Celebrating Summer and the Fourth of July – by Tony Thomas


Community pools are open, schools are closed, and the smell of hot dogs and hamburgers fills the air! We all know what this means: the dog days of summer are upon us. As we welcome sweltering 90-degree days with shorts, tank tops, and beach trips, many families will be looking to break up the monotony of the hot summer months.

If you are looking for activities to do with the family, or if you are looking for something for yourself, I encourage you to look at our MOSAIC and find a class that you have not tried yet. This summer offers the perfect opportunity to learn something new. The Manassas Park Community Center literally has something for everyone in your family, from the youngest to the oldest. If you cannot participate in a class, then I personally invite you to attend one of our special events.

One of our biggest events happens next week! It is the City of Manassas Park’s Annual Fourth of July Celebration and fireworks display. Each year, hundreds come to Signal Hill Park with friends and family to celebrate our great nation’s Independence Day.  Everyone has a great time socializing, enjoying a picnic, throwing a football or Frisbee, while anxiously awaiting the fireworks to light up the night sky!

Beginning at 5:30pm, there will be free shuttles from VRE and City Hall to Signal Hill Park so you can enjoy the festivities worry-free! Admission is always FREE, and this year, we will have a variety of food trucks with hot and cold treats for you to purchase to keep you full and cool as you await the fireworks celebration, which usually begin around 9:15pm, once the night sky is dark!

In order to maintain a safe atmosphere throughout the fireworks show, here are a few important reminders:

  • Signal Bay Waterpark closes at 4:30pm.
  • All vehicles must exit Signal Hill Park by 5:00pm.
  • No vehicles can enter Signal Hill Park unless they are first responders.
  • Limited and accessible parking will be at the grass lot across from Signal Hill Park for $5.00 per spot.  After that lot fills up, all cars must park at either VRE or City Hall and ride a free shuttle to and from the event.
  • All parking lots open at 5:30pm.
  • Prohibited items include glass containers, sharp instruments (knives), outside grills, pressure cookers, alcohol, outside fireworks (including sparklers), skateboards, and drones. Pets are strongly discouraged.
  • All bags will be searched prior to entry to Signal Hill Park.

We hope that you and your family will be able to join us for an awesome fireworks display that you will not want to miss. Check out pictures from our 2016 Fireworks show.

As a final safety note, if you plan to shoot fireworks in your neighborhood, please review these important tips from the National Council on Fireworks Safety:

  1. Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  2. Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
  3. A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
  4. Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
  5. Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  6. Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
  7. Do not hold a fireworks item in your hand.
  8. Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
  9. Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water before you discard it.

Tony Thomas is the Recreation Services Supervisor for the City of Manassas Park, Department of Parks and Recreation. He can be reached at 703-335-8872 or via email at  t.thomas@manassasparkva.gov.

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