Happy 4th of July! In Episode 23 of the Wise Eats Podcast, we shared some history of the holiday with some fun facts about Independence Day.
1. We didn’t actually declare independence from Great Britain on the 4th of July. The official vote took place on July 2nd, 1776. The Declaration was published in papers two days later on July 4. And it took another 100 years before the day was deemed a federal holiday in 1870 (Hocking.edu).
2. The very first Independence Day celebration took place in Philadelphia on July 8, 1776 (ACEI Global).
3. Originally, Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as our national bird but was overruled by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who recommended the bald eagle (ACEI Global).
4. Three US presidents have died on July 4 — John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe. In a bizarre twist of fate, Adams and Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the country they helped found (Business Insider).
5. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there were only about 2.5 million people living in America in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed. That number has grown to an estimated 358 million as of July 1, 2019 (Census.gov).
6. Fireworks are an American tradition that date back to 1777 when John Adams, the original signer of the Declaration of Independence, wanted the day to be celebrated with celebrated with pomp, parade, shows, and “Illuminations.” According to the American Pyrotechnics Association, Americans spend more than $1 billion on fireworks each year. About 10% of firework displays are set off professionally (Hocking.edu).
7. During the holiday, there are an estimated 15,000 fireworks displays, at least there WERE before COVID. Although pricing varies, most small towns spend anywhere from $8000–$15,000 for a fireworks display, with larger cities going into the millions (Mental Floss).
8. If you’re planning to take part, make sure you’re careful! Fireworks were involved with an estimated 10,000 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2019 (CPSC.gov).
9. Now, ya can’t do 4th of July without talking about food and beer! According to the National Sausage and Hot Dog Council, Americans will enjoy 150 million hot dogs over the 4th of July holiday and 7 billion total during the summer season from Memorial Day to Labor Day (Hocking.edu). In 2019, the National Retail Federation predicted Americans would spend around $6.7 billion on food to celebrate the Fourth of July, averaging about $73 per person (Mental Floss).
10. And then there’s the booze. According to the Beer Institute, “more beer is sold on and around the Fourth of July holiday than during any other time throughout the year.” Generally, Americans will spend around $1 billion on beer for their Fourth celebrations, and more than $560 million on wine (Mental Floss). On the second anniversary of Independence Day in 1778, American troops were fighting the American Revolutionary War. During this time, George Washington ordered a double ration of rum for American soldiers to celebrate the holiday with. If you’re celebrating the holiday with a tasty beverage, you’re in good company! (Hocking.edu).