There's no better place to celebrate our nation's birth than on historic Duke of Gloucester Street. Enjoy a full day of patriotic festivities, including public readings of the Declaration of Independence, musical performances, hands-on activities for the kids, and a dazzling fireworks display to cap the evening.
Celebrate The Lights of Freedom, our breathtaking, heart pounding finale to Colonial Williamsburg’s Independence Day festivities from a VIP seat on Palace Green! Audience members will enjoy the evening’s pomp and ceremony, including Thomas Jefferson’s reading of the Declaration of Independence, a torch lit procession of the CW Fifes & Drums, patriotic sing-along and, of course, the thrilling fireworks display above the Governor’s Palace, from the best view in the historic area.
Gather with the citizens of Williamsburg on July 25, 1776 to hear a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Only a few weeks ago, Virginia's representatives adopted their own Declaration of Rights and a Constitution for the new state.Learn More
Residents of 18th-century Williamsburg read the Declaration of Independence from the steps of the Colonial Courthouse following the traditional firing of the Noon Gun accompanied by the Fife and Drum Corps. Listen as men and women from all walks of life share their personal perspectives on the meaning of this historic document.Learn More
The Declaration of Independence asserts that ‘all men are created equal’ and are endowed with certain unalienable rights - ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. When those words were written, over 52 percent of Williamsburg’s population was enslaved. Experience this museum theatre exploration of African American perspectives on the Declaration, the revolutions it inspired, and the ongoing struggle for equality and freedom in America.
Commemorate the anniversary of the birth of our nation with this special militia muster saluting the 13 original states. The Fifes and Drums play, flags of each state are displayed, and muskets and cannon celebrate the significance of this historic day. Come, cheer, and be part of this celebration.
Experience 18th-century fireworks set to colonial and patriotic Americana musical favorites. Each boom and burst of radiant colors is set to a patriotic musical score. Enjoy innovative effects from the first soaring volley of pyrotechnic salutes to the thrilling — and thunderous — grand finale.
On the morning of July 4th, prior to the reading of the Declaration of Independence, guests are invited to have a casual breakfast experience with Thomas Jefferson in the beautiful Shields Tavern. As guests arrive they will be greeted by our staff and escorted to their seats. During the breakfast, there will be a chance to mingle with Thomas Jefferson in a very casual relaxed setting. At 9 a.m. Mr. Jefferson will invite everyone to walk over to the Capitol and watch as he reads the Declaration of Independence. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 1-844-811-8229.
On Thursday, July 4th, 2019, fireworks will be ignited at 9:20 p.m. from behind the Governor’s Palace. They will last about 20 minutes.
The best location for viewing is on Palace Green. Guests may purchase Premium Fireworks Seating. The fireworks may also be seen from Market Square and the lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.
Colonial Williamsburg does not offer a rain date for the July 4th Fireworks. We do not have a set time in cancelling the program if the weather is a concern. Communication on the status of the fireworks will be posted through social media sites.
Yes. In addition to daily Historic Area programming, there will be a reading of the Declaration of Independence by young Thomas Jefferson at 9:30 a.m. from the Capitol building’s West Balcony and a noontime reading of the Declaration of Independence by members of the 18th century Williamsburg community on the steps and surrounding area of the Colonial Courthouse. Both events will feature a performance by Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums. At 10 a.m. on Market Square, A Salute to the States will feature a special muster in commemoration of the anniversary of the birth of our nation. Our signature Independence Day program, Lights of Freedom, is staged on Palace Green and begins at 9 p.m. This joyful celebration of pomp & ceremony includes a reading of the Declaration of Independence by young Thomas Jefferson from the Governor’s Palace balcony, a torch lit Patriotic Procession and Concert by the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums, and the premiere reading of Independence Day: An Invitation, a new work written by Henry Hart, Poet Laureate of the Commonwealth of Virginia, culminating in the grand fireworks display.
Yes. There will be an Americana-themed “Throwback” July 4th celebration on the lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg from Noon - 4 p.m.
Yes. The fireworks music will be streamed and simulcast on radio station WMBG 97.7 FM.
The best place to park is at the Visitor’s Center parking lot.
Regular Bus Service (Historic Bus Service – all stops) will be available every 30 minutes from 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. From 8:00 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., Limited Bus Service will be available between the Visitor Center and Governor’s Palace stop only. There will be no service between 8:45 p.m. and 11 p.m. Regular Bus Service will resume at 11:00 p.m.
There is an accessible walking path to the Visitors Center from the Palace bus stop. This path will be closed between 8:30 and 11 p.m.
In addition to the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area taverns and refreshment stands, there will be food available for purchase in the orchard next to McKenzie Apothecary on the west side of Palace Green. There will not be any food trucks in the area. All restaurants in Merchants Square will also be open.
Besides the regular restroom locations in the Historic Area, additional portable toilets are available within the vicinity of Palace Green. Please note that the restrooms within the Governor’s Palace Gardens and the structure at the corner of Scotland Street and Palace Green will not be available after 5 p.m. Public restrooms are also available in Merchants Square at the corner of Duke of Gloucester and N. Henry Streets, and in the Henry Street Shops.
Yes. The following items will not be permitted on Palace Green, Art Museum Lawns, or any other Colonial Williamsburg owned properties:
Yes. The John Greenhow Store will be open 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., the Market House will be open 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., the William Pitt Store will be open 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., and Tarpley, Thompson & Company will be open 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
To experience all that the Historic Area has to offer, including tours of original 18th-century buildings, personal interaction with townspeople, vibrant gardens, two museums, and so much more—you’ll need an admission ticket.Buy Online
Enjoy Colonial Williamsburg to the fullest with a stay at one of our six unique hotel properties. They are conveniently located within and surrounding the Historic Area, just minutes from all the action.Learn More