Free Fun Fourth: Family Activities for the 4th of July Weekend

Event Date: 
Friday, July 4, 2008 - 12:00am to Sunday, July 6, 2008 - 12:59am
Editor's Pick: 

New York is a great place to celebrate the Fourth of July not just for the fireworks, but because New York played a prominent role in the Revolution. Just walk the streets of Lower Manhattan to see where George Washington was sworn in and said goodbye to his troops. A great book for family friendyly walking tours of Lower Manhattan with fun stops along the way is the Follow Me! Guide to Lower Manhattan. Or you can take the Revolutionary War Historic Walking Tour from the South Street Seaport this weekend (recommended for ages 4 and up. Free with Museum Admission).

But we've got a whole weekend full of Fourth Fun from the educational to the absurd.

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The New York Historical Society's Fourth of July Celebration lets you experience living history. Meet George Washington (portrayed by Hugh Francis), the Marquis de Lafayette (portrayed by Loic Barnieu, and Benjamin Franklin (portrayed by Jack Sherry).Learn what life was like during the Revolution. Enjoy the music and storytelling of folk balladeers the Hudson River Ramblers (Jonathan Kruk & Rich Bala), as they perform two special programs at 1:00pm and 3:00pm

Play in the "Don't Know Much About" History Quiz Show. Plus arts and crafts, free popcorn and lemonade while supplies last! Wear Red,White and Blue to get in free as well as get a discount in the museum store.

Another historic event (sort of) is the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. In it's 93rd year, the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest is a competitive eating event won last year by Joey Chestnut who downed 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes. THhe contest takes place at noon on July 4th at the Nathan's Famous in Coney Island.

July 4 isn't an important date in history just for the independence of our nation. July 4, 1827 is also the date that slavery ended in New York. July 5 has traditionally been the date to celebrate with fancy dinners and parades. This year, head over to Lefferts Historic House for a Freedom Strut and learn about the history of this event with an illustrated talk by historian Dr. Sherrill D. Wilson and drum music by Heritage O.P. End the afternoon by making musical instruments and decorating your clothing for a noisy and proud march recalling the days of the first generations of free African- Americans in New York. Lefferts Historic House. Saturday, July 5, 1PM.

If you can't take the crowds to try to sneak a peak at the July 4th fireworks, you might opt for the fireworks that will be displayed dramatically on Saturday, July 5th after the New York Philharmonic Performs on Governors Island at 6:30 PM after a rousing rendition of the 1812 Overture. What better way to celebrate the birth of our nation than that?

Even the littlest kids can start learning about the history of our nation at Story Time Sundays at Dyckman Farm House. On Sunday, Jul 06, at 1:30 pm kids can learn about the Founding Fathers and hear a funny tale about what John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson were up to before they grew into America's Founding Fathers. (Recommended for ages 5-9) FREE, but reservation recommended as space is limited.