Ribeiro to host ‘A Capitol Fourth’

Strike up the band, pack up that picnic lunch, pull out the Sousa score, it’s that time of year again. On Thursday, America will celebrate its independence from those tax-lovin’ limeys and light up the skies with fireworks and charcoal briquettes.

To commemorate the July 4 holiday, PBS will be presenting its annual “A Capitol Fourth” extravaganza with talent like the legendary singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson, award-winning actor Darren Criss (“Glee”), the Queen of Percussion Sheila E., platinum-selling singer and actress Fantasia, multiplatinum-selling band Fitz & Noelle from Fitz and the Tantrums, Sister Sledge ft. Sledgendary, Olympic medalist Shawn Johnson East, recording artist Loren Allred, choreographer Britt Stewart and, of course, maestro Jack Everly conducting the National Symphony Orchestra.

All these proceedings will take place live from the lawn of the United States Capitol, and back to host the event will be Alfonso Ribeiro, famous as the enthusiastic emcee of “Dancing with the Stars” and “America’s Funniest Home Videos.”

Ribeiro, first popular as the moppet from “Silver Spoons,” the preppy son from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and the clinical doctor on “In the House,” had no intention of becoming a TV host.

“It wasn’t something I ever thought, ‘I should pay attention to this.’ But in my career, I’ve always felt I wanted to do many different things — being an actor and singer and dancer; stage performer, television, movies, now directing and producing — I’ve always felt I wanted to put my hand in every aspect,” he says.

“I’m incredibly excited and honored to be host of ‘A Capitol Fourth’ once again,” he says. “It is going to be a great Fourth of July party, and we’re going to get everyone in our nation’s capital and all those watching at home on their feet dancing!”

Rousing patriotic favorites performed by the U.S. Army Band (“Pershing’s Own”) and the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets will cap off the musical finale and the eye-popping fireworks display, presented by the National Park Service, will rain over the National Mall and Memorial Parks and the D.C. skyline. The show will air on PBS and stream on YouTube and www.pbs.org/a-capitol-fourth on Thursday, July 4, at 8 p.m. ET.