfort Archaeology Museum and Underground Railroad Trail will be open from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. The reading of the Declaration of Independence will be held at 2 p.m. at the Eagle Tavern, followed by a musket firing demonstration.
The Independence Day celebration will continue from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the modern Halifax Courthouse, 357 Ferrell Lane. That event will include food, music and free fireworks at dark. For more information, call 252-583-7191.
• Hobgood will also be celebrating July 4 on Monday, beginning at 6 p.m. at Friendship Park, 102 N. Poplar St. There will be live entertainment, food vendors, a pie eating contest and fireworks.
• According to the Long Bridge Volunteer Fire Department’s Facebook page, fireworks are a go at Lake Gaston.
“We are so excited to be able to offer the show this year,” the post reads. “Join us Saturday, July 9th at dark. We need your help to fund the show. Watch for road blocks in the coming weeks. You can also mail checks directly into us with memo: FIREWORKS to 1678 Eaton Ferry Road, Littleton NC 27850. We put on this show every year with no sponsors and solely based by your donations. Please help us continue this tradition. If you’d like to donate other ways or have questions email us at email@example.com or call me directly, Kendra Pierce 252-532-4754. Thank you and we look forward to seeing you soon.”
• And over in Northampton County, Independence Day will be celebrated from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday at the Northampton County Cultural and Wellness Center, 9536 NC Highway 305 in Jackson. The event will feature The Pizazz Band providing soul, funk, beach, country and rock music. The fireworks begin about 9:15 p.m. For more information, call 252-534-1383 or visit northamptonchamber.org.
No matter what your plans are for the holiday, stay safe, and don’t drink and drive — including on your boat! Oh, and please, don’t forget, your pets will probably be nervous hearing the fireworks and may run away. Leave them at home where they can be safe and secure.
Happy July 4th to all our readers out there!
Editor Tia Bedwell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-410-7056.