America’s Independence Day inspires far-flung tributes

Every Fourth of July, millions of people all across the United States celebrate America’s Independence Day with fireworks, parades and cookouts. There are celebrations in other countries, too — not surprisingly in many democratic countries, each with its own distinct traditions and all with respect for the freedoms enshrined in the U.S. system.

The scene above shows fireworks along the Detroit River, which serves as the international border between Canada and the United States. The pyrotechnics are part of the International Freedom Festival, hosted each July by Windsor, Canada, and Michigan’s largest city, Detroit, to commemorate Canada Day on July 1 and the Fourth of July all at once. The event draws nearly 3.5 million visitors annually for special events and one of the biggest fireworks displays in North America.

Here are other examples of far-flung places that pay tribute to U.S. heritage on the Fourth of July with American music, food and culture. Locals join with Americans (both visitors and expatriates) to celebrate the day.


Large crowd of people sitting on hillside (© Henning Bagger/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants attend the Rebildfest, marking America’s Independence Day, in Denmark’s Rebild National Park, Northern Jutland, July 4, 2012. (© Henning Bagger/AFP/Getty Images)

In northern Denmark, a small rural town named Rebild hosts a large Fourth of July celebration. How did the festival get its start? Many Rebild residents emigrated to the U.S. in the 19th century, and some returned years later, bringing back a custom of commemorating July Fourth.

Spread out over a long weekend, Rebildfest dates back well over 100 years and features fireworks, American music, American-style hot dogs and barbecued foods, plus Danish smørrebrød open-faced sandwiches and activities celebrating both American and Danish culture.


Aerial view of town along river (©
New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland, seen in this aerial view, is located on the River Barrow near the border with County Kilkenny. (©

The Irish seem to embrace the Fourth of July as much as Americans enjoy St. Patrick’s Day.

One of Ireland’s biggest Fourth of July celebrations is held in the town of New Ross, where President John F. Kennedy’s great-grandfather grew up. The town kicks off several days of festivities with a public reading of the U.S. Declaration of Independence and attendees can watch a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party, when in 1773, colonists threw tea belonging to the British into the Boston Harbor to protest “taxation without representation.”


Park with gardens and statues overlooking hills (© Hy Peskin/Getty Images)
Oslo’s Frogner Park is the site of an annual Fourth of July celebration that draws large crowds of both Norwegians and Americans. (© Hy Peskin/Getty Images)

The Norwegian capital of Oslo has held a Fourth of July celebration for more than 30 years, offering live music, parades, American food, baseball and softball games, and a fireworks display. Crowds gather in Frogner Park, where the American Coordinating Council of Norway organizes the activities popular with locals and American expats alike.

Elsewhere, the city of Lillestrøm marks the occasion with a parade of vintage American cars, live music and American food. And the country’s southern district of Lister puts on a four-day American Festival in late June each year.


View of Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge (©
The Sydney Opera House in Australia is seen July 4, 2010. (©

American expats, along with Aussies, gather in cities like Sydney to celebrate the Fourth of July each year. In fact, Sydney hosts the largest Fourth of July celebration in the Southern Hemisphere, concentrated in the Darling Harbour area. Huge crowds wear red, white and blue (the colors of both the U.S. and Australian flags).