The coronavirus pandemic has changed society for the time being which means that this 4th of July weekend will be like no other we’ve had in recent years. Most fireworks festivals have been cancelled or postponed, while others have gone virtual.
We want to help you and your family have a safe and happy weekend. To achieve this, we have compiled family fun ideas, tips for a safe gathering, and a list of virtual fireworks shows and events. Let’s make good memories together, while we’re apart, this Independence Day!
This year, many cities across the country are moving their fireworks shows to the digital world. For more localized display information, check your city’s social media and website.
Macy’s Fireworks Show – New York
The Macy’s fireworks show is usually a spectacle to which the masses flock. To prevent the public from gathering, this year the fireworks will be set off from unannounced locations across the five burroughs of New York. A special presentation featuring a recap of the fireworks will be televised nationally on July 4 at 8:00pm Eastern on NBC.
How to Watch: NBC | July 4 at 8:00pm Eastern
“A Capital Fourth” – Washington, DC
The annual “A Capital Fourth” event in Washington will be broadcast as normal, but in-person viewing of the fireworks is being discouraged. Traditionally taking place on the West Lawn of the Capitol, this year will be the concert’s 40th anniversary! Hosted by John Stamos and Vanessa Williams, the presentation will feature performances by Patti LaBelle and Renee Fleming.
Block Party – LA
The 8th annual block party is going virtual this year. Hosted by Grand Park and the Music Center (a performing arts venue), the show will be filled with musical performances, comedy sketches, poetry readings, and more.
“Shell Freedom over Texas” – Houston
How to Watch: ABC13 – July 4 at 8:00pm Eastern
Let Freedom Sing! – Nashville
Taking a unique and welcome viewpoint, the Nashville “Let Freedom Sing!” event will honor the front-line workers of the coronavirus crisis. The show is closed to the public, with Riverfront Park in Nashville being closed as a precaution.
How to Watch: News Channel 5 – July 4 at 10:00pm Eastern
Welcome America – Philadelphia
This weeklong virtual “Welcome America” festival is saluting the country in a fantastic way. Cultural programs, fun lessons for the kids, and family-friendly workout sessions are featured. A concert by Jason Derulo and Cynthia Erivo tops off the fun!
A Boston Pops Salute to Our Heroes – Boston
Virtual AmericaFest – Pasadena
The 94th annual Rose Bowl AmericaFest will be held live online! Though fireworks are cancelled for this year’s festival, plenty of fun will still be had. Celebrating the US Veterans and military personnel, as well as first responders and frontline workers, the event will focus on legacy and community. Andy Grammar is set to perform.
Last week, we posted a round-up of fun (and safe!) activities for the entire family. A more holiday-focused guide seems appropriate for the occasion!
Take a Virtual Tour of Landmarks
You can take time to educate your children about American history by visiting the Virtual Capitol, an immersive look at federal government. Other great tours to check out include: the National Park Service‘s look at Philadelphia’s Independence National Historical Park; the Statue of Liberty tour; or tour St. John’s Church to learn about the Second Virginia Convention. Bonus: The Declaration of Independence will be read on the website and Facebook page at 4:00pm Eastern.
Watch a Movie as a Family
Whether you want to watch a movie about the founding of our nation or something a little more light-hearted, viewing as a family can be educational and fun. “Hamilton”, the Broadway musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton, is now available to stream on Disney+. Other options include the 1972 film “1776” and the 1939 adventure “Drums Along the Mohawk”.
Have a Picnic or BBQ
You can test out your grilling skills, or invite the children to the kitchen, to prepare your patriotic snacks. Get a large blanket and set up in the backyard. Create a playlist of your favorite summer jams and have a family party. Make sure you follow the safety precautions listed below if you invite non-household members to your BBQ.
Have Fun in the Backyard
Do you remember playing with sparklers as a kid? It was a blast, and still is! Get some sparklers for the entire family and light them as the sun sets. Draw your names or make random patterns in the air with the light.
While team sports are not recommended, but playing tag football or baseball with your family is much safer. If you are playing with strangers or non-household members, wear a mask and gloves, and stay six feet apart. Be sure to wash your hands and equipment afterward.
The Water is Terrific!
A water balloon fight sounds like so much fun right now! Fill buckets with water balloons and get the entire family to play. Aim for below the neck only to avoid accidental injuries and prevent the spread of germs to faces.
Do you have a pool or sprinklers? Put them to use! Take a swim while you cook out and play some water games. Get the sprinklers going when you need a break and let the kids run wild!
The rising coronavirus case count in the US presents an opportunity to practice responsible social distancing and a host of other important safety precautions.
Pay Attention to the Recommended Guidelines
While maintaining a social distance can be troublesome, it is highly recommended in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus. In addition, wearing gloves and a face mask reduce your risk tremendously. If you have company at your home, outdoors is better than in, and make sure they also understand the importance of wearing a mask/gloves.
What About Visitors?
If you decide to have a small gathering, have it in your backyard. Space the chairs at least six feet apart. As mentioned above, make sure everyone wears a mask and gloves. A buffet is not recommended, but grilling or having a potluck-type meal is encouraged. You can adopt a BYOF (Bring Your Own Food) theme. Guests can bring their own disposable plates, silverware, and cups for easy cleanup and to remain safe.
Wherever the people are congregated, keep hand sanitizing stations evenly spaced.
What About Washing Hands and Using the Restroom? Disposable paper towels at hand-washing stations
Don’t stress about the bathroom! Remove all cloth towels and rags from the restroom guests will be using and replace them with disposable paper towels. Try to stay away from bar soap. After a guest is finished, do a quick wipe-down with disinfectant then wash your hands.
All guests and family members should also be washing their hands frequently.
Limit the Gathering
For extra safety, limit the amount of people invited to under 10. The less people interacting, the better. Also, instead of shaking hands or hugging, try out the elbow bump or foot shake. The elbow bump is exactly how it sounds: you and your friend touch elbows in greeting. The foot shake employs the same concept: tap your foot to your friend’s to say hello.
Do you know a fantastic fireworks display that’s going virtual this year? Do you have additional advice for family fun or safety? Let us know in the comments!