Southern California's presidential libraries are among those hosting Independence Day activities:
Celebrate the holiday at the Ronald Reagan Library's "Old-Fashioned Family Fourth of July," featuring live music by the 1st Marine Division Band, the Sweetest Dixieland Band and Rick Tucker's Country Band. There will be water balloon tosses, a pie-eating contest, storytelling and carnival games. Ronald Reagan Library, 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley, (800) 410-8354. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free to the museum and "Old-Fashioned Family Fourth of July."
While visiting the museum, don't miss the current exhibition "Tokens and Treasures: Gifts to Twelve Presidents," a collection of presidential gifts from libraries across the country. The display includes gifts from heads of state such as a lapis lazuli portrait of President Reagan given to him by the president of Pakistan, and pieces given by private citizens: a fishing rod given to George Bush, for example, and a pointedly political woodcarving of Nixon with his hand caught in a hunting trap labeled "Vietnam."
The British are coming--to Yorba Linda, that is. The Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace is marking the holiday with a Revolutionary War Living History Encampment, featuring American and British troops re-creating the famous battle of Lexington and Concord. The festivities also include townspeople dressed in 18th century clothing demonstrating traditional cooking, woodworking, wool spinning and dancing. Visitors can view the library's rare 1830 copy of the original Declaration of Independence. The fun begins (both Friday and Saturday at 10 a.m.) with a Betsy Ross Flag Raising Ceremony at the library's entrance with a military salute, muskets and a drummer. The Declaration of Independence will be read at 10:40 a.m. both days. Battle reenactments are at noon and 3:30 p.m. both days. Dance demonstrations, 12:45 and 4 p.m.; costume and dress demonstrations at 2 p.m. Museum-goers can visit the Pig's Eye Tavern all day for light refreshments. Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace, 18001 Yorba Linda Blvd., Yorba Linda, (714) 993-5075. Admission for adults and children over 12, $5.95; children 8-11, $2; active military, $4.95; seniors, $3.95; and children under 7, free. Parking free.