American Village hosts more than 7,500 for Independence Day celebration

Published 9:08 am Friday, July 7, 2023

By EMILY SPARACINO | Special to the Reporter

MONTEVALLO – The American Village’s Independence Day celebration drew thousands of people to the grounds for patriotic activities and an unforgettable fireworks show on Tuesday, July 4.

Organizers estimate this year’s number of visitors surpassed last year’s total of 7,500.

“With this being my first American Village Independence Day celebration as CEO, I was absolutely thrilled with the success of the day,” said Col. Alan Miller, president and CEO of the American Village Citizenship Trust. “It was wonderful to see citizens from across the state and throughout the region come together to celebrate the founding of our nation and the principles of freedom and equality set forth in our Declaration of Independence. There really is no better place to celebrate Independence Day.”

In addition to vignettes by the Village’s staff of costumed historical interpreters, the day’s events included music and dance programs, a hands-on children’s activity area, a petting zoo, American artisans, a USO-style canteen for veterans and fireworks by Southern Sky.

“The fireworks show was the largest—and longest—in American Village history, including 250 shells that thrilled watchers for over 30 minutes,” Communications Officer Melanie Poole wrote in a press release. “It was accompanied by patriotic music from the Montevallo Community Band.”

Visitors also had an opportunity to visit the Hessian Encampment across Concord Bridge; tour the Randall Museum and sit behind the president’s desk in the Oval Office; tour the National Veterans Shrine and register a veteran in the Veterans Register of Honor; and tour the West Wing of Independence Hall and see the film “Choosing to Be an American People,” which tells the story of Paul Revere’s ride, the battles of Lexington and Concord, and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

“In just three short years, our nation will celebrate its 250th birthday,” wrote Tom Walker, founder and president emeritus of the American Village Citizenship Trust. “This event on July 4, 2026 will be a unique opportunity for all of us to rededicate ourselves and our families’ efforts towards learning more about our country and fostering a renewed sense of patriotism and pride.”

For the second year, the artisan area featured handmade arts and crafts, such as jewelry, soaps, pottery, woodcrafts, honey and much more.

More than a dozen food vendors kept visitors full and refreshed with a variety of food and drink options.

ABC 33/40 was the event sponsor, with sports anchor Jeff Speegle serving as emcee for the evening main stage program.

Those who attended the fireworks show raved about it on social media afterward.

“This year’s fireworks show was the best one yet,” commenter Jessica Tejada wrote. “It was amazing! Thank you to everyone who made it possible.”

The American Village has held its Independence Day celebrations since 2000.

“The mission of the American Village ‘to strengthen and renew the foundations of American liberty and self-government’ is one that speaks directly to my heart as a Marine Corps officer and an attorney,” Miller wrote. “I am incredibly excited to have this opportunity to continue the work Tom Walker started with the American Village nearly 30 years ago. My primary focus is to simply continue the amazing work that is already underway.”

For more information about the American Village, visit Americanvillage.org and follow American Village on Facebook and Instagram.