It’s America’s 239th birthday this weekend, and from coast to coast, the skies will light up with some of the most brilliant fireworks displays ever seen. And there are some cities that have taken the art of throwing a patriotic celebration to a whole new level.
Below are our Top 3 picks for where to find the best 4th of July celebrations across the country. Read the entire list here.
New York City, New York
If you enjoy the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you definitely want to check out Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show. Visible from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, all you need is a good view of the East River to see this spectacular display of pyrotechnics.
National Mall, Washington, D.C.
Feeling truly patriotic? Head straight to the nation’s capital for a fireworks display that lights up some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, like the Washington Monument and Capitol building. There is also a Capital Fourth concert with big names like Barry Manilow and the National Symphony Orchestra.
Stop by the windy city, as their fireworks show over Lake Michigan lights up the Chicago skyline. The city also hosts Freedom Fest, a party on top of Navy Pier that can be enjoyed by family members of all ages. If you want to keep the celebrations going, there will also be bi-weekly fireworks shows all summer.
In addition to these being the sites of some of the most spectacular fireworks displays around, all three listed are also locations that you can fly to directly from Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport so book your flight today!
Happy travels (and Happy Fourth of July!)
- The Terminal
On a calm night in Germany, Roger Milliken relaxed in the biergarten at the Frankfurt airport. It was this night that Milliken made a decision that would change Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) for the better.
Milliken decided to build an intimate garden in the heart of GSP.
He thought it was such a good idea, he insisted on it. Milliken wanted to garden, and the rest of the airport landscape, to become a place of beauty that people would enjoy visiting for years to come.
The original garden was 200 x 168 feet with a 60 x 25 foot reflecting pool in the center. It was surrounded by flowerbeds, English ivy, Japanese holly, azaleas, crepe myrtles, Chinese red berry holly and magnolia trees. With 5,000 total plantings, there was little room for anything else.
Unlike any other airport in the world, GSP has a formal garden between the terminal and runway, with its main view looking out on the runway, so visitors can watch planes as they take off.
The placement of the runway-facing garden surprised many people over the years, especially visiting airline and airport officials. However, Milliken believed it was one of the best features of the airport, and it was certainly the most unique and special.
By the end of 1988, the airport was undergoing extensive renovations—which included changes to the beloved garden. Although it was in the same place and the same size, the team had big plans in store for this iconic gathering place.
In the fall of 1989, the new garden was unveiled.
The new garden still had varieties of flowers, hedges, bushes and trees. The original reflection pool was expanded and a smaller pool was added. Each pool included various waterfalls and water features.
Best of all, there were finally places for people to sit, relax and enjoy the natural beauty around them. There was also one special, custom-designed sculpture that breathed new life into the space.
Commissioned by Dennis Smith, an artist from Colorado, the new sculpture displayed boys and girls dancing along the water. Smith hoped that this new piece would convey the vibrancy, freedom, passion and energy of youth.
Today, the garden is standing strong amidst the WINGSPAN renovations, and continues to pay tribute to Milliken’s vision and the idea that beauty can be found in the most unlikely of places. In fact, ticketed passengers will be able to enjoy bistro seating in the airside garden once WINGSPAN renovations are complete.
Stay tuned for our Flyer Fact Friday, and keep an eye out for more history highlights and construction updates.
- The Terminal
Have you ever wondered what the world looks like from outside the plane?
Now you can know for sure.
Otonomy Aviation has developed technology that allows passengers the opportunity to see real-time images of the world outside of the cabin.
According to this Bordeaux-based startup, their team has spent years developing a large HD camera that can be mounted outside of the plane and is capable of feeding data back to internal monitors for passengers to see.
This product has been on the market since 2012, but as of right now, it is only available on business jets. The hope is that in the next several years, passengers will be able to access this technology from their mobile devices.
Read more about Otonomy Aviation and its state-of-the-art technology here.
The construction crew continues to make strides on the development of our Grand Hall. They are continuing to successfully install the steel framework, and you can see the outline of this 3-story structure beginning to take shape. You can see a rendering of the Grand Hall in our earlier post about the North Wing.
The metal decking for each level is being installed in preparation for the elevated concrete slabs. Once the slabs are in place, the floor foundations will be ready for carpet and tile—which will be installed once the structure is fully protected from the elements.
Also, the last of the required footing for the Grand Hall is being poured, and the new components for the boiler system, electrical systems and mechanical systems are being installed.
It is very exciting to see this building come to life and we look forward to sharing more updates with you as it continues to develop.
Stay tuned for this week’s Flyer Fact Friday, and keep an eye out for more construction updates coming soon.
- The Terminal
For decades, traditional aircraft seats have always been between 17 and 21 inches wide. However, this one-size-fits-all mentality isn’t always realistic. For special needs passengers or those traveling with small children, these standard seat sizes can prove to be more trouble than necessary.
Recently, a German manufacturer sought to end this trend with a new design that caters to travelers who require more room. The SANTO Seat— which stands for Special Accommodation Needs for Toddlers and Overweight Passengers—won the Crystal Cabin Award for “Passenger Comfort Hardware,” and is designed to be beneficial for both airlines and passengers.
The seat is one and a half times the width of a normal seat and would be installed where the fuselage narrows—a normally wasted space at the rear of the aircraft. For passengers with special needs, this seat would be a safer and more comfortable alternative to the standard seat.
While the SANTA Seat may not be appearing on commercial flights anytime soon, experts agree that airlines will soon need to provide better accommodations for special needs passengers.
Read the full article about this new design and keep an eye out for more Flyer Fact Fridays and construction updates right here on the WINGSPAN blog.
