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Fourth of July at the Fort Remains a Hot Event

The Fourth of July at Fort Monroe has been an area tradition for decades, and it is continuing to draw people in droves.

This year, approximately 25,000 visitors celebrated Independence Day at Fort Monroe.

“It was wonderful to walk the property and see so many people from the community, faces we’ve seen for several years, and many new faces,” said Glenn Oder, executive director of the Fort Monroe Authority. “This shows how much of a tradition coming to Fort Monroe is to our community.”

The day started with the James Monroe Foundation, National Park Service and the Casemate Museum hosting a patriotic flag-raising ceremony at the Flag Bastian. This activity included live period music, participants in period attire and the featured speaker was historian Elise Harding Davis.

Thousands took advantage of the many Fort Monroe amenities including the beaches, picnic areas, campground, fishing pier, restaurants and craft brewery.

Community exhibitors provided free family-friendly activities and give-away items to event-goers. In celebration of NASA Langley’s 100th birthday, the base presented exhibits including a tabletop Mars Rover demonstration, solar system cornhole and a futuristic aircraft design activity. More than 1,000 people visited the demonstrations.

Live music was provided by the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band, Full Spectrum. This six-piece, high energy, electrifying, “pop & hip hop” band played two sets while thousands danced and sang along.

But the main event was the fireworks. The event site was relocated in 2017 to the Mill Creek side of the property in order to have the perfect amphitheater-like setting for the spectacular fireworks show.

Immediately following the concert, the fireworks were launched on a very calm, glass-like creek that reflected the colors and sparkles of this aerial show. As patriotic music played in the background, thousands of people rimmed Stillwell Road in awe of the display. The fireworks were produced by the world-renowned company, Pyrotecnico.

The 15-minute fireworks show was launched from a 1,600-square-foot floating platform in Mill Creek. This platform was provided by Youth Sailing Virginia, a non-profit organization that provides sailing opportunities for students in the 7th to 12th grades.

“Year after year, this day ranks as one of the most exciting and well attended in our community,” said Oder. “I am just happy that we can continue to provide such an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate.”