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Quirky July 4 Celebrations

[Updated June 2016]

Forget mediocre fireworks displays and blasé barbecues. In these three unusually patriotic cities, Fourth of July festivities provide non-stop entertainment. From ax-throwing competitions in an Oregon timber town to painting another red, white, and blue, here’s what’s happening over the holiday weekend.


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1. St. Pete Beach, FL: In this Tampa-area town, the local TradeWinds Resort dyes nearly 1,000 towels red, white, and blue to create a giant mosaic of the Betsy Ross flag on its beach. A small handful of the resort’s younger guests get in on the action, standing in place as the 13 stars on the original flag.

2. Estacada, OR: Lumber is big business in this tiny Oregon town, where the population caps out at about 3,000. Appropriately, its annual Timber Festival rings in July 4th with lawnmower races, log rolling contests, and (carefully monitored) ax-throwing competitions.

3. Bristol, RI: Located some 16 miles from Providence, this New England port town takes patriotism seriously. Residents kick off three weeks’ worth of Fourth of July celebrations on Flag Day, June 14. During this time, all traffic medians and sidewalks are painted red, white and blue, and festivities include a Little Miss Fourth of July pageant and two vintage-regulations baseball games (played by 1864 and 1871 rules).

What are some of the strangest Independence Day festivities you’ve seen?

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