4th of July @ Colonial Williamsburg (CW)

Old May 28th, 2009, 10:15 AM
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4th of July @ Colonial Williamsburg (CW)

We've been to CW before but never during the 4th of July. I've looked at the CW website for the list of events (parades, fireworks, etc..) but would like to get info from someone who has been there. Is it worth making the trip to CW for this holiday? Is it very crowded? Thanks in advance for your input!
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Old May 28th, 2009, 10:43 AM
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I love the 4th of July in Williamsburg. It can be crowded but not horribly so as it is for the Grand Illumination. The reading of the Declaration of Independence, the fife & drum corps, the cannons, make it a great fourth. There is also an ice cream social at W&M before the fireworks.

I'm a local and I go down to CW every year for the fireworks.

Let us know if you plan on going and we can help you with details.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 03:22 PM
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The one time I was at Colonial Williamsburg back in 1987 we happened to be there on July 4th. What a wonderful way to celebrate Independence Day. Everything the previous poster wrote happened then also. If you are looking for the perfect All-American way to celebrate the day, this would be it.
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Old May 31st, 2009, 08:59 PM
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Thanks to you both for the info.

Birdie: We haven't made any definite plans yet but will let you know if CW is our 4th of July destination. DC is also a contender! ;-)
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Old Jun 25th, 2009, 07:54 PM
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Birdie: CW is our 4th of July destination! We purchased tkts for the Governor's Palace Picnic. Have you been to the picnic? Is it best to park at the CW visitor's ctr, downtown, or at CW? Thanks for your feedback.
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Old Jun 26th, 2009, 05:23 AM
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Have you decided where you are staying? If I know what direction you need to head out, I can help with parking. I have never been to the picnic. Make sure you see the Fife & Drum at some point during the day.
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Old Jun 26th, 2009, 06:45 AM
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We're staying at the Fairfield Inn on Richmond Rd. Thanks!
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Old Jun 26th, 2009, 07:33 AM
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I usually park on the W&M campus but my favorite spot is opposite of where you want to be. If you arrive early in the day you might be able to get something in the football stadium lot which is on Richmond Rd across from the Hospitality House. If you don't mind walking, you can park in the W&M Hall lot. Turn right on Dillard off Richmond Rd and it will take you to the lot. Across the street from the lot are the frat houses. If you walk down the paved path to the left of the fraternaties, you will end up behind St. Bede's on Richmond Rd. It's a hike but it's easier getting out of there than it will be out of the visitors' center at the end of the festivities. There are some other back ways out of the hall lot I can tell you about.

Your other option is to park in the visitors' center and either walk back or wait for a bus. Just realize that it will be a while until you get back to your hotel.
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Old Jun 30th, 2009, 10:14 AM
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Thanks for the great info. Looking forward to CW on the 4th!
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Old Jun 30th, 2009, 11:10 AM
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So am I!! Please come back and give us a report.
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Old Jul 30th, 2009, 09:45 AM
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Palace Picnic Review:
The picnic started at 7:30 pm and the fireworks at 9:15 pm. I think the picnic should have been scheduled earlier like around 6:30 pm. The grassy area in front of the Governor’s Palace (GP) was roped off with a “Reserved for Palace Picnic” sign. Around 6 pm, DH and DS went back to the car for the chairs while DD and I staked out a fireworks viewing spot. Around 7 pm, folks started lining up outside the GP and each person received a wrist band (adult or child) in exchange for your ticket. There were entrances on both sides of the GP. We entered on the right side and were led to the back of the GP where tables were set-up with the picnic boxes, CW blankets, and beverages.

Positives: The food was delicious and plentiful. The adult picnic box included: 2 pieces of fried chicken, turkey wrap, muffuletta sandwich, cole slaw, potato salad, bag of chips, trail mix, fruit cup, 3 desserts (large chocolate chip cookie, cupcake w/4 of Jul decorations, cherry cake w/pudding), choice of two beverages (bottle water, soda). One box wouldn’t been enough for two adults! The kids’ box included a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, grapes, fruit cup, trail mix, chicken strips, apple sauce, and the same 3 desserts as the adult box, and choice of two beverages. During the picnic there was CW entertainment: music and games for the kids.

Each person also received a CW blanket which was big enough for one person to sit on and enjoy the picnic. We found a bench since DH was more comfortable than sitting on the ground and enjoyed the picnic. We then went back out to our spot in front of the GP around 8:15 pm and waited for the fireworks to begin. Fireworks were right on time at 9:15pm. Spectacular!

Negatives: There was confusion on where the picnic would be since the area in front of the palace was roped off but the program guide said the picnic would take place in the GP gardens. It would’ve nice to have someone outside the GP to answer questions esp. for first timers like us. Some folks packed up their stuff and brought it with them into the GP gardens. We just left our chairs in our spot and everything was there when we returned after the picnic.
Overall this was a wonderful way to spend 4th of July. I’d definitely recommend attending it at least once. My DS wants to go back next year!
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Old Jul 30th, 2009, 01:04 PM
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I'm glad you enjoyed it islandsnoopy. Thanks for the report.
The weather was beautiful on the fourth. I think it brought a lot of people out to CW. I haven't seen that many people there on the 4th before. We wandered down to see the Fife & Drum and then wandered back to our spot to watch the fireworks.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 12:06 PM
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I forgot to mention the special 4 July event "Salute to the States" which was held on Market Square. THe Fife & Drum Corps and four cannons saluted the 13 original states. As each state was recognized, the flag bearer came forward while the state song was played and the cannons fired. Very nicely done.

We also visited the DeWitt Wallace Museum for the first time and saw the Declaration of Independence exhibit which showcased five original copies of the DOI. This exhibit is there until 2010.

The "Scots & A Legacy of Independence" was a wonderful musical event (about 45 mins) that provided insight into the Scottish legacy in early American music (yankee Doodle, etc...)

Suffice to say, we had a great time at CW and look forward to our next visit!
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