Along with boy aviator, the fifty-foot fountain on our front lawn is one of the most iconic images associated with Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.
What you may not know is that this fountain stands in tribute to one of our cofounders, Charlie Daniel.
Charlie Daniel was born in 1895 in Elberton, Georgia but grew up in Anderson, South Carolina. After attending the Citadel for two years and serving in World War 1, Charlie returned to the Upstate and chartered Daniel Construction Company.
Daniel Construction was responsible for some of the Upstate’s biggest building projects at the time, such as the Donaldson Air Force Base, Bob Jones University campus, the Hyatt Regency and the Daniel Building (now known as the Landmark Building).
By 1957, Charlie had a major goal in mind: bring a regional airport to the Upstate before the airports in Charlotte and Atlanta consumed the market.
The first person to join Charlie’s team was Roger Milliken, whom he had previously designed, built and renovated plants with for years.
According to author Dave Partridge in his novel about the airport, “had it not been for the vision and persistence of Charlie Daniel with his powerful business influence and his active commitment to the economic growth of South Carolina, GSP may have never been built. Except for Charlie’s close relationship with Roger Milliken and his request that his old friend accept leadership of the airport project, Milliken might not have been involved.”
Roger Milliken always knew he wanted to honor Charlie Daniel’s memory somewhere on the airport grounds, and the fountain built to preserve the main lawn and its beauty for arriving travelers was the perfect place.
On July 3, 1970 the fountain was turned on and the plaque was revealed. Its inscription reads: This fountain erected in memory of Charles Ezra Daniel by his friends and admirers, 1970
Standing fifty-feet tall over its 140-fool pool, this fountain serves as a reminder of the rich history that GSP has brought the Upstate and the visionary team that had the courage to dream big. You can read more about Charlie Daniel and the airport’s rich history in Dave Partridge’s book.
Stay tuned for updates on construction progress!
- The Terminal
The future of air travel may be closer than we think, and we have an update on our earlier Solar Impulse 2 post. Last week, the experimental aircraft known as Solar Impulse 2 continued its attempt to fly around the world—fueled entirely by solar power.
Flown and financed by Swiss businessman and pilot André Borschberg, Solar Impulse 2 is two-months into its quest to become the first solar-powered plane to circumnavigate the world. The plane is manned by Borschberg and fellow Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard. They are accompanied by a 60-person support team.
Solar Impulse 2 is a single-seater aircraft containing 17,000 solar cells built into a massive 72-meter wingspan, and weighs in at a mere 2,300kg. (For some perspective, a Boeing 747 has a 60-meter wingspan and weighs roughly 440,000kg.)
While the aircraft is still dependent on appropriate weather during flight, it is capable of flying during the night. During the day, the solar cells recharge the plane’s lithium batteries, allowing it to soar through the dark without any problems.
The main characteristic that keeps this plane airborne is actually its weight. Because it is so light, it propels forward with ease. Unfortunately, this means that it is highly unlikely your next commercial flight will be powered by the sun.
Due to inclement weather over the Pacific Ocean, Solar Impulse 2 made an unscheduled stop in Japan. The team hopes to finish crossing the Pacific Ocean and North America soon, and be well on its way over the Atlantic before hurricane season peaks in August.
Read more about the Solar Impulse 2 and its historic journey here.
Thomas Creek Grill is already a huge hit with travelers through GSP—and their new digs in Concourse A is truly a work of art. From the 30-foot mural on their wall to the menu and brews they serve, the entire operation is a celebration of the past and present, the traditional and unconventional.
Hear from Thomas Creek Brewery owners Tom and Bill Davis as they share the story and inspiration behind the Thomas Creek Grill.
Whether you are here to stay or just passing through, be sure to make a stop at Thomas Creek Grill to eat, drink and share in Tom and Bill’s passion for brewing outstanding flavors!
- The Terminal
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has issued a new rule that finally allows musicians to bring their small musical instruments into the cabin. Previously, musicians had been subject to varying size and weight rules for instruments for years.
Recognizing the need for a change in policy, the DOT spoke with various musician institutions, airline representatives and industry associations over the past year to identify the main issues and develop an effective solution.
After many discussions, the final rule was finalized and put into effect in February. The new rule requires that carries must allow a passenger to carry into the cabin and stow a small musical instrument, such as a violin or a guitar, in a suitable baggage compartment, such as the overhead bin or under the seats in accordance with FAA safety regulations.
The new DOT rule also covers larger instruments such as tubas weighing up to 165 pounds. Travelers are now able to purchase a seat if they want to carry-on a larger instrument, but the instrument must be tied down without blocking emergency exits or signs for other passengers.
To help clarify the new rule and avoid any further confusion, the DOT has created an entire page on its website, highlighting useful tips and information for consumers on how to prepare for air travel with musical instruments.
If you plan on bringing a musical instrument onto your next flight, be sure to familiarize yourself with the revised rules and regulations. And from all of us at GSP, break a leg at your next gig!
You will never guess what the favorite feature is in one of GSP’s newest restaurant.(check out the video below to find out!)
Take a look inside our exclusive interview with Mark Johnsen, head brewer, founder, and owner of the RJ Rockers Flight Room, as he tells the story behind his latest venture—and shares the scoop behind its most celebrated feature. Watch as his little corner of Concourse B comes to life and discover the inspiration and passion behind this beloved microbrewery.
From the local décor to the iconic flavors found on its menu, RJ Rockers Flight Room proudly pays tribute to its southern roots and celebrated culture. Stop by today and enjoy the familiar tastes of the Upstate!
- The Terminal