little town, BIG celebration
Updated: Jul 30, 2018
It’s coming! One week from now, our little town will be celebrating in a big way… for the 201st year in a row.
My kids have grown up with Lititz’s Fourth of July traditions.
First, there is the patriotic parade on the eve of Independence Day.
These two shots were taken at 2009's parade. Alexa and her sweet friend were looking forward to starting kindergarten. Next fall, they'll be headed to the high school!
The parade marches past the Lititz Moravian Church on East Main Street, its lawn decked out with approximately 4,000 flags placed by community volunteers.
No parade night is complete without a little patriotic dessert. We picked these berries fresh that morning at Shenk's Berry Farm.
The next day, it’s all about the park. Lititz has been holding a community-wide celebration of Independence Day in Lititz Springs Park every year since 1818.
The entrance to the park with the train station and Wilbur Chocolate Factory visible in the background.
Every year, volunteer organizers select a theme. In 2013, Little League players (including our son, Josh) were recruited to sell old-fashioned popcorn and drinks to park-goers.
The day features lots of toe-tapping music. In this 2014 photo, the Lititz Community Band took the stage.
A highlight of the evening is the lighting of over 5,000 candles in the stream which runs through the center of the park. This tradition began in 1843 with a “general illumination of the grounds” with 400 candles. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first candle illumination, a Queen of Candles pageant was added in 1942.
The candles are set up and ready to go!
One recent graduate of Warwick High School is selected as the Queen of Candles. In 2010, my cousin Amanda was on the court, escorted by her dad, Jay Hornberger.
The final tradition, which began in 1846, is a fireworks display. Lititz may be a small town, but these fireworks are second to none. My husband took this video of 2013’s fireworks finale.
Happy Fourth of July!
Want to read more about the history of Lititz’s Fourth of July traditions? Check out the links below.
“History: Fourth of July Celebration,” Lititz4thofJuly (https://www.lititz4thofjuly.com/ : accessed 26 June 2018).
R. Ronald Reedy, “A Lititz Tradition – Celebrating the Fourth of July,” Lititz 250 – A Historical Anthology (2006), 147-153; digital edition, Lititz Public Library (http://lititz.lancasterlibraries.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2016/04/lititz_250_historical_anthology_part_5.pdf : accessed 26 June 2018).
Cory Van Brookhoven, “From This Day Fourth,” The Lititz Record (Lititz, PA), 20 June 2018; accessed online (http://lititzrecord.com/news/from-this-day-fourth/ : 26 June 2018).
Cory Van Brookhoven, “History of the Fairyland of Candles,” three-part series, 2018, The Lititz Record (Lititz, PA); accessed online (http://lititzrecord.com/news/history-of-the-fairyland-of-candles/ and http://lititzrecord.com/news/history-of-the-fairyland-of-candles-part-2/ and http://lititzrecord.com/news/history-of-the-fairyland-of-candles-part-3/ : 26 June 2018).