Last week I was on a business trip visiting some of our great clients in Austin, TX. Our "tour guide" on the trip, Andy (also known as the President of Thin Pig Media), was spitting out tidbits of knowledge as we drove or walked from place to place. Local history to plant names and everything in-between. This is something I’ve really come to enjoy when I travel with Andy. These random pieces of knowledge seem to make the locations we visit so much more interesting. With the Fourth of July just a day away it got me thinking, how much do I really know about it? Ever since I can remember it has been my favorite holiday. I always picture it in my head like that scene from The Sandlot. Kids running around and families barbequing in the streets. Sparklers, bottle rockets and mortars lighting up the sky. Everyone laughing and enjoying the warm summer night. I figured that it’s time I learn a little more about it.
So, I did some research and have compiled these fun facts for you to enjoy. Hopefully you can use these to drop some knowledge bombs (see what I did there) on your friends this holiday.
- The Fourth of July does not celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence; it celebrates the adoption of the Declaration by the Second Continental Congress.
- Contrary to popular belief, only two Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The majority of signers penned their signatures on August 2, 1776.
- Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration on a “laptop,” which was a writing desk that could fit on your lap.
- Massachusetts is the first state to recognize the Fourth of July as an official holiday on July 3, 1781. It wasn’t until June 28, 1870 that Congress decided to start designating federal holidays, with the first four being New Year’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
- Our country now boasts over 326 million citizens, but on the first Fourth of July there were only 2.5 million.
- Fireworks were first invented by the Chinese over 2,000 years ago.
- They were originally built by stuffing hollow air pockets in bamboo stalks with potassium nitrate, charcoal, sulfur and a few other ingredients. Eventually paper tubes replaced the bamboo stalks and the modern firework was born.
- The first fireworks were used in warfare, but as the formulas and knowledge traveled to Europe, the celebratory use of fireworks became popular.
- Italians are credited for creating the brightly colored displays we now enjoy. They included trace amounts of metal and other types of additives to create the multi-colored sparks and bursts in fireworks.
- It’s all in the chemicals. Copper produces blue sparks, while a mix of salts and other substances make red. Barium yields a green glow, and sodium burns yellow.
FOOD & DRINKS
- An estimated 150 million hot dogs will be consumed on July 4th.
- Americans will spend around $7.1 billion on food and other cookout expenses, averaging out to about $73 per person participating in a barbecue, outdoor cookout or picnic.
- It’s estimated that Americans will spend around $1 billion on beer and more than $450 million on wine for their Fourth celebrations.
- Barbecued treats and booze have become synonymous with Fourth of July celebrations. However, according to legend on July 4, 1776, John Adams and his wife, Abigail, sat down for a celebratory meal of turtle soup.
- Nothing screams Independence Day like red, white, and blue, but that wasn’t always the case. Some accounts from the 1700’s indicate that green was used for decorations.
- The world’s largest fireworks display was not for July 4th. Church of Christ, Philippines set the record with their countdown to New Year celebration in 2016. They set off 810,904 fireworks in a display that lasted 1 hour, 1 minute and 21 seconds, in the pouring rain.
- July 4th is a rough day for Presidents. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe all died on July 4th.
- If you want to know how far you are from the explosions: as soon as you see a flash, count the seconds until the “boom”. Multiply the number of seconds by 0.2 to get the distance in miles.
- Sparklers, which are commonly used by children, burn at temperatures upward of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the United States is the Fourth of July parade in Bristol, Rhode Island. It began in 1785.
- There are around 15,000 Independence Day fireworks celebrations every year.
- If you are going to light off fireworks, wear cotton. The static electricity in synthetic clothing can unleash sparks that could detonate fireworks.
- Do you have any fun facts about the Fourth of July? We’d love to hear them.
These fun facts were gathered from the follow resources: