WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — Colonial Williamsburg announced that the ‘Honoring our Shared Ideals’ Fourth of July celebration will be different this year as it incorporates the perspectives of enslaved African Americans during 1776.

The city invites the community to celebrate the nation’s birthday as the ideals embedded in the Declaration of Independence are considered in the “shared journey toward a more perfect union.”

“This year is unique, and so will be this Fourth of July,” said Colonial Williamsburg President and CEO Cliff Fleet. “This Fourth offers an opportunity for contemplation as we work together — to emerge from a pandemic, and to ensure that all Americans enjoy the unalienable rights we demanded nearly 250 years ago.”

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. on July 4, special programming will include a public reading of the Declaration of Independence from the Capitol’s west balcony.

At noon and 4 p.m., the program “Created Equal” will take place Charlton Stage for guests with Colonial Williamsburg admission. The program presents actor-interpreters exploring the perspectives of enslaved African Americans during 1776, the debate over fundamental rights, and what the words “enshrined” in the Declaration mean today.

At 5 p.m., bells will ring along Duke of Gloucester Street and at community locations including the city’s historic First Baptist Church.

At sundown, cressets will illuminate the streets and sidewalks of the Historic Area.

The special programming is offered in addition to modified operations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at select areas and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

Available July 4 dining options include:

  • Mr. Chowning’s Historically Delicious Pig Roast from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Chowning’s Tavern Garden.
    • Special tickets are required.
    • Ticket holders can gather at picnic tables, dine and enjoy entertainment by Colonial Williamsburg’s Tavern Musicians.
    • Special tickets are $45 and $22 for youth, and available by calling 1-844-811-8229. 
  • The Social Terrace at the Williamsburg Inn is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • The Sweet Tea & Barley Patio at the Lodge is open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
    • Sweet Tea & Barley curbside service continues on the Fourth of July.

Face coverings are required while inside and encouraged outdoors. Guests are asked to follow social distancing guidelines when visiting.

Most doors, faucets, and other high-traffic touchpoints are touchless. Enhanced cleaning protocols are in effect at the open locations.

Canceled events:

  • Colonial Williamsburg and the City of Williamsburg jointly canceled this year’s free community fireworks program.
  • Performances by Colonial Williamsburg’s Fifes & Drums are canceled.
  • After the state enters phase 3, Colonial Williamsburg and the city of Williamsburg are planning a community-wide grand reopening event.

“The spirit of America will endure these trying times. Even as we gradually recover from the coronavirus pandemic and struggle with equality across our country, what America stands for: life, liberty and the never-ending pursuit of happiness remains for each and every one of us,” Williamsburg City Manager Andrew Trivette said.

“Despite a lack of fireworks, we hope residents and visitors will take the time to stroll down our most historic thoroughfare, Duke of Gloucester Street, consider Williamsburg’s role in that pursuit, and enjoy outdoor dining venues and the remarkable atmosphere only offered by Williamsburg on our nation’s Independence Day.”

More information is available online.

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