The Fourth of July is arguably one of the most fun holidays of the U.S. calendar year. It's a day of parades, fireworks and barbecues all in honor of the red, white and blue. Despite the economic downturn, Americans spent more than US$60 each on their Independence Day cookouts in 2011, and the fireworks industry saw $1 billion in sales. Fourth of July celebrations can range from modest municipal parties for a few thousand dollars to extravagant, corporate-sponsored fêtes costing millions. Here's a list of the states that spend the most for the Fourth of July.
This southern state's logo is "America at its best," and it lives up to that when it comes to the Fourth of July. Nashville, Tenn. hosts "Let Freedom Ring" each year at The Lawn at Riverside Park. The event is slated to be a two-day event in 2012 with food, drinks, fireworks and free concerts. The Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau estimated that the crowd of more than 100,000 people who attended the event in 2010 spent $5.6 million.
Several towns in the golden state splurge on patriotism. Pasadena, Calif., located about 10 miles outside Los Angeles, is famous for its annual celebration at Rose Bowl Stadium. Attendees shell out $13 per person for admission and $20 per car for parking. The all-day event features food vendors, entertainment, inflatable rides for children, crafts and exhibits. The crowd, estimated at 60,000 people last year, is also treated to a 30 minute fireworks show that is considered to be the largest and best display in southern California. Rose Bowl Stadium management has said the event costs between $350,000 and $400,000 each year. The Fourth of July Lake Tahoe party lasts for a week. The $90,000 firework show is paid for through donations from citizens.
The largest city in Washington has an equally large party to commemorate the nation's independence. Seattle spent $500,000 on its celebration in 2011. Local businesses donate to keep the show going each year, but more than half the donors are individuals. Nearly half a million people go to the city's Lake Union to view what Time called one of the top five fireworks displays in the country.
Addison, Texas, a northern suburb of Dallas, has hosted Kaboom! Town since 1985. Each year about 400,000 people attend. In 2011, the city spent $240,000 on the event which is funded by a local tax. The event includes a 30 minute firework display, food, live music and an air show. The Freedom Over Texas event in Houston cost $1.7 million in 2008, but the budget was decreased in 2009 to $850,000 due to the recession. The popular event which includes live music has attracted as many as 100,000 attendees in past years.
Fireworks and other Fourth of July festivities are being cut in many cities due to tight budgets. In 2011, cities in South Carolina's Lowcountry have combined their resources to support six celebrations for less than $100,000. The firework display in North Charleston, S.C. was the most expensive at $35,000. Isle of Palms, S.C. spent $24,000 to light up the sky. Summerville, S.C. invested $15,000 for its celebration, Folly Beaches, S.C. budgeted $9,000, and Goose Creek, S.C. and Moncks Corner, S.C. both spent a reasonable $5,000.
The Bottom Line
While some cities have eliminated fireworks in light of tight budgets, others have found a way to up the ante every year. In many states, no expense is spared on the Fourth of July.