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Right here at home

EDITORIAL

From homemade rafts navigating Chuckatuck Creek to the shoulder-to-shoulder fun of a party at Constant’s Wharf, Suffolk knows how to celebrate the nation’s independence.

You could choose to battle the traffic and the headaches associated with a trip to watch the fireworks in Virginia Beach or Norfolk or Chesapeake on Monday, but you’re not likely to find anyplace that offers more bang for the buck than downtown Suffolk and Eclipse, which offer two different Fourth of July traditions for people in this city.

The fun starts at 9 a.m. at Ebenezer United Methodist Church in Eclipse, where a barbecue and bake sale kick off a day of events right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. The community’s parade, set for 10:30 a.m., is always a gala event featuring bicycles streaming red, white and blue ribbons, along with homemade floats and the occasional strolling magician or high school marching band.

But it might be the traditional raft race on Chuckatuck Creek that attracts the most excitement. Folks crowd the Eclipse docks and the shores of the creek to see whose homemade rafts will withstand the “rigors” of the race and whose will become a sodden mess, dumping occupants into the water.

Revelers both at Eclipse and at Constant’s Wharf can enjoy live entertainment in the evening. In Eclipse, the music starts at 6:30 p.m., with fireworks launching at 9.

The downtown celebration kicks off at 5:30 p.m., but you’ll want to find a place to park in one of the downtown lots early and catch a free shuttle. Shuttles will run from 5:15 to 8:20 p.m. and then resume after the fireworks from the following sites: First Baptist Church parking lot, 237 N. Main St.; City Hall parking lot, 440 Market St.; Mills Godwin Courthouse Building, 150 N. Main St.

Once they’re settled in at Constant’s Wharf, folks can enjoy food, merchandise, a children’s area and music by SlapNation. Not to mention the chance to celebrate with a couple thousand of your neighbors.

This Fourth of July, declare your independence from tolls and traffic. Enjoy this Fourth right here at home.