That’s something that nearly every American knows. But there are plenty of other fun facts you may not know about the holiday. Surprise friends and family at your barbecue this year with other fun or unusual facts about Independence Day. And if you’re not grilling out, check out a few places to celebrate July 4th in and around Tampa Bay.

Fun Facts About Independence Day

  1. John Adams believed July 2, 1776 would be the day we celebrated freedom, as he wrote to his wife on July 3. Why? Because that was the day that Congress actually voted for independence. They accepted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
  2. Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826.
  3. The first major celebration for Independence Day was on July 4, 1777 in Philadelphia. There was a parade, a 13-cannon salute, and fireworks.
  4. In 1778, George Washington ordered double rations of rum for his soldiers to acknowledge the holiday.
  5. Even though the Fourth of July has been celebrated since the beginning, it wasn’t declared an official holiday until 1870.
  6. Benjamin Franklin objected to the bald eagle as a national symbol. He considered the bird “lazy” and preferred the turkey instead.
  7. The Liberty Bell wasn’t part of the original Independence Day but is now a symbol of the celebration. It hasn't been rung since 1846 due to fears about further cracking. Instead, it’s tapped 13 times.
  8. The Declaration of Independence was only signed by two people on July 4, 1776 - John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most others signed on August 2.
  9. Only 200 printed copies were originally made of the Declaration of Independence. Today only 27 copies are known to be in existence.
  10. Calvin Coolidge, our 30th President, was born on July 4.
  11. July 4th is the biggest day for hotdogs of the year with more than 155 million consumed.
  12. The United States isn’t the only country to celebrate independence or freedom on July 4. Rwanda celebrates Liberation Day to the mark the end of genocide and the beginning of a new government in 1994. The Philippines honors it as Republic Day, the day the United States officially recognized it as an independent state in 1946.

Celebrate Independence Day Around Tampa Bay

Looking for somewhere to celebrate the Fourth of July in Tampa this year? Check out these events:

4th of July FunFest

Head over to Channelside and board the S.S. American Victory for an evening of family fun and fireworks. The FunFest runs from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Tickets available for purchase. Learn more.

Light Up Tampa Bay

This free Channelside Independence Day event runs from 6:00 p.m. until midnight. There are plenty of activities for the whole family, and fireworks begin at 8:45. Learn more.

Tampa Red, White, and Blue Festival 2017

Another Channelside 4th of July event, attend for free and no need for registration. But if you do decide to register, you’ll be entered to win a prize! Learn more.

Independence Day Celebration

Bring the family to the Florida Aquarium to delight in all the sea creatures and celebrate Independence Day. The aquarium will be open for extended hours on Tuesday, July 4. Learn more.

Whether you grill at home or head out to see the sights on Independence Day, Tampa is the place to be for all the excitement. 

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