Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the community will not be able to come together this year for the N.C. Fourth of July Festival as in years past.
Instead, the festival committee has planned a way to honor some of the long-standing traditions and celebrate together – by doing so virtually, or online at www.nc4thofjuly.com.
This year marks the 225th year of the N.C. Fourth of July Festival in Southport and it is also a milestone year for the women’s suffrage movement, which 100 years ago led to the 19th Amendment and women’s right to vote.
The 2020 festival committee has created a series of Facebook events, contests, learning experiences and other enjoyable ways to spend July 2-4.
The festival schedule includes a suffrage challenge, flag-raising ceremony, reading of the Declaration of Independence and special naturalization presentation – take the citizenship test and recite the oath.
On July 4, viewers can enjoy parades of the past. The Southport Historical Society will debut an exclusive video in celebrating the 100 years of women’s right to vote. On the night of the Fourth, it will end with “Fireworks stories of the past,” and a shared fireworks show online.
July 4 is when the Southport community usually gathers for the parade and many festival activities throughout the day. In the patriotic spirit of the national holiday, the committee is asking the public to join in a community-wide pledge of allegiance at 11:03 a.m., no matter where you may be.
T-shirts on sale
Fourth of July Festival T-shirts and apparel are a crowd favorite each year. In lieu of a traditional annual design, this year’s T-shirts will feature a commemorative design and are available at eight area merchants.
The short-sleeved shirts are available in adult sizes small to 3XL for $19.99 and are available at the following locations:
• Boo & Roos, 112 East Moore Street, Southport;
• Color Me Carolina, 4143 Colfax Lane;
• Doc Meridian Wine and Beer Shop, 305 North Howe Street;
• Frying Pan Restaurant, 319 West Bay Street;
• Party Time, 1658 North Howe Street;
• The Pearl, 114 North Howe Street;
• Ricky Evans Gallery, 211 North Howe Street; and
• Southport Trading Company, 105 East Moore Street.
Schedule of events
The history of Southport’s Fourth of July Festival celebration was first recorded in a newspaper in 1795. Through the dedicated efforts of many civic groups, citizens and volunteers, the festival has evolved to encompass a wide variety of American celebration traditions.
This year’s entire virtual celebration can be viewed online at www.nc4thofjuly.com or at www.facebook.com/nc4thofjulyfestival. The 2020 schedule has three days of activity, including the online showing on July 2 of submissions in the Window and Home Dressing Challenge. The deadline to submit a photo entry is June 26.
Thursday, July 2
• Flags flying high – Southport Fire Department will post colors through Saturday.
• 8 a.m. – Happy 4th: a message from festival co-chairs Randy Jones and Trisha Howarth.
• 10 a.m. – Patriotism on display: see Southport stores and homes all dressed up in their stars and stripes.
Friday, July 3
• Suffrage Facebook Challenge – celebrate 100 years of women’s right to vote by changing your Facebook profile photo to a yellow flower on this day.
• 10 a.m. – Test your knowledge: join Judge Jason Disbrow on Facebook Live to see if you can answer naturalization questions and to recite the oath of citizenship.
• 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. – Becoming an American: hear the stories of some of Southport’s naturalized citizens.
Saturday, July 4
• Flags flying high – Southport Fire Department and Southport Lions Club post the colors.
• 6:06 a.m. – Flag raising–ceremony with singing of the National Anthem.
• 8 a.m. – Flag folding tutorial – Boy Scout Troop #238 will show how it’s done.
• Community pledge – 11 a.m., bell rings; 11:03 a.m., recite Pledge of Allegiance from your porch; 11:05 a.m., sirens and horns.
• 12 p.m. – Special reading: a patriotic reading of the Declaration of Independence.
• 2 p.m. – City of Southport message: hear from Southport Mayor Hatem and the Southport aldermen.
• 4 p.m. – Parades of the past: photos of past parades and stories by the N.C. Fourth of July Festival and Southport Historical Society.
• 6 p.m. – Celebrate 100 years of women’s right to vote: Southport Historical Society presents a video tribute to the 19th Amendment.
• 8 p.m. – Fireworks of the past: listen to stories from locals as they reminisce on past fireworks displays, including the year they went Boom!
• 9 p.m. – Fireworks display (TBD): join the Facebook watch party.