D.C. residents plan to avoid Fourth of July crowds

WASHINGTON–As the Fourth of July approaches, individuals living on American University’s campus are planning to avoid the notoriously crowded festivities happening on the National Mall.

AU students, staff, and youth attending one of the various summer programs on campus cited traffic caused by a crowd of more than 700,000 as a major reason to skip the celebrations.

Ashtyn Quinones, 14, is participating in the National Student Leadership Conference, a program at AU this summer, and said that they won’t be taking part in any large event.

“We’re going to be here,” Quinones said. “They want to avoid traffic.”

Kristen Korfitzen, a New York native and employee of the University Library, won’t be staying in D.C. for the Fourth, but still hopes to see the fireworks over the National Mall.

“I’ll probably meet some friends on the Virginia side of the river to watch them,” Korfitzen said.

Although she plans to participate in Independence Day festivities, Korfitzen’s favorite aspect of the holiday doesn’t include celebrating.

“I usually get the day off from work, so I get to sleep late,” Korfitzen said.

Lee France, an incoming AU junior, isn’t interested in attending one of the traditional celebrations around the city either. Instead, he’ll go to a party.

Although many, including France, are avoiding big events this Fourth of July, their favorite memories of the holiday often involve large-scale celebrations from years past.

“The cliché answer is fireworks, my neighborhood goes crazy,” France said, “There was a time fireworks flew into someone’s window, but no one was really that mad.”

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Ashtyn Quinones, 14, remembers attending a fireworks show in San Francisco. This year, she’ll be participating in events with the National Student Leadership Conference. Photo by Melanie Pincus

Quinones remembers seeing fireworks in San Francisco a couple of years ago, capturing the appeal of celebrating even considering the holiday crowds.

“We were in the most awful place to view,” Quinones said. “But it was still fun because I was with family and friends.”