Arts & Entertainment

Middlesex County: Free Music, Fireworks and Fun in “A Revolutionary Celebration”

Lots to do in Middlesex County for Independence Day. Credits:

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ -  Want your 4th of July fun to last 7 days? Then bring your family and join in Middlesex County’s “Revolutionary Celebration” for 2018! Our Office of Arts and History has planned events for June 30 and July 1-7 that are fun, educational, and a great way to honor the spirit of Independence Day. Explore Highland Park, New Brunswick and Piscataway to find movies, music, museums and of course, fireworks!  All events in the series are free of charge and will take place rain or shine.

“This fun, free series allows our residents to enjoy all the traditions of Independence Day like fireworks, parades, and even ice cream,” said. Freeholder Kenneth Armwood, Chair of the Business Development and Education Committee. “It’s also a chance for families to form new traditions by learning about history and exploring the County.” 

“I hope these events will inspire everyone to learn more about the Raritan Valley’s role in American History,” said Middlesex County Freeholder Director Ronald G. Rios. “This year, we’re also honoring the centennial of WWI, and New Jersey’s role in this historic conflict. This series is a great way to remember our veterans and a fun way to celebrate the American spirit. We hope to see you there!”

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Saturday, June 30, 2018

  • July 4 Celebrations Reception

Come join us at the Zimmerli Art Museum for a Patriotic "Day of Movement," featuring musical, cultural and dance performances by renowned local artists including: Black Circle Symphony, American Repertory Ballet, Danielle Illario, Sagrada Familia and Syr. Tasty refreshments will be provided, courtesy of Elijah's Promise's Culinary School, themed around "1776."

New Brunswick,

Zimmerli Art Museum,71 Hamilton Street

For Info: 848-932-7237,

Parking: Metered on Nearby Streets

  • Eric Velasquez, Children’s Author and Illustrator

Award-winning children's author and illustrator, Eric Velasquez, will be discussing how his family background and music have contributed to his children's stories. (

New Brunswick, 2 to 3:30 p.m.

New Brunswick Free Public Library, 60 Livingston Ave.

For Info: 732-745-5108 • Parking: Street and City

  • When the Armies Come to Your House’ with Deborah Peterson, Historian

Deborah Peterson, culinary & cultural historian, presents a fascinating look at what it was like for many people during the Revolutionary War when soldiers, English and Continental, came and took your food, clothing, furnishings, farm equipment and other assorted goods.

Piscataway, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Metlar-Bodine House Museum, 1281 River Road

For Info and Parking: 732-463-8363

Sunday, July 1, 2018

  • A Star-Spangled Sing Along

Celebrate America's Birthday with a sing-along composed of songs from the 18thcentury to the present day, led by Piscataway Township School students and adult vocal and instrumental groups. Bring chairs or blankets.

Piscataway, 3 to 5 p.m.

Metlar-Bodine House Museum, 1281 River Road

For Info and Parking: 732-463-8363

Monday, July 2, 2018

  • Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks

Music by local bands, youth theater performance, children’s activities, and many food vendors, plus a huge fireworks display!

Highland Park, 5 to 10 p.m.

Rain date: July 3

Donaldson Park, South 2nd Avenue

For Info: 732-819-0052

Parking: Street and Handicap

  • Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks

Featuring live music, children’s activities and food vendors, live reading of the Declaration of Independence and a spectacular fireworks display.

New Brunswick,

Rain date:

Elmer B. Boyd Park, Route 18 North

For Info: 732-745-5125

Parking: Free at Rutgers Public Safety Deck on Neilson Street,

Middlesex County Boat Landing and Handicap at Boyd Park

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

  • Free Movie: “1776”

Decades before Hamilton, there was 1776, another Tony-winning Broadway musical about America's founding fathers. It's the fateful summer of 1776, and the nation is ready to declare independence... if only the Continental Congress can agree on how to do it! Celebrate the Fourth of July by taking a tuneful, toe-tapping romp through American history with Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and John Adams, as they use every trick in the book to close the deal on the Declaration of Independence.   

New Brunswick, 7 p.m.

State Theatre New Jersey, 15 Livingston Avenue

For Info: Guest Services 732-246-7469;  

Parking: Street and City

  • Free Movie: “Independence Day”

Bring your entire family, lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy a FREE screening of the epic and action-packed "Independence Day," directed and co-written by Roland Emmerich, starring Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox and many more! The film focuses on disparate groups of people who converge in the Nevada desert in the aftermath of a worldwide alien attack. Together, they launch a last-ditch counterattack on! ***Several eateries and establishments surrounding the YARD will offer select items around the theme "1776" to commemorate theCelebration series.

New Brunswick, 8 p.m.

