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COLUMBIA, MD — Independence Day is fast approaching, so it’s time to find out where you can celebrate in and around Columbia and Howard County. Events in the area include fireworks, festivals and other Fourth of July fun.

To help you fill your 4th of July calendar, Patch has put together a guide to events happening in Columbia and the surrounding area.

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Celebrations on July 4, 2024

What: Howard County’s annual Fourth of July Fireworks Festival includes fireworks, live music, and on-site food vendors.
Where: Lakefront near Columbia
When: July 4th

What: Laurel 2024, 4th of July celebration with parade, car show, fun games for the whole family, live music, flag raising ceremony and fireworks.
Where: In the Laurel area
When: July 6

What: Free, family-friendly concert by the U.S. Navy Concert Band.
Where: Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods
When: July 4th

Today, Americans celebrate the birth of a new nation with fireworks, parades, concerts, family reunions and barbecues. But these celebrations date back centuries before Independence Day became a federal holiday, which only came into effect in 1941.

In the crucial summer of 1776, the pre-revolutionary celebrations in honour of King George III’s birthday were replaced by mock funerals in order to create a symbolic break with the Crown.

It was an exciting time in Philadelphia: The Continental Congress voted to secede from the Crown and two days later, on July 4, the original 13 colonies – New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia – adopted the Declaration of Independence.

The first annual commemoration of the nation’s independence took place in Philadelphia on July 4, 1777, while the Revolutionary War was still in progress. Fireworks have been a part of the Fourth of July celebration since the first celebration in Philadelphia.