Your guide to 2023 Fourth of July fireworks and celebrations around the Historic Triangle

There will be a wide variety of ways to celebrate the July 4th holiday in the Historic Triangle for 2023.

This article features a local guide to the 4th of July holiday, which will abound with patriotic events and fireworks throughout the Historic Triangle and surrounding area this year.


Colonial Williamsburg will commemorate Independence Day with a fireworks display above the Governor’s Palace, sponsored by the City of Williamsburg. The fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 4. (Photo courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation)

Community Appreciation Day returns with family-friendly activities and a patriotic concert on July 3.

  • Williamsburg’s 3rd annual Community Appreciation Day will be held at the Lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg on Monday, July 3, 2023. The event is hosted by the City of Williamsburg, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and William & Mary. It is free and open to the public.
  • Activities begin at 5 p.m. and will feature family-friendly lawn games, including giant Connect-4, giant chess and checkers, corn hole, and ring toss. 
  • A community art project will once again be sponsored by the Williamsburg Public Art council. Silas Baker, the artist who created the Papilio Glaucus mural in Midtown Row, will paint a Williamsburg gardenscape ahead of the event. The public will be invited to create their own butterflies to add to the mural. Steve Prince, Director of Engagement at the Muscarelle Museum, will join WPAC members in assisting and interacting with participants.
  • Popular local ice-cream shop Sno-to-Go will serve free sno-balls and ice-cream throughout the event.
  • A performance by the U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band will conclude the day at 7:30 p.m.
  • Some background: Community Appreciation Day began in 2021 as a way to thank the community for their collective strength and resilience throughout the pandemic. It has now become an annual tradition, hosted by Williamsburg’s three pillar institutions.

Colonial Williamsburg will celebrate the 4th with free admission, fireworks and special programming.

Colonial Williamsburg will offer a series of patriotic programs on Tuesday, July 4, beginning at 9:30 a.m. with Thomas Jefferson reading the Declaration of Independence from the Capitol West balcony.

Additional programming will include: 

  • a Salute to the States with the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes & Drums and a musket volley in Market Square at 10:30 a.m 
  • a noon reading of the Declaration of Independence on the steps of the Colonial Courthouse; and Lights of Freedom,
  • a celebration of the words and music of the American Revolution, beginning on Palace Green at 8 p.m. Guests are invited to bring chairs, blankets and food to enjoy the concert.
  • A full list of the day’s programs can be found at
  • Free July 4 single-day tickets can be reserved on Colonial Williamsburg’s website. Tickets include admission to the Historic Area and art museums on Tuesday, July 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • A fireworks display above the Governor’s Palace, sponsored by the City of Williamsburg, begins at 9:30 p.m. The fireworks will last for about 20 minutes and can be viewed from Palace Green, Market Square and the eastern side of the Lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. 
  • Weather info: There will be no rain date for the July 4 fireworks. If there is inclement weather, communication about the status of the fireworks will be posted on the foundation’s social media channels. You can also opt-in for weather-related July 4 information via text message by texting CWEVENT to 226787.


Fireworks will sparkle over the York River on Tuesday, July 4. (Photo courtesy of York County)

A variety of patriotic programs and events will be held in Historic Yorktown on the 4th.

Yorktown’s 44th Independence Day Celebration kicks off on Tuesday, July 4. The family-friendly event features a variety of activities on Historic Main Street and along the waterfront at Riverwalk Landing.

Here’s the day’s full schedule:

  • The morning begins with the Yorktown Independence Day 8K/5K Run/Walk at 8 a.m. Race Day registration and packet distribution will begin at 7 a.m., and medals will be distributed at the finish line for the first 600 registered runners. The Run/Walk will begin and end at the lot next to York High School’s tennis courts. A virtual option is also available. Additional details can be found here.
  • A Patriotic Parade will follow at 9 a.m. at Water and Main Streets. The event is coordinated by the VFW 824, and festive music will be provided by DJ Ben Herrick.
  • Family activities, including outdoor games, begin at 1 Riverwalk Landing. A hot dog eating contest will be presented by Carrot Tree & Toby’s Dog House.
  • Festival music, featuring acoustical guitarist Phil Poteat, takes place at 2 p.m. at Riverwalk Landing Performance Stage, and the Patriotic Food Pavilion opens at 3 p.m. at Riverwalk Landing. 
  • Free evening event parking opens at 4 p.m. at Yorktown Battlefield on Cook and Ballard Street. Parking will close when it reaches capacity.
  • A Sounds of Liberty Bell Ringing Ceremony begins at 7 p.m. at Riverwalk Landing Performance Stage, followed by a performance by the Fifes and Drums of York Town and a reading of the Declaration of Independence.
  • A Super Jazz Band Concert featuring Conni Ironmonger caps off the evening’s entertainment at 8 p.m.
  • Finally, the night concludes with a fireworks display over the York River, which will  begin at 9:15 p.m. and last about 20 minutes.
  • Fireworks viewing areas: The best places to view the fireworks are along the Yorktown waterfront and at the Victory Monument on Main Street. Yorktown’s fireworks shoot high up into the sky – up to 800 feet – so they’re not difficult to see, so they’re not easy to miss.

