Fourth of July 2020: Honoring our Shared Ideals

Colonial Williamsburg and the community celebrate the nation’s birthday and contemplate the rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (June 18, 2020) – This Fourth of July, Colonial Williamsburg invites guests to celebrate the nation’s birthday and the ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence as we contemplate our shared journey toward “a more perfect union.”

Special programming on July 4 will include a free 9:30 a.m. public reading of the Declaration of Independence from the Capitol’s west balcony. In the dramatic program “Created Equal,” Colonial Williamsburg actor interpreters will explore the perspectives of enslaved African Americans amid the 1776 debate over fundamental rights, and what the words and ideals enshrined in the Declaration mean today. “Created Equal” will take place at noon and 4p.m. at Charlton Stage for guests with Colonial Williamsburg admission.

“This year is unique, and so will be this Fourth of July,” said Colonial Williamsburg President and CEO Cliff Fleet. “We invite guests to join us in celebrating our nation’s founding and the shared ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. This Fourth offers an opportunity for contemplation as we work together — to emerge from a pandemic, and to ensure that all Americans enjoy the unalienable rights we demanded nearly 250 years ago.”

Due to social-distancing requirements and state gathering restrictions intended to limit health risks associated with COVID-19, Colonial Williamsburg and the city of Williamsburg are jointly canceling this year’s free community fireworks. Performances by Colonial Williamsburg’s Fifes & Drums are also canceled. After the state enters Phase 3 of its “Forward Virginia” reopening plan, Colonial Williamsburg and the city of Williamsburg are planning a community-wide grand reopening event.

“The spirit of America will endure these trying times,” Williamsburg City Manager Andrew Trivette said. “Even as we gradually recover from the coronavirus pandemic and struggle with equality across our country, what America stands for: life, liberty and the never-ending pursuit of happiness remains for each and every one of us. Despite a lack of fireworks, we hope residents and visitors will take the time to stroll down our most historic thoroughfare, Duke of Gloucester Street, consider Williamsburg’s role in that pursuit, and enjoy outdoor dining venues and the remarkable atmosphere only offered by Williamsburg on our nation’s Independence Day.”

Other programming will proceed on July 4. Bells will ring along Duke of Gloucester street and at community locations including the city’s historic First Baptist Church at 5 p.m., when residents and guests are invited to reflect on the historic events of the day and salute those who, throughout our nation’s history, have endeavored to meet the challenges of their times. As night falls, cressets will illuminate the streets and sidewalks of the Historic Area.

The day’s special programming is offered in addition to modified operations 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at selected Historic Area and interpretive sites, and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, which reopened June 14 during Phase 2 of the state’s “Forward Virginia” plan.

Colonial Williamsburg currently offers a site and program admission ticket priced at $19.99 for adults and $10.99 for youth to reflect the current level of programming. Tickets and the latest information about programming are available at

Dining highlights include Mr. Chowning’s Historically Delicious Pig Roast, from 2-5 p.m. in the Chowning’s Tavern Garden. Guests with a special ticket are invited to gather at picnic tables, dine and enjoy entertainment by Colonial Williamsburg’s Tavern Musicians. Special tickets for Mr. Chowning’s Historically Delicious Pig Roast are $45.00 and $22.00 for youth, available by calling 1-844-811-8229. Other Fourth of July dining options include the Social Terrace at the Williamsburg Inn, open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and the Sweet Tea & Barley Patio at the Lodge, open 3- 8 p.m., each with its own barbecue special. Sweet Tea & Barley curbside service continues on the
Fourth of July.

The Williamsburg Lodge is open and Colonial Williamsburg Hotels’ Summer Savings Package has been expanded to include two complimentary length-of-stay admission tickets. Booking and additional information is available at

In addition to the Art Museums, the following Colonial Williamsburg indoor and open-air sites continue to operate at reduced capacity and follow site-specific safety guidelines developed as part of the foundation’s COVID-19 business resumption plan, consistent with the state’s Phase 2 requirements:

• Governor’s Palace
• Capitol
• Courthouse
• Weaver trade shop
• Carpenter’s Yard
• Peyton Randolph Yard
• Colonial Garden
• Magazine Yard
• Armoury Yard
• Brickyard
• George Wythe Yard
• Custis Square

During Colonial Williamsburg’s Phase 2 reopening, most interpretive programming has been moved outdoors. For the safety of employees and the public, ticketed guests can expect limited interaction with interpretive staff. Site entry is limited by state-mandated capacity guidelines for social gatherings, and guests are encouraged to proceed quickly through interpretive sites to accommodate as many visitors as possible.

Face coverings are required while inside foundation-owned buildings and their use is encouraged outdoors as well. Guests are also asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines during their visit to Colonial Williamsburg sites, when walking along Duke of Gloucester Street and in other publicly accessible areas. Most doors, faucets and other high-traffic touchpoints are
now touchless, and there are significantly enhanced cleaning protocols throughout the foundation’s open locations.

Online ticket sales and digital redemption via mobile device are encouraged. lists additional “touchless” ticketing details as well as options for guests who prefer to use paper tickets. Active annual pass products, including Good Neighbor passes, are valid.

Additional information, including details on what guests can expect when they visit, is available at and by following Colonial Williamsburg on Facebook.

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