There will be no mistaking the Fourth of July holiday for any old day in Darien, especially since festivities start before the official holiday, on Sunday, July 1.

Linda Schwartz, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans' Affairs, said there will be a Civil War reenactment at Spring Grove Cemetery at 11 a.m. that day. There will also be a recital of the Gettysburg Address by someone dressed as Abraham Lincoln, who gave the address in 1863.

At the heart of these patriotic displays, however, is a plaque, Schwartz said.

"We were able to get a very nice brass plaque of the Gettysburg Address that was being offered to the state veterans' cemetery," she said. "So we decided that since we have Civil War veterans buried in Darien, that would be appropriate."

Schwartz said she reached out to Connecticut veterans when she found out about the plaque.

"When we first had the opportunity to get this brass (plaque), I felt right away this would be an important thing to do," she said of the Fourth of July ceremony.

There will also be military honors and the unveiling of a special stone to honor Civil War hero Oscar Peck, she said. Afterward, there will be a brief reception at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 6933 building, 205 Noroton Ave.

Anybody who wants more to do July 1 does not need to look any further than the sky above Darien High School, where the Darien Firefighters' Foundation will shoot off a fireworks show after sunset.

Kesti Aysseh, the foundation's president and organizer of the event, said Palmer's Market, 264 Heights Road, has a special holiday offer that may attract people to go to the fireworks show as early as 6 p.m., when

the gate opens.

"You can go to Palmer's ... and you can place an order for a picnic basket," Aysseh said.

Palmer's Market also has an order form on its website. Meals are $14.50, and include a sandwich, salad, snacks, water and utensils.

"It's just fun and easy for everybody," she said.

At 7:45 p.m., as vendors sell food, treats and other merchandise, the Darien Fireworks Band will perform in the high school courtyard. Then, Aysseh said, two members from each of Darien's three volunteer fire departments will make up a color guard that lowers the flag at the high school.

"What I think is really great about that ceremony is, it's going to show our town that every firefighter in our town is a volunteer," she said.

Amy Kiser, marketing and communications consultant at YWCA Darien/Norwalk, had a similar sentiment regarding the Push-n-Pull parade scheduled for July 4 at 10:30 a.m. She said it is 100 percent volunteer-run.

"We're so appreciative that volunteers run this event," Kiser said, adding that volunteers will be wearing orange shirts as they march from Goodwives Shopping Center to Tilly Pond Park. Uncle Sam will lead the parade.

"It's for kids of all ages, and they march with their parents," Kiser said. "They decorate bicycles, wagons (and) anything with wheels that's not motorized."

At the end of the parade, Kiser said there will be food, activities and live music. In the past seven years since the parade began, she said, it has grown to involve more than 3,000 residents.

"We're just thrilled this tradition has continued in our town," she said.

tmichael@bcnnew.com; 203-972-4407; www.twitter.com/tmichael89

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