"Thus may the 4th of July, that glorious and ever memorable day, be celebrated through America, by the sons of freedom, from age to age till time shall be no more. Amen, and amen" (Virginia Gazette, 18 July 1777).
From the history of this glorious 4th of July holiday to a catalogue of Notable Occurrences, chronologies of celebrations & musical events, and orations, addresses & sermons from the 1877 centennial, and more; I encourage interested readers to visit the 4th Of July Celebration Database compiled by James R. Heintze.
Here is an excerpt, passages from which I have highlighted for emphasis.
Celebrations in 1776
In Philadelphia the Declaration of Independence was publicly read on July 8. In Williamsburg, a celebration occurred on 25 July. Included in the demonstration of joy were readings of the Declaration of Independence "at the Capitol, the Courthouse, and the Palace, amidst the acclamations of the people," a military parade, and the firing of cannon and musketry (Virginia Gazette, 26 July 1776). Trenton, NJ proclaimed its independence with a gathering of the militia and citizens: "The declaration, and other proceedings, were received with loud acclamations" (Ibid., 26 July 1776). In New York, the "Declaration of Independence was read at the head of each brigade of the continental army posted at and near New York, and every where received with loud huzzas and the utmost demonstrations of joy." Of particular note , "the equestrian statue of George III" on display in New York was torn down. The report stated that the lead from which the monument was made was to be turned into bullets (Ibid., 26 July 1776).