Unique July 4 Celebrations

Like the past several months, July 4 will be different this year, with fireworks and parades cancelled due to coronavirus-related bans on large gatherings. Even backyard barbecues may be cause for concern as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise.


But there are still creative ways to mark the nation’s birthday and make the holiday sizzle, not fizzle. If you have July 4 ideas or know of other events (virtual and otherwise), drop us a line at janine.defao@bayareaparent.com and we’ll add them to our list.


• Redwood City’s annual Chalk Full of Fun Festival is going virtual and inviting everyone to participate. Send in photos of your masterpiece by July 8 for a chance to win a prize in several categories. You can even register to pick up a free chalk kit with July 4 swag on Sat., June 27, at several Redwood City locations (while supplies last). 


• Los Altos Hills is replacing its parade with a car caravan of classic cars and sheriff’s and fire vehicles that will parade around town at 10 a.m. Residents are encouraged to practice social distancing while lining the streets or gathering at Gardner Bullis or Purisima Park. Find details on the Independence Caravan Parade here


• The City of Concord encouraged residents to build their own floats and then collected video footage of residents parading them down their streets. The videos will be compiled into Concord’s first-ever virtual parade that will be aired at 5 p.m. on July 4 on local cable channels and the city’s Facebook page. The event also includes footage of the best of past parades, local music and a patriotic tribute.


• Take a page from the City of Alameda and decorate your home with patriotic pride. While Alameda had to cancel its famed parade – one of the nation’s longest – it is encouraging residents to decorate their homes, yards, windows or bicycles in the spirit of the holiday. 


• Get started making your own Fourth of July decorations with these fun craft projects


• If you need a fireworks fix, PBS plans to broadcast fireworks from the nation’s capital as part of its 40th annual “A Capitol Fourth.” The preceding live concert from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol has been cancelled but will be replaced with pre-taped performances from throughout the country and will include tributes to workers on the front lines of the pandemic, African American heroes and wounded warriors. KQED is scheduled to air the special at 8 and 9:30 p.m. 


• Missing live theater? Get a front-row seat to the smash hit Hamilton and its refreshing take on our Founding Fathers when a filmed version of the original Broadway production starts streaming on July 3 on Disney+.


• With the closure of this year’s Alameda County Fair, its home fairgrounds have been transformed into a drive-in movie theater, food truck gathering spot and even a drive-in concert venue. While the fairgrounds will be closed July 4, there’s plenty of fun scheduled for the rest of the holiday weekend. The Sandlot will play on July 3. Tickets – $35 per car in advance, which include admission to next year’s fair – go on sale June 25 and tend to sell out quickly. Food trucks ($10 parking) are on site most Fridays and Saturdays (but not July 4). 


• If you’re considering hosting or attending a barbecue, check Centers for Disease Control guidelines and state and local regulations. The CDC’s recommendations for gatherings and cook-outs suggest get-togethers be held outdoors with social distancing and masks, which are now required statewide in public places. The recommendations also suggest encouraging people to bring their own food and limiting the number of people handling food and shared-contact surfaces. San Francisco, for instance, has issued guidelines saying it’s OK for up to six people from different households to gather with food or drink, and up to 12 people without food or drink. It suggests gatherings be less than two hours and that people bring their own food and drink. 


• Similarly, if you’re planning to head to the beach or a park, check rules, regulations and parking availability before you go. Some beaches are closed during certain hours or limit usage to people actively exercising.


Janine DeFao is an associate editor at Bay Area Parent.
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