Lifestyle

Big crowds at the fireworks show. Giant backyard barbeques with friends. Family reunions at the lake. Parades and crowded community festivals.

Not this year.

Around the country, our 2020 Independence Day celebrations are going to look a lot different. With COVID-19 still spreading, many communities have cancelled traditional festivals and events, and some have even canceled their firework shows. However, Independence Day itself is not canceled, and there are many fun ways to safely celebrate a socially distant 4th of July this year.

1. Take It Outside

Nothing feels more like summer than a picnic. Whether you dine in your own backyard or pack a picnic to take to a local park, a 4th of July picnic will feel festive. Make the meal patriotic with red, white, and blue napkins, plates, and cups. Keep it safe, though. Avoid crowded areas, don’t gather with people you don’t live with, and park your picnic blanket at least 6 feet away from other groups. Wear a mask when you can’t social distance, and bring hand sanitizer with you – it can be hard to find a place to wash your hands outdoors.

2. Make Some Patriotic Treats

Make your 4th of July picnic even more festive with red, white, and blue foods. Add blue to the summer favorite, strawberry shortcake, by sprinkling on some blueberries. Make red, white, and blue dessert kebabs by spearing raspberries, mini marshmallows, and blueberries. Try a layered Jell-O cup with strawberry, whipped cream, and berry blue flavors.

3. Decorate Your Door

Deck out your door or front porch with American flags, red, white, and blue streamers, flowers and wreaths. Encourage your neighbors to do the same, and make it a neighborhood event. Your town’s 4th of July parade may be canceled, but you can take a walk around the neighborhood on the 4th to admire everyone’s efforts. You can even make it a neighborhood competition, and vote on whose front door shows the most American spirit.

4. Attend a Virtual Festival

Big crowds are out this summer, but many cities are moving their Independence Day celebrations online. With a computer and just a few clicks, you can participate with them for free. Philadelphia’s Welcome America festival (online at https://welcomeamerica.com/) sounds like one of the best. Their online festivities start on June 28, with virtual tours of Philadelphia-area museums and a session featuring historic recipes from 1776. Philadelphia wraps up the week of patriotic activities on the 4th with a Celebration of Freedom Ceremony at 7 p.m. (Eastern time) and a concert at 8 p.m. The California Center for the Arts is also hosting a virtual festival, starting at 3 p.m. Pacific. Find it on their website here, or on Facebook.

5. Fireworks

We know it’s not the 4th without fireworks. While some cities and towns have canceled their firework displays to discourage unsafe gatherings, some communities are hosting alternative firework shows. Some areas are holding drive-up firework shows, in which you can watch the fireworks in person, but you have to stay in your car. For some of these events, you have to buy or reserve tickets, because parking space is limited. Check the events in your area.

If you can’t see any fireworks in person, you can sample shows from around the country on TV and online. Macy’s fireworks in New York City will be shown on NBC at 8-10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific time or 7-9 p.m. Central and Mountain time. Washington D.C.’s fireworks will be on PBS from 8-9:30 p.m. Eastern time. The city of Nashville, Tennessee will also put on a firework show, which you can watch online through Nashville’s NewsChannel 5’s website at 9 p.m. Central time.