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Independence Day


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#1 humandancer

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 05:28 AM

Hi everybody,

 

Inspired by yesterday, I realised that my MC will be in Nashville over 4th July and I haven't yet made any acknowledgement of the fact.

 

I'm English, so I wondered - what does the average American do to celebrate independence day (if you do at all?)

 

Specifically, my character is staying with a group of college-age girls. I've already written a scene of them going out downtown, so do you think if I maybe just added a red, white and blue theme that would work as a nod to the day?

 

I don't want to skip over it completely now I've realised because it can be part of her whole experience of being there - I just don't want to exaggerate it too much either. So, what do you think? What's over the top, and what's ok? Let me know.

 

Thank you in advance!



#2 Jeanne

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 08:12 AM

Well, I can't speak for Nashville specifically, but in the US, most people cook out on July 4th. If they're college kids, they might get invited to someone's house or go to a big party, such as a swim party, during the day. Lots of food and beer. There could also be a parade downtown.

 

Almost every town, big or small, celebrates the holiday with a display of fireworks at night. Some cities have huge fireworks shows in local parks with bands or orchestras playing "Stars and Stripes," or Tchaivosky's "1812 Overture." If they use the Tchaikovsky, they often time the launch of the fireworks with the simulated canons in the music.

 

It's really a pretty big holiday here.

 

Jeanne



#3 Eli Ashpence

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 09:40 AM

To add to what Jeanne said, there's also bottle rocket fights (shoot them at each other).  And there's the game of lighting M-80s and dropping them into a pool or pond so they'll blow underwater.  Snap dragons get tossed on roads, and everyone gets burned by sparklers. 

There's always firetrucks where ever they've planned a show (typically a park or downtown center).  This place is also usually the only place in town where the firework ban is lifted for a single day.  Around here, it's illegal to shot them off anywhere else.  If you shoot them off in a residential area, then the cops come around and will give a warning.  Therefore, you shoot off a loud one, then run/hide.

 

Cops have road blocks on every major back or side road to check for drunk driving and other stupidity.  

 

Truly, you can't really avoid the Fourth in the US.  Even if you're in the middle of the woods, you're going to see fireworks going off in the nearest town/city.  I was out at an inlaw's place for it yesterday, up in the hills, and we saw FIVE shows from the surrounding five towns. 

 

Seriously, Independence Day is as big as Christmas for us. 


"Until the last breath leaves my body, I'll keep walking."  --Allen Walker, "D. Gray-man"


#4 humandancer

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Posted 05 July 2014 - 05:01 PM

Hi,

 

Thank you so much for the responses. It sounds like I can make it a really exciting day for my character then, and now I can incorporate some of the celebrations you've told me about.

 

It all sounds like a lot of fun - over here we tend to pretty much ignore most of our holidays (at least where I live anyway).



#5 Thrash

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 09:56 AM

To add something specific about Nashville--Nashville was rated among the top metro firework displays the last 4-5 years in the country. It would be impossible to miss! Probably a big part of their plan would be trying to find a place to watch them from. Also, Nashville is definitely big on cooking out, and there are lots of places in Nashville that have big community cookouts. Picture a park with a bunch of families bringing their grills and cooking together.  It always ends up being part pot-luck, part competition as people try to out-do each other.  Burgers, ribs, bratwursts, BBQ chicken, etc.... (no one eats ethnic food on the 4th,  The Indian and Thai places by my house didn't even bother opening.)



#6 Thrash

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 09:58 AM

Also definitely ditto what Eli said about cops--if your girl group is downtown on the fourth they will definitely encounter big crowds and lots of sobriety check points and possibly will have to let cops search their purses to get on certain sections of street.



#7 RSMellette

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 02:30 PM

If you're anywhere in the South, you'll have discussions of BBQ.  That's not to be confused with cooking on the grill.  Someone will be slow-smoking a pig.  Yes, a whole pig.  They used to do it in the ground, and I have still seen that done, but mostly they use oil drums cut in half to make a smoker.

 

In Tennessee, it wouldn't be out of the question for a fist fight (or, possibly even a gun fight) to break out over what type of BBQ to use.  That would be a bit extreme, but stories in books are all about the extreme.

 

What would NOT be extreme, is have people talk about what happened 3 or 4 years back - which might have been a heated shouting match about NC BBQ vs. Tennessee BBQ vs. Kansas City BBQ - and "enhancing" the story to include guns, police, and a lifelong family feud.

