Fireworks light up the sky. Photo by Pexels

How to celebrate Fourth of July this year


The Fourth of July in Boulder typically conjures up joyful memories of fun, fireworks, friends and family at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic continues to drag on, which means the Fourth of July will be a little different this year. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe and have a good time over the holiday weekend.

The big annual fireworks show, Ralphie’s Independent Day Blast, has been canceled because of the virus. It’s a bummer, but it’s really the safest way forward, since thousands of people gather for the show every year.

If the cancellation has you thinking about acquiring some big fireworks to shoot off in your own driveway, think again. Remember that fireworks are illegal in Boulder, including in parks and open space. If you violate these laws, know that police will take away your fireworks and possibly even write you a ticket. The city says police and rangers are increasing their patrols for illegal fireworks.

Fireworks light up the sky. Photo by Pexels

Plus, legality aside, fire danger is very high right now, so it’s just not smart to be lighting off explosives — you risk starting a potentially devastating wildfire.

In nearby Longmont, any fireworks that leave the ground are illegal. In addition, all fireworks are illegal in public areas, including Longmont streets, parks, golf courses, etc.

This means you can purchase and use certain legal fireworks in your yard or driveway, including:

  • Fireworks that emit smoke, crackle or whistle. Fireworks cannot make an explosive noise.
  • Fireworks that emit a “shower of sparks” up to 14 inches high. Fireworks cannot shoot “balls of flame.”
  • Fireworks that are labeled or packaged a “1.4G (formerly Class C), UN 0336 and/or “Safe and Sane.”

Longmont has also canceled its annual fireworks show due to the virus.

Meanwhile, Loveland, Fort Collins and Larimer County are hosting a “drive-in” fireworks show at 10 parking lots around the county. The show starts at 9:15, but you can start parking at 7:30 p.m. You’ll need to stay or very near your car, and no groups larger than 10 people. No alcohol allowed and no fireworks of your own.

Fireworks light up the sky. Photo by Pexels

Looking for some other ways to celebrate the Fourth of July? We’ve got a few ideas for inspiration.

Watch fireworks virtually

Though in-person firework shows are largely canceled, you can still get your fireworks fix, virtually.

For example, you can watch fireworks in Washington on PBS on the evening of July 4th. Houston and Nashville are also offering virtual fireworks shows and concerts. You can also watch a virtual live reading of the Declaration of Independence by journalist Soledad O’Brien on the National Archives’ website and Facebook page.

Put on a patriotic movie

Celebrate our nation’s birthday with a patriotic movie like “Hamilton” (on Disney+) or “Captain American.” Even better? Set up a movie projector against the wall of your house or garage for a socially distanced, neighborhood outdoor movie screening! No fireworks required to have a good time here.

Listen to patriotic music

Turn up the volume on your own patriotic playlist or attend a 50-minute “drive-up” concert held at the Denver First Church of the Nazarene on July 2. The performance includes songs like “Amazing Grace,” “Down by the Riverside” and “When the Saints go Marching In,” performed by the Arapaho Philharmonic Brass Quintet in the parking lot.

Watch a drive-in movie

The Dairy is hosting a fun drive-in movie screen on July 3 and July 4, which is a great way to spend the holiday weekend. Get your tickets online ahead of time for the movie “John Lewis: Good Trouble” and check out some of their other cool virtual offerings while you’re at it!

Make a patriotic recipe

There are so many ways to incorporate a little red, white and blue into your Fourth of July meals. Try making a fun dessert with the kids, like this American flag fruit cookie pizza recipe or this red, white and blue overnight French toast from Boulder Locavore.

Just remember that if you’re going to host friends over for a barbecue, try to keep the party outside and place chairs and tables six feet apart. Encourage people not to share utensils or dishes, and to wash their hands regularly.

What are your plans for this Fourth of July? We’d love to hear how you’re planning to celebrate!

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