From drive-in fireworks displays to porch parades, here's how people are celebrating the 4th of July amid the pandemic

Megan Sims
Fourth of July weekend will be different this year, but the pandemic isn't stopping people from celebrating in a safe new way. (Photo: Getty Creative)
Fourth of July weekend will be different this year, but the pandemic isn't stopping people from celebrating in a safe new way. (Photo: Getty Creative)

While the coronavirus pandemic has canceled countless events across the country, many people are finding new socially distanced ways to celebrate the Fourth of July. Here are a few unique celebrations that have popped up — both virtual and in person — that will surely make this July 4th weekend one of the most memorable yet.

Porch Parades

In Northbrook, Ill., officials are hosting a porch parade where residents can sign up to be a part of the route. They are encouraging participants to decorate their porches for the holiday that can be viewed by people walking or riding by.

Front Yard Barbecues

Residents in Lamorinda, Calif., are encouraged to bring their grills to their front yards for socially distanced barbecues with neighbors. They also want people to share pictures of their celebrations on social media.

Virtual Marathon

The Virtual Run Challenge is hosting the Runnermania Virtual Running Festival, which people from all over the country can participate in. Runners will have three days, beginning Friday, July 3, to complete the 5K, half marathon or 24-hour ultra run and submit their times online. The participants will be using the honor-system when reporting their mileage and times, and will be eligible to win their own medals.

Drive-Ins

Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In will be opened for business as usual this holiday weekend, and will include a Fourth of July-themed movie and digital fireworks. (Photo: Josh Frank)
Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In will be opened for business as usual this holiday weekend, and will include a Fourth of July-themed movie and digital fireworks. (Photo: Josh Frank)

Several places around the country are set to host drive-in events for the holiday weekend. For Josh Frank, owner of the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In in Austin, Tex., this Fourth of July will be yet another busy night.

Independence Day will be screened followed by a 10-minute digital fireworks show. Frank tells Yahoo Life that there was no question that the event was going to go on as planned.

“There’s no interaction with people outside of their vehicles,” he says. “If my business had any way been in a situation where [I] did have people be outside congregating together, I would not be able to do it this year.”

According to Frank, Blue Starlite had only been closed for three weeks during the shelter-in-place order, but was able to reopen pretty quickly. And since the demand for drive-ins has risen around the country, Blue Starlite has been operating seven days a week to keep up.

This year, Frank has implemented new practices to keep both employees and customers safe, including not having regular concession stands open and a phone number people can text for help with technical issues.

“It helps that we’re a small business because we’re able to implement things that can really take care of every customer,” he adds.

Virtual Parades

In Evanston, Ill., residents will get the chance to enjoy a virtual Fourth of July celebration that will include a virtual parade, concert and decorated lawn chairs. The virtual parade will broadcast via the radio, television, YouTube and other websites and will consist of a video of past parade highlights as well as photos and videos submitted by residents. This will be followed by a virtual concert.

Virtual Dance Party

In Chicago, Ill., Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Events will be hosting a few virtual events that includes a “Summer Dance in Place” where residents are encouraged to host a small gathering of no more than 50 people indoor and 100 people outdoors. During the holiday weekend, they will be able to tune in to a live broadcast on social media where they will get a 30-minute salsa dance lesson followed by 60 minutes of music.

Socially distanced fireworks show

Legoland Florida Resorts will continue to hold their annual "Red, White and Boom" event, but with social distancing regulations to keep visitors safe. (Photo: Legoland Florida Resorts)
Legoland Florida Resorts will continue to hold their annual "Red, White and Boom" event, but with social distancing regulations to keep visitors safe. (Photo: Legoland Florida Resorts)

There would be no Fourth of July without fireworks and though some fireworks shows have been canceled, some places have created virtual shows or are able to set off the fireworks where people can see them from the safety of their homes. Other places like Legoland Florida Resorts are holding socially distanced fireworks.

“We knew we could redesign our firework show to be exciting and entertaining to guests while they remain safely socially distanced from each other around the park,” Jeremy Pancoast, head of resort entertainment at Legoland Florida tells Yahoo Life.

Pancoast adds that Legoland’s annual “Red, White and Boom” event will now be more overhead to expand guests viewing to more areas around the park. The show will also have new features to that will definitely make it a memorable one.

“Adding in an all new musical score, as well as layering in our iconic and signature holographic glasses that turn fireworks into exploding Lego bricks, will make this fireworks experience unlike any other show families have seen,” he teases.

In addition to fireworks, families can expect to have a great time in the theme and water parks.

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