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 the signature firework display.
Whether you come for the kids' games when it starts at 3 p.m. or you arrive just in time to catch the fireworks at 9:15 p.m., there's plenty of fun to be had at this annual event, which takes place in the areas surrounding the Historic Downtown train depot, the Harris Pavilion, and the Manassas Museum.
About the Celebrate America Event
Each year, the City of Manassas and Historic Manassas, Inc. team up to produce and sponsor "Celebrate America," which brings vendors, performers, artists, and non-profit groups together to honor the birth of the United States through a day of activities and participation.
Since all participating vendors, artists, and groups are required to submit an application to be a part of the festivities, each participant of Celebrate America is a co-sponsor of the event, making this a truly community-based celebration of the United States.
While most of the events for the Celebrate America festival are free to attend, the rooftop party does charge a cover fee. 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.
Activities, Contests, and Fireworks
Festivities for the Celebrate America event take place around the historic downtown train station, the Harris Pavilion, and the Manassas Museum. Events 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 of red, white, and blue.
Other events, food vending, and live music start at 4 p.m.; visit Manassas' official "Celebrate America" website for a full schedule of events and activities as the information is typically released the week of the event. In past years, the festivities have included hayrides, art shows, watermelon eating contests, apple pie bake-offs, and even talent competitions.
During Celebrate America, the top deck of the parking garage will be converted into a high-end evening party with food, drinks, games, and the city's best view of the sky and show. When it's time for the fireworks to start around 9 p.m., you can either claim a spot on the lawn of the Manassas Museum or stay on the rooftop to enjoy the show.
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 and the Manassas Museum Lawn, located at 9431 West Street.
From Washington, D.C., take I-95 South towards Richmond, then take Exit 152 North for Route 234 towards Manassas. Continue for 16 miles and turn right at the traffic signal onto Dumfries Road (Business 234), then continue three miles north and 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 planning to head 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: On June 1, this annual celebration of the history and works behind the railroads in the region returns to Manassas for a full day of events featuring train rides, displays, specialty vendors, and live performances.
- Hispanic Culture Day: On June 7, this cultural event returns to Manassas to celebrate the cultural heritage of Central and South Americans who call the city home. Visitors will find ethnic food vendors, drinks, entertainment, and displays from local students.
- Steins, Wines, and Spirits Festival: On August 10, this festive event returns to downtown Manassas for a day full of sampling the best craft beer, local wines, and distilled spirits in the region while listening to live musical performances from local artists.