July 4 Firework Shows Won't Be the Same This Year — Here Are Some Changes Cities Are Making

Some firework celebrations have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Macy's show in New York City will air on NBC

Photo: Paul Richards/Getty Images

On July 4, firework shows across the country may look dramatically different from what Americans are accustomed to, and that's because coronavirus is still very much a threat.

With the national holiday just around the corner, cities have reshaped their Independence Day activities to protect people from contracting or spreading the deadly virus — which has infected more than 2.3 million people and killed 121,926 in the U.S. as of Thursday morning, the New York Times reported.

So far, some major cities have outright canceled their fireworks celebrations, while others have come up with solutions to mark the occasion.

Below are some of the major cities that are making changes this year.

Salt Lake City

Mayor Erin Mendenhall canceled the city's fireworks shows in Jordan Park and Liberty Park this year. Instead, the city is asking residents to decorate their homes and businesses in red, white and blue. Residents are also allowed to light their own fireworks from July 2 to July 5, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., the Salt Lake City Fire Department announced.

"We just can’t risk attracting such large gatherings of people at this time," said Lorna Vogt, the director of the Department of Public Services, according to KUTV. "While we know it’s disappointing, we encourage residents to enjoy the holiday in small groups and follow the guidance of the Salt Lake City Fire Department regarding discharging personal fireworks."

July 4th fireworks
Fireworks illuminate the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Calla Kessler/The Washington Post via Getty


Chicago canceled its annual fireworks show at Navy Pier in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to WLS-TV. The city isn't scrapping all celebrations, though — it is hosting an at-home salsa dance class, a virtual house music festival and a virtual "Independence Day Salute" concert with an orchestra.

"While we all reflect on America's promise of freedom and justice and its painful legacy of racial injustice, I invite Chicagoans to commemorate this year's holiday with family and close friends, connected with our city and people across our country through the healing power of music," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said of the changes, the news station reported.

Washington, D.C.

The nation's capital will still have some celebrations this year, even though the National Independence Day Parade has been canceled, Patch reported.

"A Capitol Fourth" will trade its typical live show from the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawn for a pre-taped program airing for 90 minutes starting at 8 p.m. ET on PBS. However, the D.C. fireworks display will still be carried live, WTOP reported. The show won't be short on stars — John Stamos and Vanessa Williams are set to host, and Yolanda Adams, Patti Labelle, The Temptations and others will make making appearances, PBS said.

Plus, the White House said its "Salute to America" will take place on the South Lawn, featuring "music, military demonstrations, and flyovers to honor our Nation's service members and veterans." The July 4 celebration "will culminate with a spectacular fireworks display over the National Mall."

Las Vegas

For those looking to see live fireworks, Las Vegas and its surrounding area will have a few options to choose from. Las Vegas and nearby Henderson are moving forward with a handful of shows, including one from Red Rock Resort. The event will be live-streamed from redrockresort.com and its social media pages, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Residents will be able to watch (while social-distancing) from one of Red Rock Resort’s parking lots.

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Los Angeles

While Los Angeles residents — and many others around the nation — have been setting off fireworks themselves for weeks already, the city will still have a variety of events to celebrate Independence Day. Santa Clarita will have a Fourth of July parade and Studio City will feature dining and live music. But Rancho Cucamonga will have its own fireworks show that will last 15 minutes. The city asks people to watch from wherever they can safely see it, or from the city's Facebook page.

New York City

Probably most thrilling of all is New York City, where Macy's announced it would be launching 5-minute firework shows across all five boroughs over multiple nights, starting Monday, June 29. "Each display will launch from one or two unannounced land or water-based locations across New York City," WNBC reported. "The final display sites were chosen because they could safely accommodate the launch and firing of large-scale pyrotechnics."

This will culminate on July 4 with a final show that will be televised and headlined by John Legend. Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular will air on NBC at 8-10 p.m. ET/PT and 7-9 p.m. CT/MT.

"These past few months have been some of the most difficult in our city’s history, and New Yorkers are looking for a break,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said, according to WNBC. "This 4th of July Celebration with Macy’s will give all New Yorkers a safe and exciting way to enjoy the holiday together, even when we are apart."

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