Other important details

  • Beginning at 4 p.m., no one will be able to enter Historic Yorktown by car, with the exception of Yorktown Village residents, Historic Yorktown Village business owners or people with official passes. Visitors who wish to attend the evening activities must park on the Yorktown Battlefield at the corner of Cook Road and Ballard Street, which can be accessed by Cook Road or the Colonial Parkway. The Battlefield will remain open to the public until it reaches capacity.
  • The Yorktown Trolley, which is the only form of public transportation in Yorktown, will run from approximately 10 a.m. (following the parade) until 5 p.m. The trolley is free, air-conditioned and handicap accessible. It includes several convenient stops. For additional information about the trolley and its schedule, click here.
  • What to bring: Visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and coolers, but alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
  • Food options: There will be several Yorktown restaurants open for business. There will also be a variety of to-go options at the Patriotic Food Pavilion (open from 3 p.m. to 9:15 p.m). Food trucks and vendors will be set up at Riverwalk Landing, including local favorites like Coastal Thirst, Kona Ice, Smoke BBQ, Chef Joseph’s, Boyd’s Tasty Dogs, Little Piggy’s Wurst Nightmare, Pop’s Kettle Corn, Snack Attack and D.A.R.E. Pavilion proceeds will support the York-Poquoson Sheriff Office D.A.R.E. program.
  • For additional details, including parking and traffic information, see Visit Yorktown’s website.

The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will host a “Liberty Celebration” on July 4.

American Revolution Museum will host a slate of special activities on July 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can enjoy interpretive programs, artillery demonstrations and learn about the challenges that faced our nation’s founders, including those who signed the Declaration of Independence and those for whom the nation’s rights of freedom did not yet apply.

Admission is free for residents of York County, James City County and the City of Williamsburg. 

Museum experiences will include:

  • Showings of “Liberty Fever,” the museum’s award-winning introductory film, which will play throughout the day in the main theater.
  • An immersive gallery exhibit surrounded by signatures of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Patriotic programming with historical interpreters, including artillery firings, cloth-dyeing demonstrations and outdoor re-creations of a Continental Army encampment and Revolution-era farm.  
  • Special gallery tours at 11:15 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.
  • Educational programs about America’s road to independence at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
  • A performance by The Fifes and Drums of York Town at 11:30 a.m.  
  • Stories of 18th-century resident John Rollison and his 21st-century descendant during a first-person portrayal by actor James Cameron with descendant Helen Casey-Rutland at 12 p.m.  
  • Visitors will also have the opportunity to share their thoughts on liberty by adding them to the 17-foot, interactive “Liberty Tree.”
  • A full schedule of events can be found at

Admission to Colonial National Historical Park will be free on July 4.

  • The National Park Service will allow visitors to celebrate a fee-free Independence Day in historic Yorktown, where American and French troops defeated the British to win the last major battle of the Revolutionary War.
  • Entrance fees are normally requiredto visit Yorktown Battlefield, Jamestown Island and the recreational stops along the Colonial Parkway – but those fees will be waived on July 4. 
  • Superintendent Jerri Marr said in a statement that collecting fees are “incredibly important for maintaining the park and providing visitor services” but added that this year, NPS wants to “have a fee free day to recognize Independence Day with our community and partners.”
  • For more information about Colonial National Historical Park, visit

Newport News

This video features the 2022 fireworks show from Newport News’ 4th of July Stars in the Sky. (City of Newport News)
  • The Newport News Department of Parks & Recreation will commemorate Independence Day with “4th of July Stars in the Sky” on Tuesday, July 4, 2023, at Victory Landing Park (50 25th Street).
  • The festivities will begin at 7 p.m., and gates open at 6 p.m. Free light-up give-aways will be distributed while supplies last on the way into the festival area.
  • What to expect: The family-friendly event will feature live musical performances, children’s entertainers and strolling entertainers in red, white and blue. There will also be food vendors on site selling classic 4th of July fare, including hamburgers, hot dogs, ribs, ice cream, funnel cakes, snow cones and more. 
  • Music will be performed on the main stage from 7:30 to 9 p.m., and the night will conclude with fireworks by the international award-winning company Pyrotecnico.
  • Admission is free. Free parking is available at the Newport News City Hall parking lot and designated non-restricted public parking spaces in the Downtown area. No pets, alcohol, bicycles, skateboards or radios are permitted inside the event area.

July 4 Closures

  • City of Williamsburg offices will be closed on July 4, including all offices in the Municipal Building on Lafayette Street and Quarterpath Recreation Center. Waller Mill Park will remain open for its normal operating hours, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Garbage will be collected on its regular schedule on Monday and Tuesday. Recycling is not scheduled for collection.
  • James City County offices, facilities, services and libraries will be closed on July 4. Courts will be closed July 3-4. Parks, including park stores and guest services offices, will be open. The Tewning Road, Jolly Pond Road, Toano Convenience Centers and Garbage Transfer Station will be closed. Curbside recycling will be delayed by one day for all residents.
  • York County offices will be closed on Tuesday, July 4, including County government offices, courts, libraries, York-Poquoson Social Services, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Waste Management Center Offices, Drop Off Area & Transfer Station and the VPPSA Compost Facility. Garbage collections will not be affected by the holiday, but recycling will not be picked up on July 4 and will be delayed by one day for the remainder of the week. Recycling routes will be completed by Saturday.
  • Newport News will close all city offices, libraries and recreation centers on July 3 and 4. For more information and details about garbage, recycling and bulk waste collections, see the City of Newport News website

Free Lyft Rides

Drive Safe Hampton Roads will offer free Lyft rides for the 4th of July holiday in an effort to prevent drunk driving and keep the roads safe through its 757 Sober Ride program. The coverage area encompasses the Peninsula, including Williamsburg, and all cities in Hampton Roads Southside. Participants can receive up to $15 off a Lyft ride by using the promo code 4th of July. The promotion applies to the first 700 people who use the code and is valid Monday, July 3, 2023, through Wednesday, July 5, 2023, while supplies last. For details, click here

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