Independence Day celebrations are exploding around Loudoun—but not all of them are happening on the holiday itself.
Communities from east to west have scheduled celebrations throughout the long weekend, with many of them held Saturday and Sunday in the name of convenience—and cheaper fireworks.
One of Loudoun’s oldest Independence Day celebrations in the tiny western Loudoun town of Hillsboro started more than 30 years ago as a thank you from the Hillsboro Community Association (now known as Friends of the Old Stone School) to residents who supported efforts to restore the tiny town’s historic school.
Friends of the Old Stone School Vice President Amie Ware, whose husband Mark is a Hillsboro native, remembers the days when the fireworks display was an ad hoc affair with pyrotechnics courtesy of locals. “There would be 15 minutes between each firework,” Ware said with a laugh.
Because of permitting requirements, professional fireworks have now become a fixture, and the community raises money for the display through individual donations and corporate sponsorships. This year’s celebration takes place Saturday, July 2 and is sponsored by Friends of the Old Stone School, the newly established Greater Hillsboro Business Alliance, and the Town of Hillsboro. Ware says organizers save up to half the cost of fireworks by not having the display on the 4th. The Hillsboro celebration date changes from year to year, with organizers always looking for a weekend date just before or just after the 4th.
This year’s event at the Old Stone School includes games, food, wine and beer from event sponsor Old 690 Brewing Company. And new this year, organizers have obtained permission for a brief closure of a section of Rt. 9 for the first-ever Hillsboro Independence Day parade.
“The celebration has grown with the community,” Ware said.
On the other end of the county, folks will also be celebrating July 2 with the Independence Day celebration at Lansdowne Resort and Spa—a favorite with residents in eastern Loudoun and beyond.
“We are flexible, approachable and the weekend is more comfortable for our locals to come and enjoy a gorgeous day with good music in our spacious resort,” said Lansdowne marketing manager Daniela Zambrano. “We get a lot of attraction from the DMV wanting to get away from the city. It’s the perfect location to enjoy the good life.”
The fun at Lansdowne starts at 3 p.m. with food, wine and beer vendors, live music from Gonzo’s Nose at 6 p.m. followed by fireworks. The event is free, but parking at the resort is $10 (with partial proceeds going to the Team Mathias pediatric cancer nonprofit).
Need your fix on the holiday itself? Town and county–organized celebrations in Leesburg, Purcellville and Middleburg are your best bet.
The Town of Leesburg has held its Independence Day celebration on July 4 since Ida Lee Park opened in 1990. If the weather is nice, the town often sees up to 18,000 people on the park property, with thousands more watching the fireworks from other locations in town, said Linda Fountain, the town’s events and outreach manager.
Leesburg’s popular annual parade, held the morning of the 4th, launched in 2004 and is organized by the town’s Parks and Recreation Department. This year’s Patriot Cup Award for the float with the best patriotic theme, originality and quality is sponsored by Loudoun Now.
A little to the west, Purcellville’s annual Fourth of July parade has been organized by the town’s volunteer fire company for more than 20 years and draws visitors from around the county with its old-fashioned, small town appeal, full of fire trucks and tractors.
“It seems like every year it gets bigger,” longtime organizer Donald Embry of the Purcellville Volunteer Fire Company said.
The parade starts at 12:30 p.m. and many locals follow it up with the county-sponsored celebration at Franklin Park. Franklin Park’s afternoon of fun and live music starts at 2 p.m. and ends with fireworks at dusk.
If you’re in eastern Loudoun and are looking for some sparkle on the 4th without driving, you may be able to catch a glimpse of the private fireworks display at Trump National Golf Course in Potomac Falls. One savvy Sterling spectator takes a hike and catches the Trump fireworks at a secluded spot on the Potomac Heritage Trail.
With celebrations around the county before, on and after the fourth, you can party hop all weekend if you plan it right—just in case you don’t have enough fireworks in your life.