The Independence Day Fireworks

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Independence Day Fireworks
21 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:

At the start of July you'll receive 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).

We accept new entries continually until the end of July.

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Entries are open now. Competition packages will be mailed at the end of June.

Scroll to the bottom for entry information.

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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 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 we'll continue northward to Canada and onward 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.

In 2016 it was northbound U.S. 75, from Conroe to Canada, through such wonderful places as Dallas, Tulsa, Omaha, and Luverne -- and within shouting distance of Fargo. Entering Manitoba, we meandered up to Qausuittuq.

In 2015 it was southbound U.S. 51, from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan all the way down to southern Louisiana, through such magnificent places as Madison, Mt. Pleasant, Memphis, and Magnolia. Then Dominetta Vitali helped us find a way to reach the uplands of Honduras.

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Along the way, we ask you questions to see if you're on the correct course. Here are two instructions on this past summer's 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.]

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You have until August 6 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 sign up now for this summer's event, send a check (payable to 'Fireworks') for the entry fee to: Independence Day Fireworks, P.O. Box 53, La Cañada, Calif. 91012.

The entry fee is $48. If in Canadian dollars, it's $67. For the U.K.: £37. Other overseas: $58 U.S.

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

- - and we'll be glad to enclose in the competition package
a gift announcement for you
if you'd like to give an entry as a gift