As America gears up for its 243rd birthday, Washington, D.C., is expecting a larger Independence Day show than usual, this year featuring controversial tanks and a speech from President Trump.
Trump will address crowds at his “Salute to America” event, which also features a lengthy fireworks display and aircraft flyovers. He's been touting the event since February as "one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C."
Democrats have questioned the costs of Trump's event.
The president will also have some competition for attention throughout the day, including a counterevent featuring a "Baby Trump" blimp, a Trump robot and Trump impersonator contest.
National Independence Day Parade:
Official events kick off at 11:45 a.m., with the parade marching down Constitution Avenue NW from 7th Street to 17th Street. The Department of Interior said the parade will feature marching bands, floats, giant balloons, drill teams and military units. It’s planned to run until 2 p.m.
"Trump is a Big Baby" festival:
Anti-war advocacy group Code Pink is hosting a “Trump is a Big Baby” festival between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. by the Washington Monument. The event will include an appearance by the Baby Trump blimp, recently seen at protests during the president’s state visit to the United Kingdom. The blimp will be joined by a Trump robot at the festival.
But Baby Trump won't greet Trump from the sky as it has in visits across the globe. Code Pink said the National Park Service denied a request to fly the balloon using helium two feet off the ground. Code Pink plans to protest the denial at a press conference noon Wednesday in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
In addition to the grounded blimp, Code Pink said their Fourth of July anti-Trump event will feature a Trump impersonator contest and an all-men’s swimsuit contest.
The group said the event will also include appearances by comedian Lee Camp, radio personality Kymone Freeman, the D.C. Labor Chorus and activist Luci Murphy.
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The veterans groups VoteVets and Rags of Honor plan to hand out T-shirts honoring Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who died in August and frequently sparred with Trump. The shirts will feature the USS John McCain, named for the late senator, his father and grandfather, which reportedly was moved out of sight during Trump’s visit to Japan last month.
"A Capitol Fourth" concert:
John Stamos will host a star-studded concert from 8 p.m to 9:30 p.m. featuring Carole King, Vanessa Williams, Colbie Caillat, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Sesame Street Muppets on the U.S. Capitol West Lawn.
King made it clear to her followers the concert she's participating in is not "T's political rally," sharing a cartoon announcing her appearance along with a distant Trump.
Trump’s "Salute to America":
Trump’s "Salute to America" event at the Lincoln Memorial starts at 6:30 p.m., and will feature military demonstrations, tanks and aircraft flyovers — and an address from Trump.
The Interior Department said the event will feature a flyover by the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the celebration will also mark the first official use of the new Marine One helicopter, purchased by the Defense Department, McClatchy reported Tuesday. The helicopter has previously flown the D.C. skies in test flights. The flyovers will require the Federal Aviation Administration to suspend flights in and out of Ronald Reagan National Airport for about an hour.
Trump's "Salute to America" will conclude with a 35-minute fireworks display, one of the longest fireworks shows D.C. has hosted. The fireworks planned for use in the extravagant display are valued at more than $1 million, radio station WTOP reports. Donations offset the costs, the Interior Department said.
Fireworks will be launched from West Potomac Park and behind the Lincoln Memorial, another change from tradition. The Interior Department said the show will be visible from throughout D.C. and Northern Virginia.