Each year, the City of Manassas celebrates the Fourth of July with one of the largest fireworks displays and Independence Day parties in Northern Virginia. Known as Celebrate America, this annual tradition includes live music, contests, carnival rides, specialty food vendors, hayrides, a rooftop party, and its signature firework display.
Whether you come for kids' games in the afternoon or just in time to catch the fireworks, there's plenty of patriotic entertainment around the Historic Manassas Train Depot, the Harris Pavilion, and the Manassas Museum on July Fourth.
About the Event
Celebrate America is a collaboration between the City of Manassas and Historic Manassas, Inc. The festival beckons local vendors, performers, artists, and nonprofit groups, all honoring the birth of the United States through a day of family-friendly activities and entertainment. With each participant being a co-sponsor of the event, Celebrate America is truly a community-centered affair.
One of the only paid activities is the annual rooftop party, which takes place on the top level of the parking garage attached to the Train Depot. This space is transformed into a high-end fete (think: games, good food, drinks, and the best view of the fireworks in town) that costs $75 for adults and $25 for kids under 14 years old. Be sure to arrive early if you plan to see the fireworks from the roof as the line can get rather long closer to the start of the show.
Celebrate America events typically kick off at 3 p.m. with children's rides and a bicycle rodeo, where kids are encouraged to decorate their bikes in patriotic colors. Other events, food vending, and live music start at 4 p.m.
In past years, the festivities have included hayrides, art shows, watermelon eating contests, apple pie bake-offs, and even talent competitions. Those who haven't claimed a spot on the top level of the parking garage typically take a seat on the lawn to enjoy the fireworks, which start around 9 p.m.
Getting to Historic Manassas
The city of Manassas is located near Prince William County, Virginia, about 30 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., and a short drive from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Events will primarily take place at the Manassas Train Depot, which doubles as a visitor center, and the Manassas Museum Lawn, located at 9431 West St.
From Washington, D.C., take I-95 South towards Richmond, then take Exit 152 North for Route 234 toward Manassas. Continue for 16 miles and turn right at the traffic signal onto Dumfries Road (Business 234), then continue 3 miles north, turn right at the traffic signal onto Prince William Street, and go four blocks to West Street.
The Manassas Museum parking lot as well as commuter Lot F at the corner of Main and Prince William Streets are reserved for handicapped parking. Plenty of free parking is available in the other commuter lots on Prince William Street, at Balwin Elementary School on Main Street, and at Metz Middle School on Wellington Road.
Other Summer Events in Manassas
If you're planning to be in the Manassas area for the summer, there are a few other events during the season that are worth checking out.
- Annual Manassas Heritage Railway Festival: This annual event celebrates the history and works behind the railroads in the region. It usually takes place in June and includes a full day of train rides, displays, specialty vendors, and live performances.
- Manassas Latino Festival: Also in June is the local Latino Festival, celebrating the culture and heritage of Central and South Americans who call Manassas home. Attendees will find ethnic food vendors, drinks, entertainment, and displays from local students.
- Steins, Wines, and Spirits Festival: In August, you can spend all day sampling the best craft beer, local wines, and distilled spirits in the region while listening to live musical performances from local artists.