By Sarah Garcia - June 30, 2020
Like almost everything else this year, the fourth of July is going to look a little different. America’s birthday is usually celebrated with traditions like fireworks, community parades and cookouts with family and friends. In an effort to curb the continuing coronavirus outbreak, many planned festivities and community gatherings have been canceled.
We put together a list of alternative ways to keep traditions alive while celebrating America’s independence safely at home.
1. Fireworks, three ways
Drive up: Although many community firework displays have been canceled to discourage mass gatherings, some will still take place. If you’re traveling out to view fireworks, the safest way to watch is from your car or somewhere you can safely avoid large gatherings of people.
From your TV: Tune in watch the 40th anniversary presentation of A Capitol Fourth, the national July 4th TV tradition on PBS. Check local listings to see if your community is hosting a televised or virtual display, too.
At home: Celebrate by watching neighborhood firework displays from your own backyard or porch. Pick up sparklers, party snappers or confetti poppers for the kids. If you opt to shoot your own legal fireworks, keep safety top of mind with these tips from the National Safety Council.
2. Go to (or host) a different kind of parade
Your local Independence Day parade might have been canceled, but many communities are hosting alternatives, like a car parade. If you can’t find one nearby, get together with friends, family or neighbors to organize your own decorated car or bicycle parade in your neighborhood.
3. Have a family cookout
Cookouts are a staple of fourth of July celebrations across the U.S., and with a few modifications they can continue in the time of COVID. Keep the celebration limited to your immediate family or less than ten people total, and maintain social distancing practices. Use disposable dinnerware and utensils, practice proper hand hygiene and clean and disinfect common use areas before the fun begins.
4. Picnic in the park
Pack a picnic and head to your favorite park for lunch and hiking. Remember to wear a mask in common areas like public restrooms, wash your hands and keep at least six feet of distance from other parkgoers.
5. Have a patriotic movie night
Show a July Fourth themed movie, such as 1776, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or Hamilton. Picks that educate on American History include Ruby Bridges, Selma and Hidden Figures.
6. Take a virtual history lesson
Educate your kids on American History. Take a virtual tour of national landmarks such as the National Capitol, Philadelphia’s Independence National Historical Park, or the Statue of Liberty. Explore the history of the fight against slavery by viewing The Struggle for African American Freedom, an online feature from Google Arts & Culture.