For most Americans, any mention of “Independence Day” will spur on images of parades, barbecues, and fireworks galore. There are countless well-known traditions that honor our Founding Fathers on this national holiday, but here are seven often overlooked July 4th facts that will give you and your kids a unique historical perspective.
1. Only John Hancock and Charles Thompson actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
John Hancock was one of the first signers of the Declaration of Independence because he was the president of the Continental Congress. Hancock is often quoted as saying, “There, I guess King George will be able to read that without his spectacles!”after leaving his signature, although that was likely a legend that developed later. Most other members of the Continental Congress signed the document on August 2, 1776.
China was also the source of 96 percent of all U.S. imported fireworks, which amounted to $296.2 million in 2016.
3. Macy’s hosts the holiday’s largest firework show in the entire country.
More than 50,000 illuminations are employed for the crowd of three million that the gather in New York City for the fourth of July celebration. Another eight million people tune in to watch the fireworks on television.
4. The U.S. population consumes approximately 150 million hot dogs each year on the Fourth of July.
According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, ten percent of all hot dog sales are conducted during the month of July, which has appropriately been deemed National Hot Dog Month.
5. Speaking of hot dogs, the record holder for Nathan’s Fourth of July Hotdog Eating Contest is Michelle Lesco and Joey Chestnut!!
Seventy Nathan’s hotdogs are equal to a whopping 19,600 calories and 61,250 mg of sodium. Contestants like Chesnut undergo rigorous training in order to consume such a large amount of food in a limited time.
6. The oldest Independence Day parade is held annually in Bristol, Rhode Island.
It began in 1785 and includes a wide variety of floats, music, marching bands, and festive decorations.
7. Every year on July 4th, the Liberty Bell is tapped 13 times in honor of the 13 original colonies.
May the Fourth be with you!
This article was originally published in 2017 and was revised and republished in 2022