The Independence Day Fireworks

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The Old Maltese
Independence Day Fireworks
24 Annual Events (and counting) . . .

a continent-length summertime trek, in odd-numbered years from the far Arctic north of Canada southward to the mountain heights of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 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:

On July 1 we'll send you the book of instructions and the giant Rand McNally Road Atlas, upon which the course wends its way southward the length of North America (in even-numbered years it's northward).

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Scroll to the bottom for our address for receiving registration information in the mail.

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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.
This summer it will be southbound U.S. 287, from Montana through Denver and Amarillo to the Gulf of Mexico. Then onward to Tegucigalpa.

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

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