Your guide to firework displays that are accessible for mobility devices
All around the country people are raising their American flags, making their cookout shopping lists and scoping out the perfect place to “ooh and aah” at the fireworks. It’s almost the Fourth of July!
Independence Day is a time when we relish in our freedom and what it means to be American. This year is a long weekend for the Fourth of July, so summer activities, fun with family and some relaxation are in order. You can cap off all that by celebrating with fireworks.
For those with medical concerns, the concept of freedom and independence are more personal. We know how hard they work to reimagine the freedom found in mobility, which is why we are so grateful to offer solutions like our power wheelchairs and mobility scooters. It’s exhilarating to see someone claim their independence, using features like elevation and a tight turning radius to navigate life. Mobility devices can also open up the world to new experiences.
The renewed sense of freedom a person gets in a mobility scooter or power wheelchair creates a new idea of Independence Day. What better way to mark Independence Day than with fireworks from your mobility device?
Aside from Old Glory, nothing says Fourth of July like fireworks. From driveway sparklers to elaborate patriotic displays, fireworks are woven into the holiday. This has been the case since 1777 — a year after the Declaration of Independence was adopted. The skies above Boston and Philadelphia were illuminated with red, white and blue fireworks and cannon fire as part of our nation’s first organized Fourth of July events.
Fireworks took on a more prominent role as time went on, according to History.com. By 1812, fireworks were much more common, and the use of celebratory gunfire and cannon blasts waned.
Now, firework displays are ubiquitous. Local schools, organizations and municipalities celebrate hometown Americana with annual firework shows. There are still displays in big cities like the ones who started it all, but today’s fireworks shows in Boston and Philadelphia are much grander — in spectacle and price tag — than their predecessors.
Below, we’ll highlight some displays to check out.
Colonel Thomas Crafts’ fireworks and shell display over Boston Common has been replaced by the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. This three-day event culminates with a Boston Pops performance at the famous Hatch Shell and fireworks over the Charles River. If you want a seat on the Charles River Esplanade, you’re in for a long day. Gates open at 9 a.m. and the spots fill quickly.
There are viewing locations set up on the Cambridge side of the Charles as well as designated areas in Boston like the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
There is accessible parking at Massachusetts Eye and Ear’s Storrow Drive parking lot. Parking for people with disabilities is allowed on Cambridge Parkway, which is otherwise closed.
Back at the first Independence Day celebration, Philadelphia hosted a lavish event that included dinner, music and a military demonstration. The fireworks display began and ended with 13 rockets, one for each colony.
Today, the City of Brotherly Love goes even bigger with the Wawa Welcome America Festival. The festival starts on June 19 and parties its way through the Fourth of July. The big day ends with an epic fireworks show over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, near the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Benjamin Franklin Parkway is closed to traffic for the festivities. This affords mobility scooter or power wheelchair riders more space to navigate. There are plenty of spots along the parkway to view the show. There are other options around the city, if being in the middle of the action is too much. The Schuylkill Banks has open grassy areas that overlook the Museum of Art. Plus, there are riverfront paths and bridges with stunning views.
While Washington D.C. didn’t exist during the first anniversary of independence, it has emerged as a great city to celebrate Independence Day. The National Mall welcomes droves of people for a show that illuminates treasured sites like the Washington Monument.
Like all National Parks, the National Mall and the monuments on the property should be wheelchair-accessible.
Nearby at the west lawn of the Capitol is a stage for “A Capitol Fourth,” a more than 40-year-old tradition. The annual concert and fireworks are broadcast on PBS. If you’d rather watch from home you can toggle between views here to create a custom viewing experience.
What are your favorite Fourth of July fireworks? Tell us in the comments below.