Its time to party, America. Or should I say 'Merica or 'Murica?? In the south, we love using names to denote our extreme patriotism. While these terms may be coupled with aspects of a redneck or Southern American stereotype, I use these terms in the most light hearted fashion, just to get your patriotism flowing on the eve of this Independence Day weekend!
For beach people like us (Fasse bldgs. is located in Wrightsville Beach, NC), the 4th is like Christmas in July! Warm weather, the beach, cookouts, fireworks, time with family and friends, watermelon, fun in the sun, sparklers, jello molds....I could go on forever. We hope everyone has a wonderful time, but just a few things to be mindful of this holiday weekend, in our area and beyond.
Celebrate your Freedom
Fourth of July or July Fourth, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain. This is the day Democracy was born! This weekend marks the celebration of the most important beginning in American history, according to Veterans of Foreign Wars website. "A beginning that consisted of freedoms, liberty and righteousness inspired by the revolutionary idea to stand up against tyranny … an idea that would forever change the lives of everyone in this great nation." Independence Day is a time to thank those who have served, continue to serve, and remember all Americans who paid the ultimate price to our nation and for our freedom. On Independence day, let's celebrate our freedom and the birth of America!
Pick up your trash people
We are so lucky to live in an amazing coastal town like Wrightsville Beach/Wilmington. Respect it. Respect the beaches and the fragile ocean ecosystem around you. This also goes for Masonboro Island, which is a popular party spot on the 4th. Last year, 70 volunteers passed out trash bags, and spoke to the island's visitors about the importance of keeping the area clean. Since 2009, hundreds of volunteers have removed and recycled tons of trash from Masonboro Island from the annual 4th of July celebration. If you are interested in volunteering with Masonboro.org to help pick up trash on the 4th, click here. They would love to have you! For more info on this awesome organization that works to preserve responsible use of Masonboro Island, check out their site here.
Stay Hydrated & Wear Sunscreen
Heat related illness, such as heat exhaustion or even a heat stroke can be prevented by staying hydrated and lathered with sunscreen. Find a cool place in the shade to hang out, try to avoid direct sunlight exposure, and wear light clothing. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER! Also avoid sugar and alcohol. Hydration should begin the night before and continue throughout the day. Most experts recommend one bottle of water to every 1 beer/alcoholic beverage. Choose a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher and don't forget to reapply at least every 90 minutes. Consistency is key! Don't leave home without a hat! A 2" brim or wider will give sensitive facial skin, earlobes and the scalp the extra protection they need.
Don't Drink & Drive
Just DON'T do it. There are no excuses and it is not worth it. Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach have various reputable cab companies and now with hundreds of Uber drivers in the area there is absolutely no excuse!
June 30th through July 5, law enforcement agencies across North Carolina will step up efforts to get drunk drivers off the roads as part of Booze it & Lose it: Operation Firecracker 2015. According to The North Carolina State Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Program, “Booze it and Lose It: Operation Firecracker 2014” netted 1,929 DWI arrests from June 27 to July 6. The campaign serves to remind drivers that they have options and drunk driving is not one of them.
If you don't have Uber yet, then follow this link for a free $25 fare for first time users in the Wilmington area.
Don't be Stupid on the Water
As I mentioned earlier Masonboro Island is a huge 4th of July party spot. According to Wilmington Star News, the festivities on Masonboro Island have gotten larger and larger over the years, prompting area agencies to hold a drill earlier this week to prepare for emergency response on the island. Be mindful of the strong currents around this island and surrounding waterways. Swimmers: steer clear of boat propellers, and pay attention to what is going on around you. Like my Dad always said about operating a boat, "when in doubt, kill the engine and put it in neutral" to avoid injuring anyone with your propeller. Don't drink and swim, and don't drink and operate a boat.
If you are going to drink, do so responsibly. "Usually, when EMS responds to someone who's unconscious on the beach, it's some sort of combination of too much alcohol, not enough water and too much sun," said Aaron Kasulis, battalion chief for New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) EMS. Have fun, but be responsible!
Be Careful with Fire
We all get excited about fireworks and sparklers on the 4th of July, but just keep in mind you are playing with fire. Literally. There is typically an increase in people coming into NHRMC's emergency department over the holiday weekend with injuries related to fireworks. "These injuries are typically burns as some fireworks, such as sparklers, burn at 1200 degrees," said Chip Munna, Southeastern Regional Advisory Committee Trauma Coordinator at NHRMC. Instead of making your own fire, you could opt. to attend Wilmington's annual 4th of July celebration held in Downtown Wilmington on Riverfront Park. This is complete with a professional fireworks show over the Cape Fear River. For details on this event, click here.