America’s Most Explosive 4th of July Celebrations

This most American of holidays, the 4th of July, is celebrated in the most American of fashions: big, loud and proud! Hit the road this long weekend to see the most impressive fireworks displays going in this great nation. There’s a lot to celebrate this year, and what better way than with huge fireball explosions in the sky? No better way at all, and that’s why it’s our country’s tradition. Here are some of the biggest boom festivals in the country this year.

Seward, Alaska: What was once a folly is now one of America’s greatest treasures (Sarah Palin notwithstanding, of course): Alaska’s worth the trip from the Lower 48, especially if you’re into the whole nature thing. Seward is a waterfront town, where boats embarking on glacier cruises leave from the harbor and dog sleds zoom about in the hills. Here, the fireworks start at 12:01 am the morning of the 4th, and the only moving vehicles on the streets are the parade floats.

St. Louis, Missouri: Not only does St. Louis host perhaps the biggest July 4th festivities in the country, in terms of numbers; it’s also the one that fireworks enthusiasts make a point of seeing at least once: technically speaking, this one’s a doozy. Before the fireworks themself there are three days of concerts and air shows, as well as something called a Veiled Prophet Parade, which seems to have its roots in something vaguely KKK-ish, but hey, maybe they’ve dropped that aspect in the 150 years since it was invented.

Bainbridge, Washington: One of the greatest summer activities in Seattle: catch the 9:50 ferry back from Bainbridge Island and watch three fireworks shows from the deck of the boat. You’ll have to line up early to catch the ferry, but it’s worth it to be out on the water (as it goes practically vertical from everyone gathering on the left side) watching the row of three displays in unison.

Boston, Massachusetts: Huge. Epic. Un-toppable. The Boston show is a highly choreographed, city-wide event spearheaded by the Boston Pops. If you buy a ticket to watch the Pops perform, you won’t be able to see the fireworks very well from your seat. Which is why 30 towers of sound are placed strategically about, so that no one has to choose between audio and visual stimulation. Or, if you’re fancy and/or lucky enough, you’ll be in one of the 1,000 boats that pack the Charles River … probably too busy sharing booze and flirting with other boaters to pay attention to anything else.

LaPointe, Wisconsin: If you’ve never been to the type of come as you are, salt of the earth, huge scary dudes in beards bawling at the National Anthem 4th of July parties that small towns tend to throw, LaPointe’s is the one to hit. I mean this is only the best way: they do it up tacky, and they’re dang proud of it. A mixtape medley of country pop and spoken-word inspirational verses plays during the fireworks show, while everyone happily stuffs their faces with fried fair food. It’s American perfection.

Washington, DC: I mean … obviously.