'Independent' Alternatives to Fireworks

This Fourth of July Americans have even more reason to celebrate their freedom and unity.

Unfortunately, terror alerts have made holiday planning a bit more difficult. While the usual fireworks celebrations are still expected to draw big crowds, some Americans are choosing to celebrate more quietly.

"I find myself with a little bit more fear of terror attacks, but with much more love for the country," said Paulette Sconzo, who will be having a backyard barbecue at her Long Island, N.Y., home.

Lorraine Herrman will be vacationing at the New Jersey Shore with her husband and three children.

When asked if her plans had changed because of terror warnings she said, "I guess they did. We won't go on airplane rides with the children because we don't want to put their lives in jeopardy."

But there is no need to stop your celebrations this Independence Day. Fox News has found plenty of enjoyable alternative activities for you and your family that don't involve crowds or major landmarks.

Many local communities are offering family activities ranging from small fairs with carnival rides to apple pie eating contests. Some also offer children's arts and crafts as well as live entertainment. Check local papers for listings.

And try these activities:

1. Become a tourist in your own town: Taking a walking tour of local historical sites or simply a stroll down the main street will help you rediscover and appreciate your hometown.

2. Attend a little league baseball game: Playing or watching the all-American sport is a great way for both kids and adults to spend quality time together.

3. Bake American-themed treats: Use food coloring to make red, white and blue icing for cakes, cookies or cupcakes.

4. Build a family time capsule: Have everyone in the family choose a couple of personal or family mementos that signify something important in your lives today.

5. Visit a nearby fire house: Take a batch of your patriotic sweets down to firefighters who are on duty even on holidays.

Of course, the most traditional way to celebrate July 4th is with a good, old-fashioned barbecue. But you can make this one extra special.

During dessert, try sitting in a circle allowing each person a chance to explain what he or she loves about the United States. Have the children recite patriotic poems, and finish off the evening with a rendition of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and a moment of silence for the U.S. armed troops working to protect our freedoms.