The YARD @ College Avenue, 40 College Avenue

Parking: Street New Brunswick

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

  • FREE SHUTTLE SERVICE from 12 to 4p.m.

Park your car at East Jersey Old Town Village or the Cornelius Low House and take a shuttle to participating sites.

  • Declaration of Independence Reading

New Brunswick, 10 a.m.

Christ Church Cemetery, 5 Paterson Street

A re-enactment of the Declaration of Independence reading, lecture, music and refreshments.

For Info: 732-545-6262

Parking: Street and City

  • Piscataway Township’s History Museum

Guided Tours on the quarter hour

The museum uses its large collection of artifacts with Central New Jersey provenance to illustrate the theme From Indian Trail to Interstate, concentrating on how transportation affected the area's society and economics. The Dutch Door Gift Shop will be open!

Metlar-Bodine House Museum, 1281 River Road

For Info: 732-463-8363,

Parking: From River Road, take Hillcrest to Logan Lane at the top of hill, make a left and proceed to lot.

  • Lake Nelson Parade

Taking place at the intersection of Nelson Avenue and Lakeside Drive South, the parade features brightly decorated bicycles, scooters, strollers, dogs and people along with the Piscataway police and fire department vehicles. Town officials also join in the fun. The parade goes around Lake Nelson and ends at Byrne Park, where there are balloon toss games, hula hoop competitions, turtle races, Sno-Cones, bake sale and other fun events.  Following the parade, there is the Lake Nelson boat race open to anything that floats. The race is atwith lake access at the Sylvan Ave public access area.

Byrne Park/Sylvan Avenue Public Access Area

Parking: Street

  • 4th of July Celebration at East Jersey Old Town

Piscataway, 12 to 4 p.m.

Meet George Washington as he tours the Village and listen to him speak at 1 and 3 p.m.

Enjoy fife and drum music, see Revolutionary War soldiers live, historic gardening and

agriculture, a 19th-century print shop, blacksmithing, home and hearth demonstrations, stone  carving, and 18th-century music.

East Jersey Old Town Village, 1050 River Road

For Info: 732-745-3030 or Text CULTURE to 56512

Parking: Johnson Park

  • Over There, Over Here: New Jersey During World War I Exhibit

The Cornelius Low House, 1225 River Road

Join us in commemorating the 100th anniversary of America's involvement in World War I. Explore the story, from the battlefield to the home front, in this milestone exhibit showcasing an array of artifacts and see a portrayal of WWI Doughboys.

Piscataway, 12 to 4 p.m.

Also open July 2 & 3 (1 to 4 p.m.)

For Info: 732-745-3030 or Text CULTURE to 56512

Parking: Follow signs for Sutphen Road Lot, Busch Campus

  • Washington’s Feu de Joie (Fire of Joy) Salute to the American Army

New Brunswick,

A re-enactment of the July, 4 1778 military declaration of American Independence on the actual ground where it occurred on the banks of the Raritan River. A single cannon will represent the American artillery and Revolutionary War foot soldiers will represent the original musket line of over 11,000 patriots that stretched 2 miles along the New Brunswick riverfront.

Elmer B. Boyd Park, Route 18 North

For Info: 732-745-3030

Parking: Boyd Park and the Middlesex County

Boat Landing (North Side of the Park)

  • Annual 4th of July Fireworks

Piscataway, 6 p.m.

Piscataway High School Stadium, 100 Behmer Road

Kiddie rides, food vendors and music. Fireworks begin at 9:30 p.m.

For Info: 732-562-2382;

Parking: School Lot


Thursday, July 5, 2018

  • Rocks Rock! A Geology Program

New Brunswick, 4 to 4:45 p.m.

New Brunswick Free Public Library, 60 Livingston Ave.

For children grades K-6. Fun (and educational) activities about rocks!

For Info: 732-745-5108

Parking: Street and City


Saturday, July 7, 2018

  • 18th Century Ice Cream Making

Metlar-Bodine House Museum, 1281 River Road

Demonstration by culinary historian Susan McLellan Plaisted. From harvesting ice to molding of ice cream, this demonstration involves the production of ice cream in a reproduction 18th-century sabotiere. Only documented 18th-century flavors are reproduced using original recipes. Hands-on activities for children will be part of the fun!

For Info: 732-463-8363,

Parking: From River Road take Hillcrest to Logan Lane at the top of hill, make a left and proceed  

to lot.

Explore our new GPS tour with information on sites and events by texting the word CULTURE to 56512.

This programing is sponsored by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, with the City of New Brunswick, the Borough of Highland Park, Piscataway Township, the Metlar Bodine House Museum, Christ Church in New Brunswick, New Brunswick Free Public Library and the Zimmerli Art Museum.

For more information on these and other cultural programs, visit the County website at or text “Culture” to 56512 or call (732) 745-3030. 

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