There are plenty of traditions associated with the Fourth of July: fireworks, parades, family barbeques. Here are four unusual celebrations that have been shaped by their unique locations!
1. Coney Island: Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest
For nearly 100 years, Nathan’s Hot Dog Stand in Coney Island, Brooklyn has celebrated the nation’s independence by sponsoring a hot dog eating contest. Upon closer examination, the tradition is more patriotic that it seems. Legend has it that the first contest was held in 1916, in order to settle a dispute between four immigrants as to who was the most patriotic.
2. Murrell’s Inlet, SC: Parade of Boats
What is a community to do when its waterways are more popular transportation corridors than Main Street? Take the Independence Day Parade to the creek, of course! In Murrell’s Inlet, South Carolina they give parade float a more literal meaning! Boats are festooned in red, white and blue then paraded down the local creek to the cheers of spectators lining the shores.
4. Grave Yard Cleaning Off and Potluck
While the beautification of family graves may seem like more of a Memorial Day activity to most, my family gathers at the cemetery every Fourth of July. The family cemetery is a smallish affair nestled in the woods of Pennyrile Forest, a Kentucky state park that abuts the property line of the former family farm. Everyone gathers in the coolness of the morning to put fresh flowers on the graves of loved ones and ancestors. By the time the midday heat has reached its zenith, everyone is gathered in the shade of the trees eating down home dishes in lawn chairs, catching up on news and gossip and swapping old tales. Despite doing this all my life, it is still feels pretty strange (if not a little morbid) to have a picnic among the graves of my ancestors. But what can you do? It’s tradition…
So how does your community or family celebrate? Have any unusual traditions of your own? Share in the comments!