 

Oh, and someone will have White Lightning in a mason jar.  It's clear as water, and the smell alone will knock your head back.  Proof rating can run from 200 Proof (pure alcohol) down to about 100.  Most store-bought whisky runs about 80 proof.


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#8 therichardhorton

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 06:59 PM

4th of July was always a large family ordeal for me, including fireworks, cookout, etc. As a teenager I do recall having Roman Candle fights in a field and abandoned rock quarry, but I think that was probably just around the time of the 4th, not the day itself.



#9 humandancer

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 05:39 AM

Hi,

 

Thank you to everyone for all the further information - it's really useful and I'll definitely be trying to incorporate what I can into the scene.



#10 Qwijebo

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 08:11 AM

Hot dogs!



#11 mwsinclair

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 09:56 AM

Can't speak to the south, but there's definitely a lot of eating, a fair amount of drinking, and as much a sense of community as possible, whether that means the town itself or the group of people celebrating together.



#12 Thrash

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Posted 10 July 2014 - 01:44 PM

Not all Tennesean's--especially the metro Tennesseans, like in Nashville--get into fist fights and drink white lightening.  (Though it's trendy these days for bars to make their own fruit moonshine for special weekends.  A "strawberry/blueberry white" would be a very strong drink indeed, but also delicious. 



#13 Eli Ashpence

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 11:28 AM

Not all Tennesean's--especially the metro Tennesseans, like in Nashville--get into fist fights and drink white lightening.  (Though it's trendy these days for bars to make their own fruit moonshine for special weekends.  A "strawberry/blueberry white" would be a very strong drink indeed, but also delicious. 

 

Down here in Arkansas/Oklahoma, we just drink beer and trade shots -- typically 'Southern Comfort' or Jack.  (I've become a lightweight since I had a kid...  No more Fifths for me. I'm down to Smirnoff, which isn't treated as beer at all.) 


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#14 mwsinclair

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 12:08 PM

Yeah, I live in wine-n-cheese-burbia, so we're not too equipped with white lightning or any other homemade hooch. Sounds interesting, though.

#15 RSMellette

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 07:57 PM

Not all Tennesean's--especially the metro Tennesseans, like in Nashville--get into fist fights and drink white lightening.  (Though it's trendy these days for bars to make their own fruit moonshine for special weekends.  A "strawberry/blueberry white" would be a very strong drink indeed, but also delicious. 

 

Very true... as a Southerner (NC), there's nothing worse that seeing a stereotype of Southerners in any entertainment.  ... but ... I would so buy a fist fight breaking out over BBQ styles. :)  Could be hilarious!


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#16 Alys Cohen

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 01:31 AM

I live in an area where everything is legal.  We can set off massive bottle rockets in residential areas.

 

It's a popular holiday.  Beer and explosives that make pretty colors in the sky.



#17 Eli Ashpence

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 09:05 AM

Oh, and if your characters pass through a residential/apartment area, there's always that one mother with a baby screaming out her front door because she *finally* got the baby to sleep right before someone decided to shoot off a bottle rocket or a whistling chaser or a whole train of Black Cats outside her window. 


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#18 onArete

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 03:31 PM

Also, there will be faint explosions all night long.

 

I'm serious.  All flippin' night.  You can't sleep- you might as well stay up and go to a party.

 

Also, everybody wears red, white, and blue.  If they're going downtown, it's pretty likely that they'll get caught in a parade- screaming children, squished and melted taffy on the road, and a bunch of police tape.  Plus cars parked literally everywhere.

 

Most cities do fireworks in a park, so there'll be a couple hundred people all spread out on blankets with coolers and glow sticks and the like.  The whole surrounding area will be out on their lawns too.  My family used to go to the high school football field to watch.

 

Also, in my city there's a college that does a big concert and fireworks show the night of the 4th that I've been to a few times.  Think cheesy dancers in cowboy hats and not enough clothing + fireworks + college kids + a semi-famous singer, and you get the picture.  

 

Along with the fireworks- you'll see about a gazillion 'Black Cat' tents in supermarket parking lots full of fireworks.  Even after the 4th.

 

And btw- if somebody's going to get shot, the 4th is the perfect night to do this because all explosions sound pretty much the same.






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