July 4th preparations take place on the National Mall

4:26 PM, Jul 3, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Tens of thousands of people will be heading to the National Mall for the fireworks display Thursday for our nation's birthday celebration.

Rehearsals are going on for the Capitol Fourth Concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

A star-studded affair is in store Thursday, but folks are getting quite the show Wednesday night during final rehearsal.

Singer Neil Diamond will debut his 'Freedom Song (They'll Never Take Us Down)' inspired by the Boston Bombings.  Here's what you need to know before you come down to the Mall.

Barry Manilow rehearsed on stage to the delight of fans.

Dancing with the Stars Tom Bergeron will host his second Capitol Fourth Concert.

"It's humid but I still get goose bumps. It's worth it," he said.

The lineup includes American Idol winners Candice Glover and Scotty Mccreery, Glee Star Darren Criss, America's Got Talent and 10-year-old soprano sensation Jackie Evancho, the National Symphony Orchestra, topped off with a spectacular fireworks display.

The concert starts at 8:00 p.m. but July Fourth festivities will be an all day event starting with a parade in the morning.

Folks need to pack extra patience trying to get to the National Mall.

Increased security was in place during rehearsals.  But expect it to tighten up even more on Thursday. Public entry onto the Mall starts at 10:00 a.m.

"People will have to go through one of 9 access points. Bags, backpacks and coolers will be screened," said Sgt. Paul Brooks, U.S. Park Police.

His best advice? Leave the car at home.

"It's going to be a long, hot day. There will be no parking. Take public transportation," said Sgt. Brooks.

You can get real time information from US Park Police by texting:

July4dc to 888777

You'll get information on street closures and any emergencies.

You cannot bring glass, alcohol, fireworks, weapons or grills.  Rules are similar to the past several years.

USPP say the heavy, heavy crowds start building after 4:00 p.m.

They also say to take a photo of your child that day on your cell phone in case your family gets separated.


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