Please, read this: http://www.slate.com/id/2222022?nav=wp
Now, read this to get a sense of what the July Fourth 'celebration' here was really like: I suppose ours last night looked festive enough, with tents and lovely pictures of the US, flags, bunting, and party lights. Music was provided by iPods. Food: corn-on-the cob, mini hot-dogs, and mini chicken legs. No dessert except for an enormous cake that was left less than half eaten by the end of the evening. For the first time, yes, someone did sing the national anthems. However, I would advise returning to the recorded music again next year. It was definitely neither elaborate nor a hot ticket, though it was much more 'exclusive' this year due to budget cuts. The cuts also resulted in wine in twist-off bottles. I am sure the French loved that.
We are the bad Americans in our tiny community this year because we've chosen to eschew the 'un-official' celebration today. I don't enjoy 'forced fun' events, and today's would certainly be one. Over a hundred folks from a major religious organization in town to perform medical surgeries are there. They do amazing things, but I really don't feel like schmoozing with them all. Plus, the pool at the party location has been emptied for cleaning, and without it, I can't see sitting around under tents sweating it out just to say we did something on July Fourth.