By Gillian Burdett

“We hold these truths to be self-evident…” With these famous words, America declared herself an independent nation, a radical move the nation celebrates each Fourth of July.  As one of the original colonies, Connecticut is steeped in history, and many Independence Day events across the state hearken back to revolutionary times. Other events are thoroughly 21st-Century productions. Whatever your preference or political stripe, these Connecticut Independence Day Events are bound to stir the patriot in your soul. Tricorn hats are optional.

Declaration of Independence dramatic reading
Hempsted Houses
11 Hempstead St.
New London, CT 06320
(860) 443-7949

Date: July 2, 2017 at 2 p.m.

Before radio and television, news was read aloud in public squares. The Declaration of Independence, after ratification, was printed and distributed throughout the colonies for public readings. You can experience the Spirit of ’76 at one of New England’s oldest dwellings. Built in 1678, Joshua Hempstead’s house survived the 1781 burning of New London by British soldiers under the command of Benedict Arnold. The house and other homes on the property remained in the Hempstead family until 1937. Connecticut Landmarks now owns the property and operates a living museum on site. They will be hosting a community reading of the Declaration to celebrate Independence Day 2017. Admission is free.

Independence Day Celebration at Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport
75 Greenmanville Ave.
Mystic, CT 06355
(860) 572-0711

Date: July 4, 2017, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Celebrate Independence Day the way they did in 1876 with a picnic on the green, boat races on the river, and a parade. The Parade steps off at 1 p.m. and children are invited to join in the march. The parade will be followed by an Independence Day ceremony and concert by the Mystic Silver Cornet Band. Activities include dramatic performances by the Mystic Seaport TaleMakers, croquet on the lawn and homemade ice cream-churning. All events are included with the purchase of a General Admission ticket to the museum. Save 10 percent by purchasing tickets online.

Orange’s Annual Independence Day Fireworks Spectacular
Orange Fairgrounds
525 Orange Center Road
Orange, CT 06477
(203) 891-4700

Date: July 2, 2017  at 6:30 p.m.

Orange is kicking off their annual event with a concert by Strange Magic, a nationally renowned Electric Light Orchestra tribute band. Food and merchandise vendors will be on the grounds so visitors can enjoy dinner and do some shopping during the concert. Fireworks shoot off at 9:30 p.m. Orange is known for its great Independence Day fireworks show with patriotic music accompanying the dazzling pyrotechnic display. Admission is free. A $5 donation is suggested for parking. Parking proceeds will benefit the town’s Little League. Rain date is July 3.

Related: Best Places To Picnic In Connecticut

Food Truck & Fireworks Extravaganza
Brass Mill Center
495 Union St.
Waterbury, CT 06706
(203) 755-5000

Date: July 2, 2017 from 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.

More than two dozen food trucks will gather in the Macy’s/JC Penney parking lots at Brass Mill Center for the 2nd Annual Food Truck & Fireworks festival. Craft and merchandise vendors will join food trucks from across New England and New York for the event that drew several thousand last summer. You will want to stick around until dusk. The Brass Mill Center is the ideal place to watch the City of Waterbury’s spectacular fireworks show. Admission and parking are free.

The Great American Boom
Stanley Quarter Park
1712 Stanley St.
New Britain, CT 06051

Date: July 4, 2017 at 5 p.m.

The City of New Britain is hosting this celebration, which kicks off with a live concert by Star Search winner Latanya Farrell & the Bookman Styles Band. Fireworks shoot off at 9:15 p.m. Stanley Quarter Park has picnic facilities for those who want to pack dinner. A playground, fishing pond and skateboard park on site will give everyone something to do while waiting for the show. Admission is free. Donations to pay for the fireworks are appreciated. The rain date is July 5, 2019.

Related: Best Places To See Indie Rock In Connecticut