Everyone has a different favorite part of the Fourth of July. For some people, it’s the jingoist patriotism. Some people like the food and the booze. Others like having a day off work. Others still just like when it’s over.
For Victoria DeBerry, also known by her stage name Vee Da Bee, the holiday boils down to a celebration of separation; its name, after all, is Independence Day. So, she thought, why not have an additional day celebrating togetherness? And thus Interdependence Day was born, with the inaugural event taking place July 5 at the Haunt.
“Celebrate diversity, our differences, the colorful nature that the world is saturated with,” she said. “It started when Cozmic Theo, Alex Cano and I were going to play a show together. But we thought ‘You know what? Let’s do something, something family-friendly because the kids are all out of school.’ Let’s celebrate the separation the day before, and celebrate how we come together the day after.”
The celebration will start at 5 p.m. and feature live music, a water balloon fight (parents vs. kids), and more. The event runs until 11 p.m., and tickets are on sale for $10 for adults, with children 12 and under allowed in free. At the event, the organizing team will pick a charity or cause’s name out of a hat, chosen from a pool of organizations gathered via Facebook question, to determine where 10 percent of the money from Interdependence Day will be donated. Featured speakers will be Rahmel Mack, of the Greater Ithaca Activities Club (and Ave Mack of the Empire Kings), as well as Heather Sanford of the Piggery, who will talk about farming. There will also be an appearance from the unicorn that rose to prominence during the Ithaca Fest parade.
Inclusivity is the paramount goal of Interdependence Day, though Vee acknowledged that it’s always tough to include everybody, especially when the organizing team is so small and in its first year. But she said to make sure the vulnerable populations she’s aiming to welcome feel comfortable, she is trying to recruit speakers from a diverse background and to include activities that anyone can participate in, like the water balloon fight. For future events, she’d like to build a larger roster of speakers and hopefully assemble a larger group of organizers to gather more ideas and attract more people.
She wants the event to be devoid of politics, to serve as a break from the daily onslaught of news and opinions, even as such a prospect seems more and more impossible in today’s political environment.
“I know a lot of people are in a weird spot these days when it comes to politics and all of that,” she said. “So put the red, white and blue down for a second and explore the other aspects of the rainbow.”
But, acknowledging the difficulty some people face these days when trying to reconcile celebrating America while the country goes through another phase of overt nationalism, Vee said she wants to provide a space for those people to enjoy a holiday, too.
“It’s a way for people who aren’t necessarily happy with where America’s at right now to still participate in those summer activities without having to sacrifice their moral integrity, and to promote togetherness instead of separation,” Vee said.