Best Way to Celebrate the 4th of July in Washington, DC

A Capitol Fourth 2016, Jackie Evancho, Photo by Sarah Dandashy
A Capitol Fourth
A Capitol Fourth

Happy Birthday, America!

The 4th of July is always a fun celebration, and this year is a special treat! I was invited to check out A Capitol Fourth, the famous concert and fireworks show that takes place on the Capitol’s West Lawn. Yesterday, I sat in on rehearsals, and it is gearing up to be an incredible show!

This year’s show is hosted by Tom Bergeron and will feature music by Kenny Loggins, Gavin DeGraw, Jackie Evancho, Amber Riley, Cassadee Pope, Alisan Porter, Christopher Jackson, Sutton Foster, and the legendary… Smokey Robinson! This year marks the 75th anniversary of the USO where General Colin Powell will speak. And even famed Olympian Scott Hamilton, who will send off the USA Team competing in the Rio Summer Olympics!

A Capitol Fourth (5)
Alisan Porter, A Capitol Fourth, Photo by Sarah Dandashy

After getting an inside look, here are my tips on how to view the show:

  1. Although there are other areas to view the fireworks, attending A Capitol Fourth kicks off the celebration with a 90 minute concert. And it’s FREE! And with that line-up, ’nuff said.
  2. The show starts at 8 pm, but the lawn area opens at 3 pm. If you want prime seats, arrive by 4 pm. Otherwise, plan to arrive around 5:30/6 pm, and pack a picnic, blanket, and a poncho to stay dry and warm. Note: No alcohol is allowed to this family friendly event.
  3. Plan to walk, Uber, or take the metro, as it will be crowded! If you’re taking the Metro, take it to either Union Station or South Capitol station.
  4. Pay special attention when they play Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. Accompanied by live cannons, this has become an A Capitol Fourth tradition! Timing the cannons with the fireworks and music is no small feat. The National Symphony Orchestra, led by conductor Jack Everly, cues the United States Army Presidential Salute Battery to fire the cannons in rhythm with the score. Trust me, you’ve never heard anything like this before!
  5.  And of course, if you are not in the DC area, you can watch it LIVE on PBS at 8 pm ET/PT.

Check out a few more shots from behind the scenes of the rehearsal below:

Smokey Robinson, Photo by Harry Crosland
Smokey Robinson, Photo by Harry Crosland




Sutton Foster, Photo by Harry Crosland
Sutton Foster, Photo by Harry Crosland
A Capitol Fourth (3)
Scott Hamilton and his son Maxx
Sarah and Tom Bergeron
Host of A Capitol Fourth, Tom Bergeron
Sarah and Kenny Loggins
Kenny Loggins and his “official dancer,” ME!
Gavin DeGraw
Gavin DeGraw

Sarah shoes


Wishing you all a safe and Happy 4th of July… wherever you celebrate this year!

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