How to celebrate the Fourth of July in England
This year, I’ll be celebrating Independence Day in England. Kind of funny, that.
It’s not my first Fourth of July in the United Kingdom but I do usually spend the holiday in the US. My summer trips back to the States seem to fall over early July out of convenience and coincidence, more than anything.
For those who have asked if we get the day off over here in England: no, no, we do not. Britain doesn’t celebrate the United States’ declaration of independence quite like we do. But Scott and I work for companies with strong ties to the US so the Fourth of July will be mentioned and I think we are both going to company barbecues in honor of “summer” (though everyone knows it’s actually for the Fourth of July).
There are lots of ways to celebrate the special American holiday in and around London. I could go to the Independence Day party at Benjamin Franklin House. I could party with the group, Democrats Abroad, at their 4th of July gathering at Portman Square. There’s an American beer festival happening somewhere in London. I heard that if you can prove you are a US citizen, you get a free whiskey sour when you go bowling tomorrow at All Star Lanes. And if a free drink doesn’t excite you, you can go over to Five Guys in Covent Garden to queue for a burger when they open their first UK restaurant tomorrow morning. (I’ve already got plans to do a taste test of Five Guys vs. Shake Shack next week.)
At this time of year, I do get nostalgic for block parties and flag cakes and fireworks and those Old Navy patriotic T-shirts. Even though, in reality, I’d be miserable at a block party in the Virginia humidity and the last time I saw the fireworks in DC we walked the long way around the Pentagon, carrying heavy coolers and lawn chairs and I swore I would never, ever do it again. I’m not sure I’ve ever worn an Old Navy Americana tee and when I made a flag cake a few years ago, the red and blue berries bled all over the beautiful white frosting. I thought these colors didn’t run!
So tomorrow, I’ll probably just play my Fourth of July playlist, featuring Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” and Springsteen’s “Born in the USA” and Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” and anything else with “USA” in the title. (Give me your recommendations. My coworkers will be so pleased!) I’ll eat cookies labeled “American-style” and I’ll think of you, over there, at your block parties, baseball games, and parades.
I’ll try not to cry. See you soon!