WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — America’s 237th birthday still is a day away but preparations are underway in the nation’s capital for the country’s official Fourth of July party.

The 33rd annual “A Capitol Fourth” concert and fireworks show will take place from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in downtown Washington.

Music legend Barry Manilow will headline the show, which will be hosted by Tom Bergeron (“Dancing With the Stars”). In a special performance, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Neil Diamond will debut his new tribute song, “Freedom Song (They’ll Never Take Us Down),” inspired by Boston Marathon bombing.

Fellow musical performers include “American Idol” winners Scotty McCreery and Candice Glover; Darren Criss (“Glee”); Jackie Evancho; Megan Hilty (“Smash”), as well as music from Broadway’s new hit “Motown The Musical”; the Oscar-winning blockbuster “Lincoln,” and the National Symphony Orchestra.

The show will be capped off with a performance of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” complete with live cannon fire provided by The United States Army Presidential Salute Battery.

Also participating in the event will be the Choral Arts Society of Washington, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the U.S. Army Ceremonial Band, members of the armed forces carrying the state and territorial flags, and the Armed Forces Color Guard provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to attend the event, so organizers suggest taking Metro due to traffic volume and road closures. The nearest Metro stations are Capitol South, Federal Center SW (Orange/Blue lines) and Union Station (Red line). The Smithsonian Metro station (Blue/Orange lines) will be closed July 4.

The concert is free and open to the public. Gates open at 3 p.m. and event organizers suggest getting to the grounds by 6 p.m. in order to view the concert.

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