June 29, 2020
4th of July Activities during COVID-19
Filed under: Life Hacks
Fireworks, parades, pancake breakfasts—COVID-19 means this 4th of July is going to be different, without many of these traditional family activities. While some still are happening (read on to find out how you can still enjoy fireworks), others are canceled.
Your family still wants to have Independence Day fun, which is why we have come up with things to do on July 4th, while distancing. Your options range from a quiet family night in to still trying to make the most of outdoor celebrations, albeit in a safe way. Whichever 4th of July is more your style, you can make it one that you and your family may never forget.
Finding Fireworks in the COVID-19 Era
For many families, 4th of July activities are not the same without fireworks. We understand that, and so do many towns and cities. There are a few ways your family may be able to take in this holiday classic.
First, search locally for distanced fireworks. Some towns are offering firework shows at central locations, ensuring residents can see from their homes or vehicles. Some are adding on even more celebrations, such as the Colorado Springs Philharmonic and Colorado Springs Sports Corporation plans in El Paso County. There, residents can tune into a radio broadcast of the local symphony during fireworks, offering a COVID-19 version of the usual concert.
If nothing is happening locally, you can always tune into national broadcasts of fireworks. Macy’s is putting on its Independence Day celebration in New York City, airing the show on NBC as usual. It will take place from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST).
You also can tune into PBS from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (EST) for A Capitol Fourth, now in its 40th year. This year’s special will feature pre-taped performances and highlights from previous years. Of course, the special also will include the annual Washington, D.C. fireworks display, broadcast live. If you don’t have PBS, you can see it on Facebook or YouTube as well.
Still, others are buying their own fireworks and sparkles to set off a show at home. If you go this route, make sure you are doing it safely. And you’ll need to operate within local rules and regulations. Talk to your local fireworks seller about how to handle your purchase legally and safely.
New Versions of Daytime Events
Fireworks are often the culmination to a busy day, but what kind of COVID-19 July 4th activities exist during the daylight hours? Just like fireworks shows have been modified, you may be able to find your favorite daytime traditions with a few changes for safety.
In New York City, the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest is a go for 2020. Eaters will be separate from one another and social distancing will be in place throughout the event. That being said, viewers will have to take in the show from their televisions.
In Riverton, New Jersey, traditional house decorating, patriotic costume and pet-pageant contests are still happening. The COVID-19 4th of July twist is that entries will be judged from afar. Photos must be submitted online.
In Arlington, Texas, the traditional parade is still happening, with rules around COVID-19 safety. Masks are encouraged. And spectators are expected to maintain six-foot distancing.
Maybe you have to skip the usual community barbecue, but if there is a safe outdoor space nearby, you could pack a picnic. Even a backyard lunch together is a fun way to celebrate. Especially if you make some red, white, and blue-themed snacks.
Catch a Show
If fireworks and other televised events are not your family’s idea of fun, there’s an option on Disney+ that could suit the day well. A live stream of the musical Hamilton will be released on Disney’s streaming platform July 3, This is just in time for a patriotic viewing on July 4th.
If a classic action movie is more your family’s speed, consider films like Top Gun, Captain America, Air Force One, or Independence Day. And there are also truly kid-friendly 4th of July films, such as The Sandlot or National Treasure. Whatever film you decide to screen, sit back with the family, pop some popcorn, and enjoy a rare, quiet Independence Day.
Prepare for Postponement
Good news! Some of the events you are missing—fireworks, parades and more—are not canceled, but postponed.
While there is no telling exactly when these festivities can start up again, many locations are simply rescheduling. So, if your kids are upset about missing something, not all is lost. Spend some time talking about what you are missing, what you’re looking forward to when events restart, and what the next 4th of July might bring. There’s always room for fun with the right attitude.