HILLSBOROUGH, NJ - The township will celebrate America's Independence Day a few days early with a fireworks display at dusk on Saturday, July 1 at Auten Road Intermediate School field, with more fireworks displays in surrounding towns scheduled over the next week.
New Brunswick and Highland Park will host a fireworks display over the Raritan River on Sunday, July 2 at Boyd Park along Route 18, with the Somerset County Park Commission hosting its annual fireworks event at North Branch Park in Bridgewater at dusk on July 4.
Franklin Township will host a celebration July 3 capped off with a fireworks display from 6-10 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 475 DeMott Lane.
Piscataway will also celebrate beginning at 6 p.m. July 4 at Piscataway High School Stadium, 100 Behmer Road, Piscataway.
Closing out the week will be a patriotic fireworks display July 7 at TD Bank Ballpark, hosted by the Patriots and Operation Shoebox New Jersey at the conclusion of the 7:05 p.m. game against the Sugar Land Skeeters.
Fireworks have been the traditional means by which American communities celebrate Independence Day.
New Jersey was one of the 13 original American colonies that signed the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, leading to the American Revolution and the eventual defeat of the British in 1781.
Leading America's Continental Army against the British was Gen. George Washington, who spent the winters of 1777 and 1779 with his troops camped out in Somerset County; his headquarters were in Someville at the Wallace House. The troops were spread out along the Raritan River in what is now Manville and Bound Brook.
Hillsborough will light up the sky July 1 to conclude its observance of Independence Day, which begins at 5 p.m. with several attractions for the kids - free inflatable amusements from 5-8 p.m., a dunk pit basketball platform, castle fun center, family fund slide and the Pirate Island Obstacle course.
There will also be Pay to Play boardwalk games; a DJ will play music from 5-9 p.m.
Several "victims" will take turns as the target in a dunk tank.
Refreshments and food will be available under the Food Tent, with pizza, chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, kettle corn and more available for purchase.
Shuttle busses will be available, beginning at 5 pm, from the Hillsborough High School parking lot.
The rain date is Sunday July 2nd.
The Somerset County Park Commission expects to fire up its free aerial display by 9:30 p.m. North Branch Park gates will open at 6 p.m. to allow vehicles to enter the park and families to picnic on park grounds. Visitors should plan to arrive early. Milltown Road will be closed at approximately 9 p.m. Heavy car and foot traffic is expected.
The NJ 3rd Regiment Revolutionary War encampment will be on the grounds.
Food will be available for purchase, and park visitors should bring lawn chairs or blankets while they enjoy time in the park before the Independence Day fireworks begin. Picnic baskets are allowed but alcohol is prohibited.
Milltown Road will remain closed at the conclusion of the fireworks for 30 minutes to one hour while local neighborhood pedestrians walk from the park. Bridgewater Police will be on hand to assist park staff with traffic flow.