Fourth of July Fireworks in Manassas, Virginia

Celebrate America: Independence Day Event in Northern Virginia

Fireworks in Virginia

John Sonderman/Flickr 

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 yearly 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 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.

Everyone is free to attend the Celebrate America festivities, but the rooftop party does charge a cover fee to attend. Be sure to arrive early if you plan to see the fireworks from the roof as the line can get rather long on closer to the start of the show.

Activities, Contests, and What to Expect

Festivities take place around the historic downtown train station, the Harris Pavilion, and the Manassas Museum and 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., but you'll have to 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.

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 head up to the rooftop party. 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.

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, you can take I-95 South towards Richmond, then take Exit 152 North for Route 234 towards Manassas. Continue for 16 miles and turn right at traffic signal onto Dumfries Road (Business 234), then continue 3 miles north and turn right at traffic signal onto Prince William Street and go 4 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 Local Spots to Visit

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.

Each part of Celebrate America you encounter on site is, in a way, a co-sponsor of the event as each must submit an application to be an attraction, food, or gourmet food vendor, non-profit organization, on-site sponsor, or independent consultant for the event.

Restaurants, bars, businesses, and breweries around town that have contributed to the event in the past include: Bad Wolf Brewing Company, Carmello's (Italian), City Tavern (American), CJ Finz Raw Bar & Grille (Seafood), Deli Depot (Deli), Heritage Brewing Co. (Brewery) , Katerina's Greek Cuisine (Greek), Makey's American Pub (American), Monza (Pizza), Okra's Louisianna Bistro (Cajun), Old Towne Sports Pub (American), The Bone (BBQ), The Philadelphia Tavern (American), Foster's Grille (American), Mariachis Tequileria & Restaurant (Mexican), Siam Classic Thai Restaurant (Thai), and Zandra's Taqueria (Mexican).