It’s easy for the true meaning of any holiday to get lost in the hubbub of its associated celebrations, and Independence Day is no exception.
A reading of the Declaration of Independence, set for 10 a.m. on July 4 at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, aims to correct that tendency.
The document, which was adopted July 4, 1776, announced that the 13 American colonies regarded themselves as 13 newly independent sovereign states no longer under British rule.
“To use a Christmas cliché, it is the reason for the season,” said Matthew Edwards, museum director. “We recognize the power and influence of that document. For us it’s an opportunity to step back and reflect, to give praise and think about our founding fathers and the sacrifices they made.”
Costumed in Revolutionary War soldier’s uniform from the period, Mike Lowe will deliver the reading in the museum’s outdoor courtyard.
Edwards noted that museum programming increasingly includes costumed historical characters to reflect their growing popularity.
“It’s generally a pretty packed house event for us,” he said.
The free event provides the public a way to become reacquainted with the seemingly familiar document.
“A lot of folks learn to memorize the preamble and learn about the Declaration of Independence, but it’s a rare opportunity to hear it read out loud,” Edwards said.
In the era the declaration was issued, “that’s how people absorbed that news,” he said. “It’s a document that’s meant to be heard.”
Other local July 4 events include:
• A parade on Main Street, directly following the reading.
Call 336-786-4511, email [email protected] or go to www.mountairydowntown.org for a parade application.
• The fourth-annual pie-eating contest will be held after the parade, with a tentative start time of noon, in the Bark and Meow parking lot located at the corner of North Main Street and West Oak Street.
Registration costs $5 for children 12 and under, $10 for ages 13-17 and adults, with prizes awarded for the three age categories.
Proceeds will be contributed to the Shepherd’s House homeless shelter.
WXII television personality Lanie Pope will be the master of ceremonies for the event, which will also feature entertainment provided by a DJ and a raffle.
Bark and Meow, a pet boutique and hotel, will concurrently sponsor a fundraiser for Surry Animal Rescue.
Fireworks, parades and concerts
• A free concert and fireworks held at Veterans Memorial Park and sponsored by Surry Sunrise Rotary Club of Mount Airy and the Mount Airy Rotary Club.
The Soulshine Band will take the stage at 6 p.m., performing a wide variety of oldies, classic rock, blues, country and gospel music.
Fireworks will begin after dusk.
Attendees are encouraged to bring folding chairs and blankets for seating, and to check Facebook.com/SurrySunrise for any event updates or weather delays.
Donations for the Rotary clubs will be collected at the park entrance and at the entrance to Mount Airy High School.
“All of the funds collected go to the two local food banks and the Veterans In Distress,” said Jeff Boyles, who is the incoming president of Surry Sunrise.
The annual July 4 celebration, started in the late 1990s, was first sponsored by the city of Mount Airy and then other organizations, Boyles said.
“By 2003 there was no one willing to take it on so it looked like it was going to die,” Boyles said. “The two Rotary clubs have funded this celebration ever since. We are extremely proud of our role in keeping this tradition alive in Mount Airy.”
Boyles said the organizations hope this year to exceed their 2015 collection of $1,800.
• The Shoals Community Parade starting at 6 p.m. sponsored by the Shoals Ruritan Club. The parade will travel along Shoals Road from Fairview United Methodist Church to the Shoals Community Recreation Center, where there will be a variety of activities including a patriotic ceremony with a presentation of colors, hot dogs and drinks available for purchase and a 50/50 drawing.
Fireworks begin at dusk.
Everyone is welcome to participate in the parade, no fee and no registration are required. Line-up is at 5 p.m. at Fairview United Methodist Church.
All veterans are welcome to ride along on a Veteran’s float.
• Mountain Park Ruritan Club’s Traditional July 4th Celebration will begin with a 10 a.m. parade and conclude with fireworks after dark.
The parade will run from Charity Hill Baptist Church at 423 Union Hall Road, Thurmond, to Mountain Park Elementary School.
Participation in the parade is open to anyone. The lining up will start at 10 a.m. at the church.
The event will be held on the grounds of the elementary school and will feature activities throughout the day including games, crafts, food, bounce houses, pony rides, wrestling, a cornhole tournament, kids’ train rides.
Live music includes Saved by the Cross, Summit Trace, Luke Mears, Thirteenth Tribe, Mountain Park Old Time Band, and American Idol finalist Heather Coe Cox.
The featured band, Coco Loco Party Band, will perform at 6 p.m.
Canned food donations will be accepted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.