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More consumers expected to celebrate Fourth of July

June 22, 2009 | 12:15 pm

Big decor Expect to see a lot of red, white and blue on the Fourth of July as more Americans plan to celebrate the holiday this year.

According to the National Retail Federation, 62.6% of Americans will host or attend a cookout, barbecue or picnic this year, compared to 61.2% in 2008. The trade group's survey also found that 42.7% of Americans will attend a local fireworks show or community celebration compared with 40.2% last year. People also will celebrate the holiday by going to a parade (11.5%) and traveling or taking a vacation (11.4%).

The survey found that 121 million Americans own an American flag, 89 million have patriotic apparel and 58 million own decorations. Fourteen percent of consumers plan to purchase patriotic merchandise this month.

The expected increase in celebratory activity could be because the holiday falls on a Saturday this year, the group said.

Higher gas prices will also factor in to many Americans' July 4 observances, with 44.5% saying they are changing their Independence Day plans to save gas costs.

The retail federation's survey polled 8,635 consumers June 2-9 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1%.

-- Andrea Chang

Photo: Artist Dave Hagstrom paints a patriotic mural on a barn in Cody, Wyo. Credit: Associated Press