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Top 10 Fourth of July traditions to celebrate America's birthday

The 4th of July is upon us, so it’s time to celebrate America's 235th birthday with time-honored family traditions. Whether you partake in one, several or all, the Fourth of July is the perfect occasion to bust out that red, white and blue and wave your patriotic pride.

The Fourth of July is a time for traditions.

Below are the Top 10 Fourth of July traditions:

10. Watermelon: The juicy fruit is almost as all-American as apple pie, and it’s in its prime season right around the Fourth of July. Farmers in approximately 44 states in the U.S. grow watermelon commercially. California and Arizona are the USA's largest watermelon producers. There are more than 1200 varieties of watermelon ranging in size from less than a pound, to more than two hundred pounds, with flesh that is red, orange, yellow or white. More than 1 billion pounds of watermelon were sold in the United States last year. In Atlanta, watermelon is currently in season and available at all local grocery stores, including Publix and Kroger.

9. Baseball: Writing in 1919, philosopher Morris Raphael Cohen described baseball as America's national religion. In fact, baseball has inspired many works of art and entertainment. One of the first major examples, Ernest Thayer's poem "Casey at the Bat", appeared in 1888. The sport has played an important role in American culture throughout the years. Because it is considered America’s sport, catching a Major League baseball game is an excellent way to celebrate the America's birthday. In cities across America, teams play on the Fourth of July and often follow the game with a fireworks display. This is the case with the Atlanta Braves. Fans at Turner Field can enjoy a pre-game salute to our troops, an Air Force flyover and an All-American Fireworks Spectacular. In addition, all active duty military, reserve military, and veterans can show military ID at the ticket windows on July 4th to receive a free Upper Box Ticket.

8. Cool Beverages: While lemonade and sweet tea are cool and refreshing Fourth of July beverages for families in Atlanta, sometimes parents need an adult beverage. For a complete list of 4th of July adult beverage options, including Blue Margarita, Fire Crackers, Patriotic Pina Colada, Stars and Stripes Punch and more, check out

7. Outdoor parties: The Fourth of July is the perfect time to gather friends and family for an annual event to celebrate our country’s birthday. This year America turns 235 years old, which is the perfect occasion for an outdoor picnic, pool party, or beach gathering. With beautiful summer weather, the Fourth of July is the perfect excuse to break the confines of indoors and get outside. In Atlanta, Stone Mountain Park is the perfect setting for an outdoor Fourth of July party. Pavilion rentals are available and your party can stay in the evening to catch the laser show and fireworks. Lake Lanier is also the perfect place for an outdoor Fourth of July party. With a beautiful lake and water park, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

6. Apple Pie: In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, apple pie became a symbol of American prosperity and national pride. A newspaper article published in 1902 declared that “No pie-eating people can be permanently vanquished.” The dish was also commemorated in the phrase "for Mom and apple pie" - the stock answer of American soldiers in World War II, whenever journalists asked why they were going to war. Apple pie is best served with whipped cream or ice cream on top. It’s also a staple during Fourth of July celebrations across the country. For the best apple pie in Atlanta, The Pie Hole is Roswell gets rave reviews. It’s located at 1025 Canton Street in Roswell.

5. Private Fireworks: People often feel the need to set off their own fireworks during the Fourth of July. While we may have fond memories of sparklers, about three-fourths of the approximately 7,000 yearly fireworks injuries occur around July 4th. In Georgia, sparklers, sparkling fountains, snakes, glow worms, snappers and party poppers are allowed. Firecrackers, torpedoes, sky rockets, roman candles, heavy sparklers and bombs are not and are punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail. Before setting off your own fireworks, make sure they’re legal in your state. Plus, always remember to use the utmost caution when setting off any fireworks of any kind.

4. Ice Cream: A delicious ice cream treat probably tastes the best when enjoyed on the Fourth of July. That’s because it ‘s considered an all-American favorite, even though it was enjoyed by ancient civilizations. In the United States in the early 20th century, the ice cream soda was a popular treat at the soda shop, the soda fountain, and the ice cream parlor. During American Prohibition, the soda fountain to some extent replaced the outlawed alcohol establishments such as bars and saloons. Today, no 4th of July cookout or party is complete without ice cream. In Atlanta, popular ice cream stores include Bruster’s, Cold Stone Creamery, Morelli’s Ice Cream and Marble Slab Creamery.

3. Parades: If anything can spark Americans to get into the spirit of Independence Day, it’s a good old-fashioned parade down Main Street USA. Fourth of July parades often occur in the morning in the morning, while fireworks displays occur in the evening. In Atlanta, families can catch a local 4th of July parade in Marietta, Stone Mountain, Dunwoody, Avondale Estates, and Decatur.

2. Patriotic displays: On the Fourth of July, Americans customarily adorn their houses with flags, buntings and steamers in red, white and blue, the colors if the American flag. In addition, people deck themselves out with red, white and blue to show their American Pride. Wave it proudly. Wear it proudly.

1. Public Fireworks: The biggest Fourth of July tradition for millions of Americans is loading up the family and heading out to a local fireworks display. New York City stages the largest fireworks in the country, with over 22 tons of pyrotechnics exploding every year. Other major displays are in Chicago on Lake Michigan; in San Diego over Mission Bay; in Boston on the Charles River; in St. Louis on the Mississippi River; in San Francisco over the San Francisco Bay; and on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. In Atlanta, families can view 4th of July professional fireworks at Lenox Square Mall, Centennial Olympic Park, Stone Mountain Park, Mall of Georgia, Wills Park, Lake Lanier, Decatur, Douglasville, East Point, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Marietta, Newnan, and Richmond Hill.

Whatever your plans for July 4th, 2011, make it a memorable day by spending quality time with your family and remembering those who gave their lives to defend our freedoms. Despite our problems, America is still the greatest nation in the world. Happy 235th birthday, America!

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