From new celebrations to old traditions, our Discover716 interns share what the 4th of July means to them and how they celebrate the holiday while living in Buffalo. Give this short article a read and you may be inspired to take on some of our interns' favorite celebratory Fourth of July activities from their childhood and new traditions they've grown into.
The Fourth of July as a Kid
By Andrea Ludwig
When I was growing up, I could not wait for the Fourth of July because it meant spending time with my family. I have over thirty cousins between my mom and dad’s side and celebrating the fourth meant spending time with all of them.
During the day, my parents and three siblings would head over to my mom’s sister’s house (my aunt) and race to jump in their freezing cold pool, which felt amazing in the intense summer heat. We would play all the classic pool games—Marco Polo, Sharks and Minos, Chicken Fights, etc. with our cousins and swim until our legs felt like they would fall off and our fingers pruned. After all of this swimming, one can imagine how ravenous we were, and we easily scarfed down a few hamburgers and hotdogs that our uncle grilled while we were busy being kids. Our parents sat on the deck chatting while we were cracking jokes with each other, playing cornhole, and listening to Bruce Springsteen songs until we were exhausted and had a red glow on our face from being out in the sun too long.
Although I never wanted to leave my aunt’s house, I was always excited for the night because that meant seeing fireworks with my dad’s side of the family. We would head up to Transit Valley Country Club to see the firework show and always arrived at least an hour early to get a good spot and played card games until the sky turned all shades of pinks and purples and finally went dark. This was when the most exciting part of the night occurred—the fireworks! Transit Valley always puts on the best firework show, and I highly recommend going there to watch the firework show. When the show was over, we would head home, exhausted, and ready to climb into bed after such a fun day.
The fourth will always hold a special place in my heart because it means spending time with my family and reminiscing on all the memories my family and I created throughout the years. So, if you can, spend time with your family and go out and create some amazing memories with them this fourth of July!
Bouncing Through the Fourth
By Nicolas Young
I feel like I celebrated the 4th of July as a kid pretty similarly to every other kid in the sense of having a family party and going to see fireworks at night but I’m going to focus on what sets me aside from everyone else and why my celebration as a kid was different than the average kid’s experience.
We hosted a party at my family’s home where every year we rented a bounce house for all of the kids to bounce around in. The bounce house to me represents youthfulness and having not a care in the world. I would remember the bounce house rental company dropping off the bounce house on the night of the third and me and my siblings begging my parents to bring blankets and pillows outside to sleep in the bounce house overnight. They never let us however because it was a safety hazard for us. The morning of the 4th we would wake up super early where we could still feel the dew on the grass and run to the bounce house where we were met with more dew settled on the bounce house. The moisture could no stop us from jumping around in the bounce house getting our clothes soaked.
After so many years of renting this bounce house every 4th of July my parents deemed my siblings and I were too old for them to continue paying to rent the bounce house and they passed the party responsibility and bounce house renting onto my aunt and uncle who have younger kids where the cycle was reset for a new set of children to enjoy the bounce house every year.
More than a Party
By Corrine Newman
When someone thinks of the 4th of July they think of the parades, fireworks and the family cookouts. The holiday is much more than the party aspect than we as a society have made it out to be. July 4th is a historical movement in the country’s history.
As a child, my family would open all the windows and watch all the displays from the surrounding cities since we lived in what used to be the country still. We were young enough that it was before the Falls were as built up as they are now and the casino was just being built. It was always just before dusk as well so there was always a gentle breeze.
As time progressed, we would load the dogs and go to the display site. Sometimes it would be coordinated with friends. This is what made it fun and memorable.
The traditions changed when we did not want to go in the car anymore to watch the displays. Instead we would go to a family friend’s home who owns a local catering company that we went to school with. Every year they threw a Fourth of July Party and as we got older the bigger and better the parties got.
Regardless of how the holiday is celebrated, the meaning still needs to stay in focus. We are only able to be the country we are today because of the steps that were taken by our founders when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Without it, who knows what kind of country we would live in now. No one will know as we can only speculate. Yes, it may make great conversation, but this is time to come together and bond as one
Fourth of July Favorites
By Cassandra Kamens
The Fourth of July has always been a fun holiday in my family. We usually spend the day with my mom’s side of the family doing a variety of different activities. Usually during the day, we swim and play lawn games, our favorites are cornhole and ladder golf. Swimming is always a good way to cool down on hot summer days!
Another great part of the fourth holiday is the food, who wouldn’t love a cookout feast. My family usually has cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and sausage as the main dish and a plethora of sides. The sides include coleslaw, my grandma’s “famous” macaroni salad, corn on the cob, fruit kabobs, potato salad, and pasta salad. As for dessert, it always changes but this year I am hoping for my mom’s strawberry shortcake or my grandma’s chocolate cake, and maybe if I am lucky a little bit of both.
When it starts to get late, we usually start a campfire and hang out. The other thing that we do is walk to the corner near my house and watch the fireworks. It is like we have our own private viewing of the fireworks. And then we go back to enjoying the campfire and sometimes a second round of dessert, smores! Happy Fourth of July everyone!!
Fourth of July Traditions
By Aby Zurowski
The 4th of July is by far one of my favorite holidays. Growing up, each 4th of July would be spent the same and that was getting together with my entire family and extended family as well as some friends. We would gather at my grandparents house and us kids would enjoy the waterslide that was blown up for us, as well as a bunch of rec games to keep us entertained before it got dark and was time for fireworks.
There were also so many foods and drinks that are so nostalgic and remind me of the 4th and my childhood everytime I see them. I remember leading up to the 4th of July my siblings, cousins and I would go with my grandparents to the store and pick out as much candy and junk food as our little arms could carry (then the tricky part was holding off eating it all until the actual party). Once it started to get dark, we would bring out the sparklers and smaller fireworks in preparation for the firework show we put on. It was so fun to see everyone smiling and having a good time and so I have always had great memories associated with the 4th of July.