On July 4th, old-fashioned is chic. The big top comes to town in Maplewood, bikes do the rodeo thing on Flood’s Hill in South Orange and the Morgan Rifles Revolutionary War troops set up camp in Millburn.
Come nightfall, the rockets go off in Maplewood and Millburn. (South Orange was ahead of the recessionary curve; it cancelled fireworks a few years back.) For a bird’s eye view of both towns’ displays–and a glimpse of the Macy’s extravaganza–head up the mountain into the South Mountain Reservation. It’s great for sound-sensitive kids (and adults); the booms are muted.
We gave you the lowdown on Montclair-area July 4th weekend events here. For the town-by-town events in Maplewood, Millburn and South Orange, go to the jump.

Maplewood: The Circus Comes to Town
Compete while you eat (baking and ice-cream eating contests), show off your wheels (parade) and four-legged friends (pet show), make beautiful communal noise (Kids Percussion Forest) and art (Tumbing Cubes project) and of course, enter the Big Top for the Zerbini Family Circus.
Where: Ricalton Square, Memorial Park, the Library on Baker Street and Town Hall.
When: Sunday, July 4 starting at 8:00 a.m. Fireworks at about 9 p.m.
Cost: Tags for the whole day + fireworks are $10 at entrance gates (free for “babes in arms”) and in stores, libraries and town buildings before the 4th. Fireworks are free if you sit on the Town Hall lawn, but in the spirit of the day, consider a donation to the town coffers.
Details courtesy of our friends at Maplewood Online.
South Orange: Banjos, BBQ and Poolside Magic
The day starts on Flood’s Hill with a Bike Rodeo and the Village Parade. Prizes for the best-dressed thing on wheels (except cars): Most Creative, Most Patriotic and Zaniest. Head to the Duck Pond for the South Orange Seaport Society’s model boat display. At the pool entrance area, the grills will be smoking and the Hambone Kelly Banjo Band will entertain. The pool is open for the day, no badge necessary, to anyone with proof of residency. Puppeteers, clowns and magicians will entertain poolside.
Where: Floods Hill, Cameron Field and the Municipal Pool.
When: July 4th, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Cost: Free.
Millburn-Short Hills: Raise the Flag, Race Your Duck.
The morning starts with flag raising and the national anthem. Travel back in time at the Morgan Rifles Revolutionary War encampment and in a 3-legged race. Come back to the 21st century for mini-golf, bungee jumping and the Tigger bounce. Truck alert! Kids can sit in the rig of a real front loader with staffers from Public Works. Gates open for the fireworks at 7:00, with entertainment from the Krazy Kat DJ’s.
Where: Taylor Park all day. Fireworks at the high school football field.
When: July 4th, starting at 9 a.m., fireworks about 9 p.m.
Cost: $10 in advance at stores in town, $12 at the park for the day, including all games and rides, and fireworks. Or $5 for Fireworks Only tickets.
More info here.

One reply on “Old-Fashioned 4th: Rodeo, Rifles, Circus and Fireworks”

  1. Been to all 3 too many times! Maplewood is the best, IF IF IF you have children under 10.
    (Or if you are a big kid, at heart…..)
    Otherwise go to the evening concert & the really great fireworks. Wear walking shoes. Your car will be 1/8th of a mile away (if you are lucky).
    The fireworks in Maplewood have been voted the best display put on by a single town for many years running.

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