SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Independence Day, also known simply as "the Fourth." It's the major strictly American holiday that is generally seen as the high point of the summer season. It's also a day rich in tradition and habit.
On Thursday, sometimes known simply as "the Third," I invited friends on Facebook to post some of their own traditions and family customs for July 4.
One of the most obvious, and one of the one mentioned most often, is the celebration in the Rowan County of Faith.
The Faith Fourth of July is legendary in its own right, not just for the parade, but for the other events that go on all week. In the past Faith has welcomed governors, senators, and even President George H. W. Bush.
Courtney, Brentley and Allison, Tonya, Joyce, Crystal, Shelia, Laura, and Brian all mentioned going to Faith.
"I started going to the parade with my husband when we were dating. His grandparents lived in Faith and we would park at their house and walk up to Main St.," Shelia wrote. "After the parade, we would go back to their house for hamburgers, hotdogs and homemade lemonade. We would then go back to the park for some fun. We still go to the parade, but now we go to our daughter and son-in-law's. Our son-in-law has been in the parade for years. We enjoy going to support him and enjoy taking the grand kids now. Look for and listen for Virtual Sounds. Enjoy your fourth!"
"Grew up going to faith for the parade, lunch and some rides with my family," Laura wrote. "Then as I got older started to go to lake Norman with friends but now that we have started our own little family we have started going to Faith again."
Misty specifically said she avoided Faith on the Fourth in favor of a simple day of cooking, spending time with family and friends, and finishing it off with homemade ice cream.
Kelly's family takes in the fireworks at Signal Hill Mall in Statesville. Joyce mentioned the celebrations in Mount Pleasant and Harrisburg.
Brian, originally from Miami, fondly recalled his family Fourth tradition from his days in Florida.
"My FAVORITE started out with a trip to the beach (approx 20 minute drive). Then having a cookout in the special grill my dad built in the back yard, T-bone steaks for sure," Brian wrote. "Then finishing it all off by going to the fireworks at Milander stadium. Of course this was in Hialeah and Miami Beach and I haven't had the chance to do that in about 35 years. It was great though. Also, grateful Cuban families would celebrate the independence of our country in a great way."
Dare will be spending the day enjoy her husband and new baby daughter.
For Tiena, it will be a pretty full day, involving a lot of food.
"Fun day at High Rock Lake, same neighborhood Tim and I started our married life together 25 years ago," Tiena wrote. "Sometimes it's the only time of year we get to see some of our old friends, we pick up right where we left off. The grill is full with chicken, pork, deer, turkey and sometimes bear. Everyone always brings a covered dish. Usually have 100 or so people. You can't miss us...our friend's have the best fireworks on the lake!"
Tammy will be making "firecracker cookies" as part of her celebration.
Felicia enjoyed watching fireworks at the Macy's store, Karen and her family usually tackle a do-it-yourself project to celebrate the holiday, and Cynthia's celebration is likely to be spontaneous since she wrote that "I have absolutely have no traditions in my life."
Like many, Terry and Kristal's tradition involves being at the beach.
"Southport NC..home of the Fourth of July festival..three days long 31 years running...kinda like McAdenville only for the fourth of July...freedom run 5k...naturalization ceremony...flag retirement.. boat regatta...food vendors..art and crafts fair...parade..fireworks on the cape fear....wouldn't miss it," they wrote.
My traditions, at least for the last 25 years, has been to work on the Fourth, and for most of those years I've been in Faith. I usually shoot the parade, do interviews, then come back to my office in downtown Salisbury to put the story together for the news.
It's not as easy as it sounds when you consider I have to trim a two hour parade down to a two minute news story, but the challenge is kind of fun.
That brings to me another tradition that I see nearly every year; the long line of people buying hotdogs and hamburgers at Hap's Grill. That too is a tradition for a lot of folks.