The Independence Day Fireworks

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Independence Day Fireworks
24 Annual Events (and counting) . . .

a continent-length summertime trek, in even-numbered years from the mountain heights of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, to the far Arctic north of Canada, along the way challenging your logic, alertness, and common sense

a shorter version of the big St. Valentine's Day Massacre

from country to country, cover thousands of miles yet still be able to sip your orange juice on the porch, because it's all done on maps!

This is how the Independence Day Fireworks works:

As soon as we hear from you, between now and the end of July, we'll send you the book of instructions and the giant Rand McNally Road Atlas, upon which the course wends its way northward the length of North America (in odd-numbered years it's southward).

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Note: Entries for the most recent Independence Day Fireworks closed last summer, and for our St. Valentine's Day Massacre they closed on Valentine's Day.

Our next map rally, the 2021 Independence Day Fireworks, is coming up in July.

In the meantime, our Almaniac trivia contest is coming up in March.

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2020 Independence Day Fireworks: Google Street View

You will have noticed that occasionally during the rally we mention a link to a Google Street View photo taken along the course.

These photos don’t affect the Fireworks course or questions in any way and may safely be ignored if you aren’t interested.

But click on any of these if you are interested in seeing what's 'really' there [and you may click on the image and then look around or travel along the road as with any Google Street View photo].


in Leg 1: approaching Papantla in Veracruz

in Leg 2: approaching San Ygnacio in Texas

in Leg 4: Justiceburg in Texas

in Leg 5: approaching Oberlin in Kansas

in Leg 6: Johnstown in Nebraska

in Leg 7: approaching Moffit in North Dakota

in Leg 8: Woodlands in Manitoba

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By following the instructions, on your porch, the kitchen table, or wherever is cooler, spending an hour or so (or however long the orange juice lasts) at a time, you travel on a continuous half-regular-St.-Valentine's-Day-Massacre-length course, from page to page in the Atlas.

Each year we explore an odd-numbered U.S. highway, in alternating years north-to-south or south-to-north.

Last summer it was northbound U.S. 83, from the southern tip of Texas through Abilene, North Platte, and Pierre to North Dakota's border with Manitoba. Then onward to Qausuittuq.

In 2019 it was southbound U.S. 81, from northeastern North Dakota past Fargo, Wichita, and Oklahoma City to Fort Worth. Then onward to Tegucigalpa.

In 2018 it was northbound U.S. 231, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes, going from the Florida Gulf Coast through Dothan (in Alabama), Murfreesboro (in Tennessee), Bowling Green (in Kentucky), and Klondike (in Indiana). Then northward to Qausuittuq in Canada's farthest-north reaches.

In 2017 it was southbound U.S. 65, from the upper midwest down to Louisiana, through such marvelous metropoles as Minneapolis, Des Moines, and Tallulah. Then we continued southward to Central America.

Along the way, we ask you questions to see if you're on the correct course. Here are two instructions from the summer 2018 event, somewhere in southern Minnesota, and the question between them.

10. Go left on 10 in Blue Earth County.

Question: Do you go through Good Thunder?

11. Go east onto other road at county seat.

[The answer was No: we were traveling southbound on Minnesota 22 and Instruction 10 turned us left (to the east) at Beauford, away from the town of Good Thunder.]

And here are two instructions on last summer's event, and the question between them.

7. Go south, then go west.

Question: Do you see Harold Warp Pioneer Vil.?

8. Go east on Nebraska 4.

[The answer was Yes: Instruction 6 ended north at Fairfield, then we went through Harvard to Instruction 7 south near Trumbull, then west onto U.S. 6, then we saw Harold Warp Pioneer Vil. near Minden before reaching Nebraska 4 for Instruction 8.]

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You have until early August to send in your answers.

Following scoring, custom-designed awards go to the top competitors, and local champion certificates to the best of them from each state, province, and country.

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To receive a Fireworks brochure in the mail next June, in advance of the 2021 Independence Day Fireworks, just send The Old Maltese an e-mail request mentioning the Fireworks, with your street mailing address, or mail a note to us at:

Independence Day Fireworks
P.O. Box 53
La Cañada, California 91012